Explore Turkey

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Seek for peace and simple resting while introducing yourself to new horizons.

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Water Activities & Tours

Gulf of Fethiye (Fethiye Körfezi)

Dotted with a dozen islands interspersed with secluded bays and inlets, and set against a backdrop of forested hills that slope dramatically up from the shore, the Gulf of Fethiye offers one of Turkey’s prettiest stretches of coastline and is deservedly popular as a boating destination. One of the most enjoyable ways to see the area is on a daylong “12-island cruise” that takes passengers around the gulf. Most cruises make stops at about five or six of the islands (all of one of which are uninhabited), allowing time for swimming, snorkeling and other activities. Highlights might include exploring the remains of a Byzantine church and Roman shipyard on Tersane; swimming off the long, sandy beaches of the Yassıca Adalar (“Flat Islands”); or taking a dip amidst the half-submerged Roman ruins known as “Cleopatra’s Baths.”

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Water Activities & Tours

Cleopatra Beach (Kleopatra Plaji)

The town of Alanya lies on the southern coast of Turkey in the Antalya region. It is a popular beach resort town and draws tourists from many countries around the world. One of the city's best beaches is Kleopatra Beach located on the west side of the peninsula near the Damlataş Caves. The name comes from the legend that says the Egyptian Queen Cleopatra stopped in Alanya during a voyage in the Mediterranean Sea and swam in the bay. The beach is a sandy one with clear water. It is a Blue Flag beach due to its high standards for water quality, safety, and environmental services. Visitors can enjoy sunbathing, swimming, snorkeling, and other water activities. When you get hungry, there are plenty of nearby cafes and restaurants serving Turkish and international dishes. Other activities in the area include exploring the dripping Damlataş Caves, wandering through the old town, and learning about the region's rich history.

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See different sceneries

See different sceneries worldwide

Discover a vast number of beautiful places in our planet that you may not even know about yet.

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Well-known Landmarks

Ihlara Valley (Ihlara Vadisi)

Cappadocia’s Grand Canyon, the 328 ft (100 m) deep Ihlara Valley was formed by the Melendiz River thousands of years ago.Around 4,000 people lived in the valley and there were 80 churches carved into the cliff faces, 12 of which can be visited today. These days the valley is home to one of the most popular hiking trails in Cappadocia with 26 bends along an 8 mile (14km) route that passes vineyards and pistacio trees.The valley begins at the village of Ihlara and ends at Selime Monastery in the village of Selime, but there are two other entrances depending on how far you are willing to hike. Around 2.8 miles (4 km) into the valley is the most popular entry point with 300 steps down to the valley floor. Or you can drive to the village of Belisirma in the middle of the valley. The best section for seeing churches is between Ihlara and Belisirma.

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Scenic Landmarks

Rose Valley (Güllüdere Vadisi)

Made up of a number of smaller valleys, Rose Valley is famous for its otherworldly rock formations and world-class hiking opportunities. The valley trails provide a variety of levels of challenge, and there are plenty of walks that are suitable for beginners. For seasoned hikers, there are trails where you get to scale stone tunnels and climb down ladders. Either way, you’ll get to wander canyon bottoms and explore Cappadocia’s rocks at sunset when the valley turns blood red.Valleys within the famous valley that’s named for its rose-hued rocks are Gulludere, Kizilcukur, Meskendir and Zindanonu. The most popular path in Rose Valley is a 3.5-km route that begins just outside the town of Goreme, but you could easily come back several times to explore new trails and catch sight of its hidden cave churches and abandoned rock houses.

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Geological Formations

Monks Valley (Pasabag Vadisi)

The area of Pasabag in Cappadocia is famous for its perfect fairy chimneys, sculpted from ancient lava, ash, and basalt. They jut up all over the place, even in the middle of a vineyard, hence its name which translates as Pacha’s Vineyard. Pasabag is famous for its opportunities to hike among the boulders and into the hills that ring the area. If you just want to relax, in the small village by the road there are stalls serving hot spiced wine in winter, and freshly-squeezed juices in summer. There are also a few cafes where you can grab a bite to eat, and stores selling Cappadocia textiles and artwork. Also known as Monk’s Valley, Pasabag was once home to hermetic monks who sheltered in the smaller cones atop the upper sections of the fairy chimneys.

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Geological Formations

Devrent Valley (Devrent Vadisi)

This is a place to let your mind run free in a seemingly lunar landscape with rock formations that look like animals.The Devrent Valley, also known as Imagination Valley, has none of the cave churches, Byzantine frescoes or Roman citadel ruins that are famous throughout the rest of Cappadocia; but what it does have is an extraordinary landscape shaped by nature to make you laugh and wonder and explore.Only a 10 minute drive from Göreme, between Avanos and Ürgüp, the valley is like a rock-formed zoo. Walk the trail and you’ll see a landscape filled with snakes, camels, seals and dolphins and whatever else your mind chooses to make of the twisting curving rocks. Maybe even a dragon. There are also small fairy chimneys, the rock pillars so distinctive of Cappadocia.

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Well-known Landmarks

Pigeon Valley (Güvercinlik Vadisi)

Pigeon Valley, just outside Göreme in Cappadocia, is one of Turkey’s most beautiful landscapes.The unique rock formations known as fairy chimneys, or peri bacalar, which are made from wind and water erosion on soft volcanic rock, rise high from the valley floor like chimneys and are dotted in their tops with birdhouses. Some reach at tall as 130 ft (40m). Pigeons live in these dovecoats carved into the rocks and cliffs. Years ago the pigeons were used to carry messages from this remote region, and their droppings have long been used by local farmers for fertilizer. Today, however, there are fewer pigeons in the valley.Pigeon Valley is a great place for hiking. The whole area around Göreme is made up of valleys with almost no fencing and there are well-marked trails. The mildly hilly trail through Pigeon Valley is free of charge and about 2.8 miles (4 km) long running between Göreme and Uçhisar.

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Geological Formations

Fairy Chimneys

The “fairy chimneys” of Cappadocia make up the surreal landscape of unique rock formations and valleys of this area of Turkey. They were formed centuries ago of ash, lava, and basalt from the activity of three volcanoes here. What is left behind today is dozens of these fairytale-like, otherworldly formations that look straight out of a fantasy or science-fiction film (in fact, parts of Star Wars were filmed here.)As the rock formation base is often soft, throughout history those who have inhabited the area have carved their homes and dwellings out of the fairy chimney rock. As a result, Cappadocia is filled with fascinating Byzantine churches, historic homes, even entire underground cities to explore. The tops or caps of the chimney-like pinnacles are harder, which has protected the structures throughout many years. The Open Air Museum of Goreme is a spectacular place to view the many uses of the formations throughout history, as early as the 4th century.

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Sights & Landmarks

Dalyan

Whether you’re cruising along Turkey’s Turquoise Coast or sailing along on a day tour from Marmaris, you’ll likely find reason to detour to the scenic Dalyan River and its namesake port town. The area’s top attraction is Turtle Bay, (İztuzu Beach) a strip of sand between the river and the Mediterranean Sea. With its prime location at the mouth of the freshwater delta, Turtle Beach has become an important spot for endangered loggerhead turtles (Caretta caretta) that come ashore to lay eggs during breeding season. Watching the turtles in their natural habitat is a popular pastime among visitors. Additional highlights along the Dalyan River include the Köyceğiz-Dalyan Special Environmental Protection Area around Lake Köyceğiz, the impressive ruins of ancient Kaunos and a series of Lycian rock tombs carved into coastal cliffs.

