Turkey has come under the influence of different cultures throughout the history. For geographical advantage, Turkish culture has become a rich one, a wonderful blend of European and Middle Eastern culture. This cultural diversity makes it one of the most important tourist attractions in the world. With so many wonderful sites from different civilizations like ancient Greek, Persian, Roman, Byzantine, to select a top 10 is not a pleasant task. We have to leave some great tourist attractions in Turkey out. So regard this as a list of destinations to start of a quest for history and civilization in Turkey.
Tourist Attractions in Turkey:
10. Aspendos Theatre
Aspendos, an ancient city in Asia Minor, is famous for its best preserved ancient theatres of antiquity. In 155 AD, The theatre of Aspendos was built during the rule of the Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius. It could house seat between 15,000 and 20,000 spectators.
It was continuously repaired and maintained because the stage area was later used as a caravanserai (a roadside inn) in Seljuk times. This is the reason the Aspendos Theatre has been able to survive to this days with its almost all original qualities. Since 1994 the theatre hosts the annual Aspendos International Opera and Ballet Festival organized by Turkish State Opera and Ballet.
9. Patara Beach
Patara, an 18-kilometer long beach, is one of the largest and most beautiful beaches in the world. Besides the beach, there is only ancient Lycian and Roman ruins and swooping dunes with no buildings visible except a small café. Endangered Loggerhead turtle breeds in Patara Beach. The place is associated with the legend Santa Claus, a popular figure of presenting the gift in Christmas as the nearby village of Patara was the birthplace of St Nicholas, the 4th-century Byzantine bishop, became a legend as Santa Claus. It is now a top tourist attraction in Turkey.
Pamukkale is a natural site in west turkey, famous for its white terraces. Pamukkale means cotton castle in Turkish. The terraces are built of travertine, a sedimentary rock placed by water with a very high mineral content. Its pool has been a favorite place of a bath for thousands of years. On top of the hot springs, the ancient Greek city of Hierapolis was built by the kings of Pergamon. There are a lot of ruins of the baths, temples and other Greek monuments can be seen scattered at the site.
7. Bodrum Castle
Marvelous Bodrum castle is situated in the city of Bodrum in southwest Turkey. It was built by the Crusaders in the 15th century as the Castle of St. Peter. Under the supervision of the German knight-architect Heinrich Schlegelholt, the construction of the castle began in 1404. It may be one of the world’s best-maintained monuments of medieval times. From 1962, the castle turned into a museum, with the focus on the Museum of Underwater Archaeology. It is the biggest museum of its kind.
6. Mount Nemrut
40 km north of Katha, near Adiyaman, Mount Nemrut is a 2,134 meter (7,001 ft) high mountain in southeastern Turkey. Famous King Antiochus I Theos of Commagene built on the mountain top a tomb-sanctuary bounded by huge statues (26–30 ft high) of himself, two lions, two eagles, and various Greek, and Persian gods. In 62 BC, the statues were once posited but later the heads collapsed from bodies lay scattered throughout the site. The mount Nemrut is a testimony of blending cultures like Armenian, Greek, and Persian. Nemrut was named as a World Heritage site by UNESCO.
One of the most photographed beaches, Ölüdeniz is a small village located on the south-west coast on the Aegean Sea. It has a wonderful secluded sandy bay at the mouth of Ölüdeniz, on a blue lagoon. To keep its natural beauty, any kind of construction is prohibited here. This beach is also famous for its shades of turquoise. It is a fantastic beach for scuba diving and also considered one of the best places in the world to paraglide due to its unique panoramic views.
4. Blue Mosque
The Sultan Ahmed Mosque, popularly known as Blue Mosque is a historic Mosque in Istanbul. Built from 1609 to 1616, it is still used for prayer. Blue Mosque has become one of the top tourist attractions in Turkey for its unique and serene beauty. It has one main dome, six minarets, and eight secondary domes. It is also influenced with some Byzantine Christian elements. The high ceiling is lined with the 20,000 blue tiles with different patterns inside the mosque give the mosque its popular name Blue Mosque.
3. Library of Celsus
Built in honor of the Roman Senator Tiberius Julius Celsus Polemaeanus, The library of Celsus is an ancient Roman building in Ephesus, Anatolia. It is a popular tourist attraction on the west coast. Served also as a mausoleum for Celsus, The library was built to store 12,000 scrolls. By an earthquake in 262 AD, the interior of the library was completely destroyed. It was transformed into a Nymphaeum about 400 AD. The Greek influence on Roman architecture is clearly evident from the style of construction. It becomes a national symbol of Turkey.
2. Goreme Fairy Chimneys
Considered as one of the top tourist attractions of turkey, the Cappadocia is famous for its weird and wonderful natural rock formations and unique historical heritage. The best places to see these maverick formations are the town of Göreme, which is situated among a large number of tuff cones, termed fairy chimneys.
By the wind and water erosion of two different volcanic layers, the fairy chimneys were formed. A thick layer of tuff (consolidated volcanic ash) covered by a thin layer of basalt that is more protected to erosion. Many of the fairy chimneys at Cappadocia have been hollowed out over the centuries to create houses, churches and storage facilities due to the ease of carving into the tuff.
1. Hagia Sophia
Unarguably the top tourist attraction in Turkey, Hagia Sophia is equally magnificent for its structural beauty and vastness. Situated in Istanbul, the Hagia Sophia was originally a basilica constructed in the sixth century for the Eastern Roman Emperor Justinian I. Hagia Sophia is one of those few architectures that shows the brilliance of Roman engineering.
The massive dome (31 meters or 102 feet in diameter) covers was the largest enclosed space for over 1000 years in the world. In 1204, the church was looted by the fourth Crusaders and transformed into a mosque in the 15th century after The Ottomans conquered the city, quite a common phenomenon in all those days. It is now a museum since1935.