Exploring Wonderful Turkey

Marmara Region
Glorious İstanbul, former capital of the Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman Empires, fascinates travellers with its awe-inspiring mosques and ancient monuments, its colourful history and natural beauty. Perched like a sapphire on a tiara straddling the Bosphorus between the Black Sea and the Sea of Marmara, the former Constantinople is the only city to span two continents. In the heart of the old city, step into the world of the Ottoman sultans at the Grand Topkapı Palace.

Marvel at the iconic Hagia Sophia, first built as an Orthodox Basilica by Byzantine emperor Justinian in 537. Witness the Islamic call to prayer at the striking Blue Mosque commissioned by Sultan Ahmet in 1609. Bargain for souvenirs at the labyrinth of shops in the Grand Bazaar and inhale the pungent scents of cumin and cloves in the spice market.Let the magic continue with a sunset cruise on the Bosphorus.

Travel northwest to explore Edirne and its lively bazaar and beautiful mosques,including the 16th-century Selimiye Camii whose four minarets are reputed to be the highest in the world. Travel south to the ancient spas and gardens of Bursa, that served as capital to the Ottoman Empire in 1326.

Marmara Region
aegean region

Aegean Region
Surrounded by mountains and rich in wildlife, the region flanking the Aegean Sea begins in Thracian (European) Turkey along the Gallipoli Peninsula,site of the 1915 World War I Gallipoli battle that claimed the lives of 500,000 soldiers. Cross the Dardanelles Strait to visit the excavation of the ancient city of Troy.

Explore the legends, gods and achievements of Ancient Greece and marvel at Pergamum. Beyond its famous library and temples to Trajan and Demeter is Asklepion, the world’s first hospital site named after Asclepios,the God of healing. Within an hour drive from Izmir, Turkey’s third largest city and a shipping center,are the ruins of Ionian cities including the great Hellenistic city of Ephesus.

Walk the white marble streets of this ancient masterpiece and be swept away by its great Celsus Library, Temple of Diana and the colossal theater where St. Paul preached. Nearby, the House of Virgin Mary is believed to be the last home of Mary, mother of Jesus.

Moving on to the coastal resort town of Bodrum, you’ll be charmed by its waterfront medieval Crusader castle, white-washed houses and yachting center. Marvel at the final resting place for the Lydia kings of Caunus, their tombs cut into the rock cliffs. Or take a day tour to Denizli to walk through the stadium, gymnasium and theater ruins of Laodicea.

Central Anatolian Region
Ankara is the starting point for exploring the magical region of Central Anatolia. Travel to Konya, home to sufism, the mystical sect of Islam, and the whirling dervishes. Here, you’ll find exceptionally beautiful Seljuk buildings dating from the 12th and 13th century when Konya was recognized as the center for Muslim art and learning. Dominating the skyline are the blue-green dome and minarets of Mevlana Monastery, where the sect’s founder Mevlana was buried in 1273.

Step into another world when you travel through the extraordinary volcanic “fairy chimneys” and the landscapes of Cappadocia. Marvel at the painted underground churches dating to the 8th century carved into the volcanic rock. Goreme valley is estimated to have up to 5,000 man-made cave dwellings. Explore the underground cities of Kaymakli or Derinkuyu, huge refuges carved by earl Christians to hide out from persecutors. Pamukkale, literally “the Cotton Castle,” bedazzles with its natural wonders – cascading cliffs of white limestone, layers of stalactities and natural swimming pool formed by thousands of years of calcium and mineral deposits.Located next to the ruins of the ancient Greco-Roman city and necropolis of Hieropolis.Then move on to explore the theatre and fine stadium ruins of Aphrodisias, the ncient city dedicated to Aphrodite, the goddess of love.

black sea

Black Sea Region

Along the northeast coast of the Black Sea, the earliest civilizations date back more than 9,000 years, the fabled city of Trabzon. Ruled by the Romans, the Goths, the Greeks, the Persians, the Assyrians, the Ottomans and home to th last of the Byzantiums after the fall of Constantinople, Trabzon grew prosperous with passing camel caravans trading silk and spices. Explore its medieval main square and its centuries-old churches and walled citadels. Examine the magnificent 13th-century frescoes at the Hagia Sophia monastery.Those interested in more recent history can visit Ataturk’s summer residence in the hills, Atatürk Kosku. From Macka, in the Eastern Black Sea Mountain Range, explore Altındere National Park, the spectacular setting of the impressive white-walled Sumela Monastery perched on a steep cliff almost 1312 meters above the ground.