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Places of Natural Beauty

Dalyan River

The Dalyan River runs through the town of Dalyan, Turkey, which is located in the southwest region of Turkey along the Aegean Sea. Life in Dalyan revolves around the river. It's an important source of fish for the residents. The river also flows through a special environmental protection area. There are also several boat tours that go up and down the river, taking visitors to see the ancient sites of the area. One of the main attractions for tourists are the facades of Lycian tombs. They are located above the river's sheer cliffs and were cut from the rocks around 400 BC. Just a short boat trip away, you can also visit the ruins of the ancient trading city of Kaunos.Nearby you can experience the Sultaniye hot springs. Here you can enjoy the warm water and the therapeutic mud baths. You can also go for a swim in Köyceğiz Lake, which is connected to the sea by the Dalyan River.

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Scenic Landmarks

Bodrum Peninsula (Bodrum Yarimada)

With its crystal-clear waters teeming with colorful corals and sweeping coastal cliffs giving way to sandy beaches and secluded coves, the Bodrum Peninsula is one of Turkey’s most scenic destinations, stretching for 174 km along the northwestern Aegean coast. Bodrum, built on the site of the ancient city of Halicarnassus, is the main gateway to the region and the most developed of its towns. Legions of tourists are steadily drawn to Bodrum’s lively waterfront and numerous archaeological gems, including the ruins of one of the seven wonders of the ancient world, the Mausoleum at Halicarnassus.Touring the peninsula makes a popular day or multi-day trip from Bodrum. Heading west along the coast, the bustle of city life soon gives way to sleepy fishing villages, hilltops capped with whitewashed windmills and ancient olive groves. There’s plenty to see and do around the peninsula.

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Educate yourself while traveling

Witness diverse culture of people and learn history on the go.

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Classes & Workshops

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Cultural/Heritage Places

Fountain of Trajan

The Fountain of Trajan is a building in the ruins of Ephesus in Turkey that was built in the 2nd century AD. It is a two story building that was constructed in memory of the Roman Emperor Trajan. There was once a giant statue of Trajan and a pool with water flowing from beneath him. The statue was created with Trajan's left foot on the ground and his right foot on a ball that represented the world. Trajan ruled during the height of the Roman Empire, and showing him standing on this ball was meant to represent him as the ruler of the world. The left foot of the statue can still be seen today.The ornate facade of the building includes Corinthian columns and Composite columns, which were a combination of Corinthian and Ionic columns. The pool was approximately 66 feet by 33 feet and surrounded by columns and statues of Dionysus, Satyr, Aphrodite and the family of the Emperor. These statues are preserved in the Ephesus Museum.

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Buildings & Structure

Column of Constantine (Çemberlitas Sütunu)

When Constantine established his new capital of the Roman Empire, he commissioned a grand circular forum with a monumental column at its center. Carved from red porphyry stone, the 115-foot (35-meter) column was topped with a golden statue of Apollo bearing Constantine's face.A storm toppled the statue in 1106, and a fire in 1779 damaged the base (earning it the nickname 'Burnt Stone'). Periodic restoration work has reinforced cracks in the marble, and in 2003, the column underwent a more thorough restoration, though the statue on top has never been replaced. Visitors can see the historic Constantine Column near the Çemberlitas metro station in Istanbul, where city tours often pass by.

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Religious Architecture

New Mosque (Yeni Cami)

Istanbul’s New Mosque is actually over 400 years old. Sitting at the southern end of the Galata Bridge, construction of the mosque began in 1597 but was not completed until 1663. It was originally commissioned by the mother of Sultan Mehmet III but when the sultan died and his mother lost her position and income, construction ceased. After a fire destroyed much of the unfinished structure, the mosque was finally finished on the orders of Turhan Hadice, the mother of Sultan Mehmet IV. Based on the dome plan of the Sehzade and Sultan Ahmed Mosques, the New Mosque features sixty-six domes and semi-domes arranged in a pyramid. The main dome is 36 meters high and is flanked by four semi-domes. Like other Ottoman mosques in Istanbul, the mosque is preceded by a large courtyard, which features an ornamental ablution fountain in the center. The interior of the mosque is decorated with blue, green and white Iznik tiles and features colonnades of marble columns connected by arches.

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Buildings & Structure

Izmir Clock Tower (Izmir Saat Kulesi)

Saat Kulesi is a historic clock tower in Konak Square in the center of Izmir, Turkey. The Levantine French architect Raymond Charles Père designed the Izmir Clock Tower. It was built in 1901 to commemorate the 25th anniversary of Abdülhamid II's accession to the throne. The sultan actually celebrated his 25th anniversary by having more than 100 clock towers built in public squares throughout the Ottoman Empire. The clock on the Izmir Clock Tower was a gift from German Emperor Wilhelm II.The tower is 82 feet high and decorated in an Ottoman style. Four fountains with three water taps each are set around the base of the tower in a circular pattern, and the columns are inspired by Moorish designs. The clock tower has become the symbol of Izmir, and it appeared on the back of Turkish 500 lira banknotes from 1983 to 1989.

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Cultural/Heritage Places

Public Latrine at Ephesus

The ruins of the ancient Roman city of Ephasus are located in Selcuk, Turkey. The city was the second most important city in the Roman empire during the 1st and 2nd centuries AD. One of the popular sections of the ruins are the public latrines, which are on next to the Hadrian Temple and the Bordello. The latrines were the city's public toilets, and they were built in the 1st century AD as part of the Scholastica Baths. These baths were built to provide the city with the modern conveniences of public works, including 36 marble toilets.Visitors can still see, but not use, the toilets that are lined up along the walls. There was an uncovered pool with columns surrounding it which supported a wooden ceiling. Underneath the latrines was a drainage system. There was also a trough with relatively clean water near where your feet would be. People who wanted to use the toilets had to pay an entrance fee.

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Buildings & Structure

Ankara Castle (Ankara Kalesi)

Located atop a hill in the heart of Ankara, the Ankara Citadel, or castle, serves as one of the most recognizable symbol's of Turkey's capital. Visiting the citadel is more than just seeing the impressive structure, with its 14-16 m (46-53 ft) high walls. A journey inside the citadel also provides you with a look at what ancient Turkey might have looked like.The structures within and around the castle serve as some of the oldest authentic examples of traditional Turkish architecture. Although no one know for sure exactly how old the citadel is, its foundations were thought to have been laid by Galatians nearly 3,000 years ago. Inside the citadel, many of the old houses have been restored and converted into restaurants, creating the atmosphere of an ancient Anatolian village. The local people still live as if in a traditional Turkish town. As you wander along the narrow winding streets, you'll often see women beating and sorting through skeins of wool.

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Museums & Exhibitions

Istanbul Archaeological Museums (Istanbul Arkeoloji Muzeleri)

Crammed with artworks and artifacts from over the millennia, Istanbul’s Archaeology Museum is housed in a complex of three buildings in gardens formerly belonging to Topkapi Palace.Opened in 1891, the museum features archaeology in the main building, a grand classical affair with columns and pediments. The art of the ancient orient is housed in a separate building, and the historic Tiled Kiosk, commissioned by Sultan Mehmet II in 1472, houses a museum of Islamic art.The Greek and Roman statues are the highlights of this massive and important collection, including the ornately carved Alexander Sarcophagus. Also seek out the peace treaty dating from 1258 BC, a Lycian tomb, cuneiform documents, and busts of Alexander the Great and Zeus.

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Museums & Exhibitions

Istanbul Museum of Modern Art (Istanbul Modern Sanat Müzesi)

Known simply as Istanbul Modern, the Istanbul Museum of Modern Art opened in 2004 in the Beyoglu district of Istanbul. Sitting in a converted warehouse on the banks of the Bosphorus, the museum features contemporary works of art by Turkish artists.Istanbul Modern has two exhibition halls. On the upper floor, you’ll find the museum’s permanent collection, displayed in chronological order so that it showcases the development of Turkish modern and contemporary art over time. Works range from painting and sculpture to installation and video. The lower floor includes a Temporary Exhibition Hall that hosts conceptual shows and retrospectives, as well as large-scale and international exhibitions. A Photography Gallery often hosts photography exhibitions by both Turkish and foreign artists and Pop-up areas feature exhibitions in architecture, design, video and new media.

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Religious Architecture

Rustem Pasha Mosque (Rüstem Pasa Camii)

Almost hidden among the narrow streets surrounding Istanbul’s Spice Bazaar, the Rustem Pasha Mosque is one of several Ottoman era mosques designed by famous imperial architect Mimar Sinan. Sitting on the site of an old Byzantine church, an inscription indicates that the mosque was built in honor of Suleyman the Magnificent’s son-in-law and grand vizier, Rustem Pasha. Despite incurring fire and earthquake damage over the years, the mosque has been repaired and still showcases some of the best of Ottoman architecture.The Rustem Pasha Mosque is unique in that it sits on a high terrace above the hustle and bustle of the bazaar – many visitors don’t even realize it is there. Two staircases lead from the street up to the terrace and a colonnaded porch that stands in front of the diminutive mosque. However, the mosque may be best known for its extensive use of colorful Iznik tiles set in a variety of floral and geometric designs.

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Religious Architecture

Isa Bey Mosque (Isa Bey Camii)

Isa Bey Mosque was built in 1375 near the ancient city of Ephesus in what is today Selcuk, Turkey. Parts of the mosque were built using stones and columns from the ruins of Ephesus and the Temple of Artemis. It was designed asymmetrically instead of a more traditional symmetric layout and includes a large courtyard. The mosque uses a Selcuk style of architecture rather than the Ottoman style that was used more often in later years.Visitors can admire the facade on the western side which is covered in marble and carved with geometric designs and calligraphy inscriptions. You can all see the brick minaret that has survived over the centuries on the north side of the mosque and two domes in the center. The mosque sits below the citadel near the Basilica of St. John. From the mosque, you can look up at the impressive ruins of the citadel and the basilica. The view from the hill where the basilica sits gives an impressive perspective of the mosque as well.

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Sights & Landmarks

Cicek Pasaji (Flower Passage)

Cicek Pasaji was the most glamorous address in the Beyoğlu district during the heady days of the Orient Express, and today the historic 19th-century arcade is known for its restaurants and lively bar scene. Opened in the old site of the grand Naum Theatre in 1876, Cicek Pasaji was originally known as Cité de Péra, but following the 1917 Russian Revolution the galleria became known as Cicek Pasaji (Turkish for Flower Passage) because some of the newly-impoverished bourgeois Russian women who fled to Istanbul to start again began selling flowers here. By the 1940s, the new name stuck because by then, most of Cité de Péra’s buildings were occupied by flower shops. Once home to some of Istanbul's most glamorous apartments and stores, by the time of the Second World War, the exclusive shops had turned into rough and rowdy meyhanes (taverns).

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Cultural/Heritage Places

Bergama Asklepion (Pergamon Asclepeion)

This ancient medical center, honoring the Greek god of healing Asklepios, has existed since the 4th century BC. Built around a spring with waters that were believed to be sacred, the columns and walls still standing today once surrounded rooms for psychotherapy, massage, herbal remedies, baths, mud treatments and dream interpretation.The Roman period brought the center its most notable patients, including emperors Marcus Aurelius and Hadrian. The influential physician Galen, who wrote about 500 works on medicine, practiced here in 2 AD. Enter the structure as health seekers once did through the Sacred Way, a path that connects to the Akropol. In the first courtyard there is an altar featuring a serpent, the emblem of modern medicine, and other structures include a small theater, a library and the circular domed Temple of Asklepios.

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Cultural/Heritage Places

Miletus (Miletos)

The ancient Greek city of Miletus in modern-day Turkey was once an important port city. When the river’s location changed, the city was eventually abandoned.The settlement at Miletus dates back to 1400 B.C.E., and the city grew to be one of Greece’s wealthiest cities - thanks in large part to its position at the mouth of the Maeander River. Over the centuries, the river changed course, leaving Miletus behind. The city was later destroyed by the Persians in 499 B.C.E. and then rebuilt on a new grid plan that was to become the model for Roman cities. Excavations at the site began in the late 1800s, and today you can see the remains of a theater, a stadium, a Temple to Apollo, a Byzantine-era castle and church, and Roman baths.

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Religious Architecture

Church of Saints Sergius and Bacchus (Kücük Ayasofya Camii)

The Little Aya Sofia (Kucuk Ayasofia Camii in Turkish) was built in the 6th century at the direction of the Roman Emperor Justinian I. Shaped as an irregular octagon, the church’s interior featured a two-story colonnade and was embellished with gold mosaics and red and green marble. Many of the columns featured the monograms of the Emperor Justinian and Empress Theodora.Justinian originally named the church after the saints Sergius and Bacchus, the patron saints of Christians in the Roman army, but it became known as the Little Aya Sofia due to its resemblance to the larger Aya Sofia that was completed just a few years later. At the time, the church was one of the most important religious structures in the city then known as Constantinople.

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Well-known Landmarks

Basilica Cistern (Yerebatan Sarayi)

Atmospheric music, rosy flood lighting and the lilting sound of water lapping on marble – entering the Underground Cistern known in Turkish as Yerebatan Sarayi - or Basilica Cistern, is an experience that charms all the senses.Built to store water, this has to be the fanciest and most enormous well you’ll ever see. The cistern dates back to Byzantine days when the city was called Constantinople.Built by Emperor Justinian in the mid-500s, the cavernous underground water-storage area has a vaulted brick ceiling supported by a forest of Corinthian-carved marble columns.If this eerie, magical place looks a little familiar, you may recognize it from a scene in the James Bond movie From Russia with Love.On your walk around the Basilica Cistern, seek out the two pillars that have the face of Medusa carved onto their base.

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Well-known Landmarks

Ancient City of Kaunos

The Kaunos Ruins near Dalyan, Turkey are one of the most popular tourist attractions in the area. Kaunos was an ancient city founded in the 9th century BC, and it was quite important by 400 BC. It was located on the border between Lycia and Caria, and the city's culture had characteristics of both empires. The city was once an important trading post on the sea, though today it is set back a few miles from the sea since the coastline has moved over the centuries. The receding coastline, attacks from various tribes, and a malaria epidemic led to the decline of Kaunos, and the city was abandoned by the 15th century.The ruins include a well preserved theater, parts of the old city walls, and an acropolis. There's also a basilica, Roman baths, two Hellenistic temples and four Roman temples. From the acropolis, you can enjoy a gorgeous view of the ancient city. The theater could hold 5,000 people and is still occasionally used for events.