East Anatolian Region
At the meeting of the Taurus and Black Sea Mountains, East Anatolia offers the Turkey less traveled but always intriguing. At 2,000 meters high, the plateau city of Erzurum harbors a 5th-century citadel and the brilliant turquoise tile minarets of Yakutiye Medrese, built in 1310.

Travellers venture to Kars (translated Snow) mentioned in the novel “Kar” written by Orhan Pamuk a Turkish novelist, recipient of the 2006 Nobel Prize in Literature.Travellers can view the black basalt Armenian Church of the Apostles, built in 932, and are further amazed by neighboring Ani; a 10th-century Armenian city of beautiful churches. Continue to Agri (Mount Ararat), the 5137 meters-high montain top thought to be where Noah’s Ark came to rest after the 40 days of rain.

Catch your breath on a boat tour around the immense volcanic 1882 meters-high Lake Van. Disembark on Akdamar Island to view the richly carved Old Testament scenes in the 10th-century Armenian Church of the Holy Cross, designated a sacred pilgrimage site. In the town of Van, be sure to visit neighboring Hosap Castle, the best preserved and most picturesque castle in Turkey.


Southeastern Anatolian Region
You’re sure to be fascinated by the historic sites of Southeast Anatolia, thought to be the birthplace of Biblical Abraham, Dominating the northern Mesopotamian plain is the ancient trade city of Diyarbakir. Wonder its narrow winding streets and note the Great Mosque, modeled after the great Ummayad Mosque in Damascus, and the Mosque of the Prophet with its striped minaret, and the beautiful Palace Gate.

As its name translates, the architecture and cultural heritage found in Sanliurfa is truly “glorious”. Reflect at the legendary Pool of Abraham, believed to have been created to extinguish the funeral pyre set by Assrian King Nimrod to burn Abraham. Admire the 12thcentury Great Mosque erected by the Seljuks.

Don’t miss the drive up to 2185 meters summit of Mount Nemrut to view the grandiose funeral monument to 1stcentury King Antiochus. At Nemrut Mountain, there are colossal Stone heads, exemplary of the Hittites and Oriental practice of enthroning images of gods on mountain tops.

Antalya and the Mediterranean Region
Known as the Turkish Riviera or the Turquoise Coast, the Antalya region of Turkey attracts travellers to its beautiful coastline and sparkling clear Mediterranean sea. Basking in more than 300 days of sunshine average annually, visitors come to sunbathe, yacht, bicycle and discover historical sites tucked among the trees.

Learn the truth behind the legend of Santa Claus in ancient Myra at the Church of St. Nicolas. Visit the ancient theaters and stadiums and colonnades of the ruined cities of Aspendos and Perge, which reached its zenith under Alexander the Great, Catch up on your Roman history at the Adana Regional Museum of Roman Ruins and marvel at the nearby Tas Kopru, the mighty stone bridge built by Hadrian.

Stroll in the footsteps of St. Paul at his birthplace in Tarsus. Here is where Marc Antony is said to have summoned Cleopatra to chastise her for supporting his rival Cassius. Follow the saga of the tragic lovers to Side, another of their secret meeting places. With its ancient harbor, extensive Roman baths and museum showcasing a fine archaeological collection, the pretty resort town is a wonderful place torelax and unwind. Share your stories on board your Turkish gulet while cruising along the Turquoise Coast.

Antalya sea sun