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Religious Architecture

St. Anthony of Padua Church (Sent Antuan Bazilikasi)

Located in the bustling neighborhood of Taksim in Istanbul, St Anthony of Padua Church (also referred to as Basilica di Sant'Antonio di Padova) is a Roman Catholic minor basilica that provides a respite from the shops and businesses surrounding it. It has the largest parish of the Catholic churches in Istanbul and mass is conducted by Italian priests. Mass in multiple languages is offered each week. In a city largely full of mosques, it is an interesting change of pace to visit St Anthony, which has long been at the epicenter of Catholicism in Istanbul. A famous Catholic figure who preached here was Pope John XXIII, who served as the Vatican's ambassador for Turkey before he was elected as pope in 1958. You'll see statues -- including one right by the entrance – and other displays commemorating his life as you walk around the church.When visiting St Anthony of Padua, also take note of the neo-Gothic architecture.

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Museums & Exhibitions

Mevlana Museum (Mevlana Muzesi)

Konya’s Mevlana Museum is in a former monastery constructed around the mausoleum of Jalal ad-Din Muhammad Rumi, the peace-loving Persian Sufi poet and mystic who founded the bizarre sect known as the ‘whirling dervishes’ and lived between 1207 and 1273. It is one of the most popular pilgrimage destinations in Turkey, with more than 1.5 million people visiting each year. The highly ornate monastery was built in the 16th century around the 13th-century tomb of Rumi and has slender minarets, several domes and a bright-turquoise tiled tower, which is one of the landmarks of the city. The complex includes prayer rooms, a library stocked with thousands of rare ecclesiastical books and Koran manuscripts, the monks’ cells and kitchens, all situated in manicured gardens full of shrubs, roses and a blue-and-white marble fountain. At the heart of the monastery lies the sarcophagus of Rumi, accompanied by the tombs of his wife, children and several of his followers.

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Buildings & Structure

Ataturk Mausoleum (Anitkabir)

The Ataturk Maouselum, part of the Anıt Kabir (literally ""memorial tomb""), is the mausoleum of Mustaga Kemal Ataturk, the leader of the Turkish War of Independence and the founder and first president of the Republic of Turkey. The Anit Kabir encapsulates both architectural impressiveness and historical significance, making it one of Anakara's must sees.Anit Kabir's construction spanned 9 years and commenced in 1944. It consists of four main parts - the Road of Lions, the Ceremonial Plaza, the Hall of Honor (the location of Atatürk's tomb) and the Peace Park that surrounds the monument.Inside of the ceremonial plaza you can find several museum rooms displaying memorabilia and personal artifacts of Ataturk, giving visitors a sense of the famous leader's life. The Hall of Honor is an impressively lofty structure, lined in marble and decorated with mosaics. An immense marble cenotaph stands at the northern end of the hall above the actual tomb.

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Sights & Landmarks

Galata Bridge (Galata Köprüsü)

Spanning the Golden Horn, Istanbul’s Galata Bridge is one of the most famous bridges in Turkey. The bridge has been a symbolic link between the old city center, with its imperial palaces and religious structures, and the more commercial neighborhoods that were populated by foreign merchants and diplomats. It also appears frequently in Turkish literature, poetry and theater.While a bridge has stood in the same location since 1845, the current structure dates back only to 1994. The previous bridge (the fourth), was damaged in a fire in 1992 and moved further up the Golden Horn. Stretching from Karakoy to Eminonu, the present-day bridge is actually the fifth Galata Bridge to stand on those shores. At 42 meters wide, it has 3 lanes for traffic and one walkway in each direction. The lower level of the bridge is now lined with lively cafes and restaurants offering a magnificent view of the Golden Horn and the old city.

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Cultural/Heritage Places

Priene

The ancient Greek city of Priene is in modern-day Turkey, but its Greek roots are clearly visible in the excavations you can visit. The remains of the city of Priene we can see today date back to the 4th century B.C.E., but it’s widely known among archaeologists that the original Priene settlement is much older. How much older, they can’t say - those remains are likely still buried - but it’s possible the original city was established before 1000 B.C.E.One of the main attractions at Priene is the Temple to Athena, situated at the highest point of the old city. Other sights in the excavations include a theater, the agora, a city council building called a “bouleuterion,” a gymnasium with Roman baths, and a Temple of Demeter.

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Well-known Landmarks

Galata Tower (Galata Kulesi)

The medieval Galata Tower adds a fairytale element to the hilly Beyoğlu district, on the north side of the Golden Horn.Capped with a conical tiled steeple and gold finial, the 67 meter (220 foot) stone tower was built by the Genoese in 1348. Visit the outdoor observation area at the top for a stunning panorama across to Sultanahmet, have dinner or a snack at the tower-top restaurant, or watch a Turkish belly-dancing show at the nightclub.

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Cultural/Heritage Places

Gallipoli Peninsula (Gelibolu Yarimadasi)

For many Australians and New Zealanders visitors, Gallipoli is the focus of their trip to Turkey.During World War I, the tiny cove on the Dardanelles was the site of a long and entrenched skirmish between Turkish and Allied troops. Horrendous casualties resulted on both sides, and for the Allies the operation was a failure.These days Gallipoli is synonymous with the incompetence of Britain’s leaders and the sacrifice of the empire’s Commonwealth soldiers. The leader of the Turkish troops was none other than Ataturk, who went on to lead Turkey into the modern era.The Gallipoli Peninsula is now a national park, with moving memorials to those who died here almost a century ago. Antipodean visitors come here in their thousands to commemorate ANZAC Day on 25 April.

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Cultural/Heritage Places

Hippodrome (Sultanahmet Meydani)

Originally built in the third century, the Hippodrome of Constantinople was the sporting and cultural center of the former Byzantine capital for over 1,000 years. With a U-shaped race track and two levels of spectator galleries, the Hippodrome likely held more than 100,000 people. While the Byzantine emperors (and later the Ottoman sultans) took great pride in the Hippodrome and devoted significant efforts to embellishing it, little remains of the original structure today.Sultan Ahmet Square now covers the former site of the Hippodrome and largely follows its ground plan and dimensions. Pavement marks the course of the old race track and several interesting monuments remain as well. You can’t miss the towering Obelisk of Theodosius, the oldest monument in all of Istanbul. Made of pink granite, it was originally erected at the Amun Re temple at Karnak in Egypt, but was brought to Istanbul by the Emperor Theodosius in the fourth century.

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Well-known Landmarks

Library of Celsus

The Celsus Library is the most famous part of the ruins of Ephesus in Turkey. It was built between 110 and 135 AD by Gaius Julius Aquila in honor of his father, Celsus Polemaeanus. Unfortunately his father died before the library was completed, and his tomb was placed in a special room beneath the ground level of the building. A statue of Athena was placed at the entrance to the tomb because Athena was the goddess of wisdom.The library was two stories high and had three entrances in the front. The entrances were designed with exaggerated height in order to give the building the overall appearance of being bigger than it was. The building faces east which allowed plenty of morning light to shine into the reading rooms. The Celsus Library was once the third largest library in the ancient world, after Alexandra and Pergamum, and could hold more than 12,000 scrolls.

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Experience fun and excitement

Have a good time

Travel long distances just for fun and explore places where being happy is a way of life.

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Nightlife

Top Attractions

Buildings & Structure

German Fountain (Alman Çesmesi)

The Kaiser Wilhelm Fountain is located in the Hippodrome part of Istanbul. The Hippodrome was a central point of Byzantine culture and Kaiser Wilhelm's Fountain is a prominent sight within the Hippodrome.Kaiser Wilhelm's Fountain was commissioned by German Emperor Wilhelm II, hence its name. (It also goes by the nickname the German Fountain.) Emperor Kaiser Wilhelm II had the fountain constructed in Germany after his visit to Istanbul in 1898 during which he met with the Ottoman Sultan Abdülhamid II. The fountain was then transported in pieces to Istanbul as a thank you gift from emperor for his stay in the city and it was erected in 1901 on Kaiser Wilhelm II's birthday as a symbol of positive relations between Germany and Turkey. The neo-Byzantine style of the fountain fits in nicely with the aesthetics of the old Hippodrome, thanks to its octagonal and stately gazebo-style dome ceiling and columns.

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Go for a new adventure

Discover top adventure travel spots

Reward yourself with an opportunity to explore the nature in different and more radical way.

Top Activities

Outdoor Activities

Nature and Wildlife Tours

Extreme Sports

Top Attractions

Places of Natural Beauty

Iztuzu Beach (Turtle Beach)

Turtle Beach, or İztuzu Beach in Turkish, is a large breeding ground for the rare and endangered loggerhead sea turtles. The beach is located just south of the town of Dalyan, Turkey along the Aegean Sea. Due to its protection status, the beach is quiet, though there are a few cafes and tourist facilities in the area. There are no showers on the beach because they don't want shampoo to contaminate the beach and harm the turtles. Certain sections of the beach are off limits during breeding season in order to protect the turtles and their eggs. The beach has been under threats of over development for decades, which would have a devastating effect on the turtles. Luckily there are groups fighting to stop the development and continue protecting the turtles and their habitat.

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Celebrate a special occasion

Go for a romance travel

Escape from home routine and find a romantic place to celebrate your special occasion.

Top Activities

Half-day Tours

City Tours

Full-day Tours

Top Attractions

Fun & Games

Kusadasi Caravanserai (Öküz Mehmed Pasha Caravanserai)

The centuries roll back when you step inside Kusadasi’s Caravanserai, rich with Ottoman and Seljuk architectural details. With its Venetian-style swallow-tail battlements and red stone walls, the Ottoman castle dates back to 1618 and the days of Vizier Öküz Mehmed Pasha. In the Ottoman era, the castle acted as a trading house and meeting place for merchants, and was fortified to protect the valuable goods stored there. Entering the Caravanserai, you walk through a marble arched gateway into a double-story courtyard filled with lush palm trees, Turkish rugs (for sale), marble pools and fountains. These days the former stronghold is a welcoming boutique hotel with a well-known restaurant. The hotel combines Ottoman history and modern-day conveniences, with bathrooms and fireplaces providing plenty of 21st-century comforts.

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Cultural/Heritage Places

Gemiler Island (Gemiler Adasi)

Known in English as St Nicholas Island, Gemiler lies along the Mediterranean coast of Turkey, south from Fethiye and west of the sandy beach at Ölüdeniz. Separated from the mainland by a narrow sea channel, it is a tiny speck of an islet, just 400 meters (1,312 feet) wide and 1,000 meters (3,280 feet) long but is renowned for its wealth of Byzantine ruins, which date back more than 1,500 years. Gemiler Island was once one of Christendom’s most popular pilgrimage points with devotees heading for Jerusalem in the Middle Ages. They came to honor the tomb of St Nicholas – the original Father Christmas, who was Bishop of Myra on the Turkish coast opposite – even though his remains were moved to the mainland in 650 AD. Also around this time, the little Byzantine settlement on Gemiler came under threat from pirates and was abandoned as the residents moved to the mainland for protection.

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Buildings & Structure

Küçüksu Palace (Küçüksu Kasri)

See how the royalty of Istanbul’s past lived centuries ago with a visit to Küçüksu Palace, also referred to as Küçüksu Pavilion or Küçüksu Kasri. Built in the mid-1800s after being commissioned by Sultan Abdulmecit, Küçüksu Palace was used by Ottoman sultans as a summer palace where they headed for some hunting and relaxation.Küçüksu Palace is smaller compared to other royal summer residences in Turkey, but still has an impressive façade and interior that blends together both European and Ottoman styles from the time period with intricate carvings along the exterior and gilded accents inside. Both history and design buffs will enjoy visiting the palace and learning more about life within its walls and outdoor gardens. The palace still reflects a stately Turkish home from the 19th and 20th centuries with traditional furniture along with a large collection of artwork.

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Religious Architecture

Blue Mosque (Sultanahmet Camii)

A distinct Istanbul landmark, the world-famous Blue Mosque (Sultan Ahmet Camii in Turkish) opened in 1616 and is renowned for its slender minarets and collection of domes. The Sultan Ahmet I conceived the structure to rival the nearby Byzantine Hagia Sofia which stands opposite the mosque in the city's busiest square. It was constructed over the site of an ancient hippodrome and Byzantine palace, and is one of the most beautiful mosques in Turkey.Guarded by its six minarets and built around an enormous internal courtyard, the mosque's vast and curvaceous interior is ablaze with 20,000 delicate blue Iznik tiles—after which it gets its moniker of the Blue Mosque—featuring flowers, garlands, and intricate patterns.The Blue Mosque can be visited on a small-group or private tour of the Sultanahmet neighborhood and is often paired with tours of Topkapi Palace, Hagia Sofia and the Hippodrome.

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Places of Natural Beauty

Cleopatra Island (Sedir Island)

Sedir Island is best known as Cleopatra Island, named after the pharaoh who allegedly met her lover Marc Antony on its shores. Forever romanticized by its connection with the iconic lovers, this small island in the Gulf of Gökova is now a popular stop on boat cruises and jeep safaris from Marmaris.Cleopatra Island’s second claim to fame is its unusually textured sands, made up of smooth white, ground seashells. To preserve this one-of-a-kind sand, visitors are required to leave their belongings and shoes at the entrance to the beach. Removing the sand is strictly prohibited. Typically, such sand can only be found on Egyptian shores, fueling the legend that Marc Antony had it shipped in to Sedir Island from North Africa in an attempt to woo his mistress.The island also has an additional sandy beach, popular among swimmers and sunbathers, that is home to a number of Roman ruins, including an agora and an amphitheater that dates back to the fourth century B.C.

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Buildings & Structure

Topkapi Palace (Topkapi Sarayi)

Synonymous with Ottoman style architecture, the Topkapi Palace is one of Istanbul’s most historical landmarks. Resident to Sultans for over 400 years, the palace is a measure of its empiric significance. Visitor interested in understanding the culture and pride of Turkey’s people would benefit from a visit to the complex.

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Buildings & Structure

Dolmabahce Palace (Dolmabahce Sarayi)

When the Ottoman sultans wanted to update their living space, they moved from the Topkapi complex on Seraglio Point to the Dolmabahce Palace (Dolmabahce Sarayi).The sultans lived here from 1856 to 1922. With its columns and pediments, the opulent palace has a very European appearance, and the interior is a mid-Victorian statement in over-the-top luxury.Gilt, marble and crystal abound, and also the home ot the world’s largest crystal chandelier, which was a gift from Queen Victoria.Guided tours lead from waiting rooms to the offices of the Grand Vizier and other ornate apartments looking over the sea.The palace has a special place in the hearts of modern-day Turks, as its where the leader Atatürk lived and passed away in in 1938.

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Buildings & Structure

Beylerbeyi Palace (Beylerbeyi Sarayi)

Located on the shores of the Bosphorus, on the Asian side of Istanbul, the Beylerbeyi Palace was a summer residence for Ottoman sultans and a guest house to entertain foreign heads of state. Sultan Abdulaziz ordered the construction of the palace in 1863 and it formally opened two years later. Over the years, it hosted visitors such as Empress Eugenie of France, Emperor Joseph of Austria-Hungary, Crown Prince Oscar of Sweden and Nasireddin, the Shah of Iran. It also served as the last place of captivity for deposed Sultan Abdulhamid II, who lived there until his death in 1918.The two-story stone palace consists of six halls, 24 rooms, one hamam and one bathroom. The interior decorations mix Western neo-classical elements and traditional Ottoman design, with much of the furniture coming from Europe. The elegant reception hall is known as the Hall with Mother-of-Pearl and leads to a fine seaside room covered with rich wood paneling.

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Try exciting meals

Experience a variety of food on the trip

Escape from ordinary everyday meals and reward yourself with delicious and special gourmet dishes.

Top Activities

Nightlife

Dinner Cruises

Top Attractions

Market

Kadikoy Market (Kallavi Kadiköy)

The Grand Bazaar isn't the only market you'll want to visit in Istanbul. Kadikoy Market, also referred to as Kallavi Kadikoy, is a large street market that is located on the Asia side of Istanbul. Though many visitors to Istanbul stick to the famous site-heavy European side of Istanbul (where the Grand Bazaar is), foodies and shoppers should definitely also make the short trek across the Bosphorus Strait to check out Kadikoy Market. Kadikoy Market has everything from fruits to pizza and ceramics to linens. It only operates on Tuesday and Fridays and on those days you'll find thousands of stalls selling a variety of wares and cuisine. Great deals are for the taking and haggling over price is perfectly acceptable. Visitors often enjoy having a meal at Kadikoy Market as there are many cafes and stands selling to-go food and hot meals mixed in among the produce and fish you can purchase, but will have to cook on your own.

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Turkey

25 Featured Attractions

Cultural/Heritage Places

Fountain of Trajan

The Fountain of Trajan is a building in the ruins of Ephesus in Turkey that was built in the 2nd century AD. It is a two story building that was constructed in memory of the Roman Emperor Trajan. There was once a giant statue of Trajan and a pool with water flowing from beneath him. The statue was created with Trajan's left foot on the ground and his right foot on a ball that represented the world. Trajan ruled during the height of the Roman Empire, and showing him standing on this ball was meant to represent him as the ruler of the world. The left foot of the statue can still be seen today.The ornate facade of the building includes Corinthian columns and Composite columns, which were a combination of Corinthian and Ionic columns. The pool was approximately 66 feet by 33 feet and surrounded by columns and statues of Dionysus, Satyr, Aphrodite and the family of the Emperor. These statues are preserved in the Ephesus Museum.

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Market

Kadikoy Market (Kallavi Kadiköy)

The Grand Bazaar isn't the only market you'll want to visit in Istanbul. Kadikoy Market, also referred to as Kallavi Kadikoy, is a large street market that is located on the Asia side of Istanbul. Though many visitors to Istanbul stick to the famous site-heavy European side of Istanbul (where the Grand Bazaar is), foodies and shoppers should definitely also make the short trek across the Bosphorus Strait to check out Kadikoy Market. Kadikoy Market has everything from fruits to pizza and ceramics to linens. It only operates on Tuesday and Fridays and on those days you'll find thousands of stalls selling a variety of wares and cuisine. Great deals are for the taking and haggling over price is perfectly acceptable. Visitors often enjoy having a meal at Kadikoy Market as there are many cafes and stands selling to-go food and hot meals mixed in among the produce and fish you can purchase, but will have to cook on your own.

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Buildings & Structure

Column of Constantine (Çemberlitas Sütunu)

When Constantine established his new capital of the Roman Empire, he commissioned a grand circular forum with a monumental column at its center. Carved from red porphyry stone, the 115-foot (35-meter) column was topped with a golden statue of Apollo bearing Constantine's face.A storm toppled the statue in 1106, and a fire in 1779 damaged the base (earning it the nickname 'Burnt Stone'). Periodic restoration work has reinforced cracks in the marble, and in 2003, the column underwent a more thorough restoration, though the statue on top has never been replaced. Visitors can see the historic Constantine Column near the Çemberlitas metro station in Istanbul, where city tours often pass by.

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Cultural/Heritage Places

Sardis (Sart)

Pre-Roman ancient ruins are just a day trip from Kusadasi in the ruined city of Sardis, the capital of the kingdom of Lydia from the 7th to 6th centuries BC.For a time Sardis was renowned throughout classical antiquity as the richest city on the planet, known for its legendary supply of gold washed down from the Tumulus Mountains. The term ‘rich as Croesus’ refers to that gold and the last Lydian ruler, King Croesus, who is thought to have invented gold coins. In fact, settlement here dates back to Paleolithic times, but most of that history lies underground, destroyed by millennia of earthquake activity. Nowadays, the site is famous for its impressive Roman ruins, built hundreds of years after the city’s initial burst of fame, in around the 2nd century AD.

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Religious Architecture

New Mosque (Yeni Cami)

Istanbul’s New Mosque is actually over 400 years old. Sitting at the southern end of the Galata Bridge, construction of the mosque began in 1597 but was not completed until 1663. It was originally commissioned by the mother of Sultan Mehmet III but when the sultan died and his mother lost her position and income, construction ceased. After a fire destroyed much of the unfinished structure, the mosque was finally finished on the orders of Turhan Hadice, the mother of Sultan Mehmet IV. Based on the dome plan of the Sehzade and Sultan Ahmed Mosques, the New Mosque features sixty-six domes and semi-domes arranged in a pyramid. The main dome is 36 meters high and is flanked by four semi-domes. Like other Ottoman mosques in Istanbul, the mosque is preceded by a large courtyard, which features an ornamental ablution fountain in the center. The interior of the mosque is decorated with blue, green and white Iznik tiles and features colonnades of marble columns connected by arches.

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Buildings & Structure

Izmir Clock Tower (Izmir Saat Kulesi)

Saat Kulesi is a historic clock tower in Konak Square in the center of Izmir, Turkey. The Levantine French architect Raymond Charles Père designed the Izmir Clock Tower. It was built in 1901 to commemorate the 25th anniversary of Abdülhamid II's accession to the throne. The sultan actually celebrated his 25th anniversary by having more than 100 clock towers built in public squares throughout the Ottoman Empire. The clock on the Izmir Clock Tower was a gift from German Emperor Wilhelm II.The tower is 82 feet high and decorated in an Ottoman style. Four fountains with three water taps each are set around the base of the tower in a circular pattern, and the columns are inspired by Moorish designs. The clock tower has become the symbol of Izmir, and it appeared on the back of Turkish 500 lira banknotes from 1983 to 1989.

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Scenic Landmarks

Bayir Village

Bayir Village is a small town on the Bozburun Peninsula in southwestern Turkey. It is built on top of the ancient city of Syrna, and it is believed that the town's mosque sits on top of the temple of Asklepios, the god of health, although there are no traces of the temple today. Just outside the village you will find ruins from the ancient city. There is an acropolis, pieces of the old city walls, some gravestones, and the remains of a few other structures. Another big attraction in Bayir is a 2,300 year old tree called Old Plane Tree. It is said to bring good luck and extend your life if you circle it three times. There are several cafes near the tree where you can sample the local food and drink some tea. There are also a few shops where you can buy local honey.Bayir Village is often included on jeep safari tours to various villages in the area. Bayir is located on top of a hill which provides spectacular views of the village and the surrounding peninsula.

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Cultural/Heritage Places

Public Latrine at Ephesus

The ruins of the ancient Roman city of Ephasus are located in Selcuk, Turkey. The city was the second most important city in the Roman empire during the 1st and 2nd centuries AD. One of the popular sections of the ruins are the public latrines, which are on next to the Hadrian Temple and the Bordello. The latrines were the city's public toilets, and they were built in the 1st century AD as part of the Scholastica Baths. These baths were built to provide the city with the modern conveniences of public works, including 36 marble toilets.Visitors can still see, but not use, the toilets that are lined up along the walls. There was an uncovered pool with columns surrounding it which supported a wooden ceiling. Underneath the latrines was a drainage system. There was also a trough with relatively clean water near where your feet would be. People who wanted to use the toilets had to pay an entrance fee.

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Cultural/Heritage Places

Özkonak Underground City (Ozkonak Yeralti Sehri)

Smaller than Cappadocia’s other subterranean cities like Kaymakli and Derinkuyu, Ozkonak Underground City is also much less crowded. On the northern slopes of Mount Idis, as you hunch to stroll the tiny corridors of this ancient city you'll feel very big compared to the people who once lived here. Likely built in the Byzantine era, though perhaps even older, Özkonak Underground City was rediscovered in the '70s by a local farmer who wondered where his excess crop water was going. Turns out it was going into a huge subterranean city stretching ten floors deep and able to house 60,000 people.

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Buildings & Structure

Ankara Castle (Ankara Kalesi)

Located atop a hill in the heart of Ankara, the Ankara Citadel, or castle, serves as one of the most recognizable symbol's of Turkey's capital. Visiting the citadel is more than just seeing the impressive structure, with its 14-16 m (46-53 ft) high walls. A journey inside the citadel also provides you with a look at what ancient Turkey might have looked like.The structures within and around the castle serve as some of the oldest authentic examples of traditional Turkish architecture. Although no one know for sure exactly how old the citadel is, its foundations were thought to have been laid by Galatians nearly 3,000 years ago. Inside the citadel, many of the old houses have been restored and converted into restaurants, creating the atmosphere of an ancient Anatolian village. The local people still live as if in a traditional Turkish town. As you wander along the narrow winding streets, you'll often see women beating and sorting through skeins of wool.

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Cultural/Heritage Places

Pergamon (Pergamum)

Pergamon is an ancient city dating as far back as the 5th century BC. Credited with the invention of parchment, this once great seat of learning and culture had a library with over 20,000 volumes and a medical center - the remains of which can still be seen today.Listed in the Bible as one of the Seven Churches of Asia, Pergamon flourished until the 14th century when, under Ottoman rule, it was abandoned and left to decay. Today, much of the remains of this once magnificent city lie underneath the modern-day city of Bergama but, thanks to Pergamon’s hilltop position, the remains of its most important buildings are still visible. The Acropolis of Pergamon is clearly visible from anywhere in Bergama and closer inspection will reveal two partially reconstructed temples (Temple of Trajan and the Temple of Athena), ancient aqueducts and the incredible hillside theater, which is said to contain the steepest theater seating in the world.

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Well-known Landmarks

Ihlara Valley (Ihlara Vadisi)

Cappadocia’s Grand Canyon, the 328 ft (100 m) deep Ihlara Valley was formed by the Melendiz River thousands of years ago.Around 4,000 people lived in the valley and there were 80 churches carved into the cliff faces, 12 of which can be visited today. These days the valley is home to one of the most popular hiking trails in Cappadocia with 26 bends along an 8 mile (14km) route that passes vineyards and pistacio trees.The valley begins at the village of Ihlara and ends at Selime Monastery in the village of Selime, but there are two other entrances depending on how far you are willing to hike. Around 2.8 miles (4 km) into the valley is the most popular entry point with 300 steps down to the valley floor. Or you can drive to the village of Belisirma in the middle of the valley. The best section for seeing churches is between Ihlara and Belisirma.

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Museums & Exhibitions

Istanbul Archaeological Museums (Istanbul Arkeoloji Muzeleri)

Crammed with artworks and artifacts from over the millennia, Istanbul’s Archaeology Museum is housed in a complex of three buildings in gardens formerly belonging to Topkapi Palace.Opened in 1891, the museum features archaeology in the main building, a grand classical affair with columns and pediments. The art of the ancient orient is housed in a separate building, and the historic Tiled Kiosk, commissioned by Sultan Mehmet II in 1472, houses a museum of Islamic art.The Greek and Roman statues are the highlights of this massive and important collection, including the ornately carved Alexander Sarcophagus. Also seek out the peace treaty dating from 1258 BC, a Lycian tomb, cuneiform documents, and busts of Alexander the Great and Zeus.

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Museums & Exhibitions

Istanbul Museum of Modern Art (Istanbul Modern Sanat Müzesi)

Known simply as Istanbul Modern, the Istanbul Museum of Modern Art opened in 2004 in the Beyoglu district of Istanbul. Sitting in a converted warehouse on the banks of the Bosphorus, the museum features contemporary works of art by Turkish artists.Istanbul Modern has two exhibition halls. On the upper floor, you’ll find the museum’s permanent collection, displayed in chronological order so that it showcases the development of Turkish modern and contemporary art over time. Works range from painting and sculpture to installation and video. The lower floor includes a Temporary Exhibition Hall that hosts conceptual shows and retrospectives, as well as large-scale and international exhibitions. A Photography Gallery often hosts photography exhibitions by both Turkish and foreign artists and Pop-up areas feature exhibitions in architecture, design, video and new media.

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Religious Architecture

Rustem Pasha Mosque (Rüstem Pasa Camii)

Almost hidden among the narrow streets surrounding Istanbul’s Spice Bazaar, the Rustem Pasha Mosque is one of several Ottoman era mosques designed by famous imperial architect Mimar Sinan. Sitting on the site of an old Byzantine church, an inscription indicates that the mosque was built in honor of Suleyman the Magnificent’s son-in-law and grand vizier, Rustem Pasha. Despite incurring fire and earthquake damage over the years, the mosque has been repaired and still showcases some of the best of Ottoman architecture.The Rustem Pasha Mosque is unique in that it sits on a high terrace above the hustle and bustle of the bazaar – many visitors don’t even realize it is there. Two staircases lead from the street up to the terrace and a colonnaded porch that stands in front of the diminutive mosque. However, the mosque may be best known for its extensive use of colorful Iznik tiles set in a variety of floral and geometric designs.

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Sights & Landmarks

Balat

Balat is a historically Jewish neighborhood on the shores of the Golden Horn in Istanbul. While a significant Jewish population existed in the area since Byzantine times, the community grew substantially as Jews were evicted from Spain in 1492.The most important attraction in the neighborhood may be the Chora Church, today known as the Kariye Museum. With its intricate mosaics and frescoes from the Byzantine era, it is a must-see. Also worth checking out are the ruins of the Byzantine palace, Tekfur Salay, which is built into the old city walls. Dating to the late 1200s or early 1300s, the palace was built for Emperor Constantine Porphyrogenetus but over time served as a menagerie, brothel, pottery workshop and poorhouse. It is currently closed, but you can catch a decent glimpse from outside.

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Scenic Landmarks

Rose Valley (Güllüdere Vadisi)

Made up of a number of smaller valleys, Rose Valley is famous for its otherworldly rock formations and world-class hiking opportunities. The valley trails provide a variety of levels of challenge, and there are plenty of walks that are suitable for beginners. For seasoned hikers, there are trails where you get to scale stone tunnels and climb down ladders. Either way, you’ll get to wander canyon bottoms and explore Cappadocia’s rocks at sunset when the valley turns blood red.Valleys within the famous valley that’s named for its rose-hued rocks are Gulludere, Kizilcukur, Meskendir and Zindanonu. The most popular path in Rose Valley is a 3.5-km route that begins just outside the town of Goreme, but you could easily come back several times to explore new trails and catch sight of its hidden cave churches and abandoned rock houses.

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Fun & Games

Kusadasi Caravanserai (Öküz Mehmed Pasha Caravanserai)

The centuries roll back when you step inside Kusadasi’s Caravanserai, rich with Ottoman and Seljuk architectural details. With its Venetian-style swallow-tail battlements and red stone walls, the Ottoman castle dates back to 1618 and the days of Vizier Öküz Mehmed Pasha. In the Ottoman era, the castle acted as a trading house and meeting place for merchants, and was fortified to protect the valuable goods stored there. Entering the Caravanserai, you walk through a marble arched gateway into a double-story courtyard filled with lush palm trees, Turkish rugs (for sale), marble pools and fountains. These days the former stronghold is a welcoming boutique hotel with a well-known restaurant. The hotel combines Ottoman history and modern-day conveniences, with bathrooms and fireplaces providing plenty of 21st-century comforts.

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Religious Architecture

Isa Bey Mosque (Isa Bey Camii)

Isa Bey Mosque was built in 1375 near the ancient city of Ephesus in what is today Selcuk, Turkey. Parts of the mosque were built using stones and columns from the ruins of Ephesus and the Temple of Artemis. It was designed asymmetrically instead of a more traditional symmetric layout and includes a large courtyard. The mosque uses a Selcuk style of architecture rather than the Ottoman style that was used more often in later years.Visitors can admire the facade on the western side which is covered in marble and carved with geometric designs and calligraphy inscriptions. You can all see the brick minaret that has survived over the centuries on the north side of the mosque and two domes in the center. The mosque sits below the citadel near the Basilica of St. John. From the mosque, you can look up at the impressive ruins of the citadel and the basilica. The view from the hill where the basilica sits gives an impressive perspective of the mosque as well.

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Sights & Landmarks

Cicek Pasaji (Flower Passage)

Cicek Pasaji was the most glamorous address in the Beyoğlu district during the heady days of the Orient Express, and today the historic 19th-century arcade is known for its restaurants and lively bar scene. Opened in the old site of the grand Naum Theatre in 1876, Cicek Pasaji was originally known as Cité de Péra, but following the 1917 Russian Revolution the galleria became known as Cicek Pasaji (Turkish for Flower Passage) because some of the newly-impoverished bourgeois Russian women who fled to Istanbul to start again began selling flowers here. By the 1940s, the new name stuck because by then, most of Cité de Péra’s buildings were occupied by flower shops. Once home to some of Istanbul's most glamorous apartments and stores, by the time of the Second World War, the exclusive shops had turned into rough and rowdy meyhanes (taverns).

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Sights & Landmarks

Eyüp

Istanbul’s Eyüp District was the city’s first Ottoman Turkish settlement after the conquest of Constantinople. Located just beyond the city walls on the banks of the Golden Horn, the neighborhood shares its name with one of its most popular attractions, the Eyüp Sultan Mosque. It is here where Eyüp Ensari, the standard-bearer of the Prophet Muhammad, was interred in a tile-covered tomb. A mosque was later built around the tomb, and today, it’s Turkey’s holiest pilgrimage site.The largely industrial area to the east of the Golden Horn is also part of the Eyüp District, and it’s also home to the Rahmi Koç Museum (a museum covering transport, industry and communications) as well as the SantralIstanbul art complex.

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Cultural/Heritage Places

Bergama Asklepion (Pergamon Asclepeion)

This ancient medical center, honoring the Greek god of healing Asklepios, has existed since the 4th century BC. Built around a spring with waters that were believed to be sacred, the columns and walls still standing today once surrounded rooms for psychotherapy, massage, herbal remedies, baths, mud treatments and dream interpretation.The Roman period brought the center its most notable patients, including emperors Marcus Aurelius and Hadrian. The influential physician Galen, who wrote about 500 works on medicine, practiced here in 2 AD. Enter the structure as health seekers once did through the Sacred Way, a path that connects to the Akropol. In the first courtyard there is an altar featuring a serpent, the emblem of modern medicine, and other structures include a small theater, a library and the circular domed Temple of Asklepios.

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Cultural/Heritage Places

Miletus (Miletos)

The ancient Greek city of Miletus in modern-day Turkey was once an important port city. When the river’s location changed, the city was eventually abandoned.The settlement at Miletus dates back to 1400 B.C.E., and the city grew to be one of Greece’s wealthiest cities - thanks in large part to its position at the mouth of the Maeander River. Over the centuries, the river changed course, leaving Miletus behind. The city was later destroyed by the Persians in 499 B.C.E. and then rebuilt on a new grid plan that was to become the model for Roman cities. Excavations at the site began in the late 1800s, and today you can see the remains of a theater, a stadium, a Temple to Apollo, a Byzantine-era castle and church, and Roman baths.

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Cultural/Heritage Places

Sultanahmet District

Leave the present day behind and take a wander around Old Istanbul, the wonderful old Sultanahmet district.This World Heritage-listed district is crammed with historic buildings and enough magical atmosphere to keep you enthralled for days.Drink in the majesty of Hagia Sophia (Aya Sofia), a museum-church-mosque all in one, and admire the Blue Mosque that mirrors it. Spend days amid the riches of Topkapi Palace, and discover the underground world of the Basilica Cistern.Then shop for everything from curly-toed slippers to magic lanterns in the massive Grand Bazaar.

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Religious Architecture

Church of Saints Sergius and Bacchus (Kücük Ayasofya Camii)

The Little Aya Sofia (Kucuk Ayasofia Camii in Turkish) was built in the 6th century at the direction of the Roman Emperor Justinian I. Shaped as an irregular octagon, the church’s interior featured a two-story colonnade and was embellished with gold mosaics and red and green marble. Many of the columns featured the monograms of the Emperor Justinian and Empress Theodora.Justinian originally named the church after the saints Sergius and Bacchus, the patron saints of Christians in the Roman army, but it became known as the Little Aya Sofia due to its resemblance to the larger Aya Sofia that was completed just a few years later. At the time, the church was one of the most important religious structures in the city then known as Constantinople.

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