Wherever you choose to spend a holiday in Turkey you will undoubtedly find sights of historical interest, but there are certain towns, regions and even specific sites that make particularly ideal holiday destinations for those with a passion for history. Here is a rundown of the best five…
Every year hundreds of holiday makers from across the globe make their way to Turkey, usually looking for a few weeks of serious relaxation in the sunshine. Yet aside from its breathtaking scenery, beautiful coastline and ever glorious weather, Turkey has a lot more to offer its visitors than the traditional `sun, sea and sand`. The only country in the world to spread across two continents, Turkey is an intriguing country rich in culture and steeped in a fascinating and complex history, making it an ideal holiday location for those who don`t just love the sunshine, but are also eager to explore a new country, visit some of its most magnificent historical sights and learn a little (or even a lot!) about its history and culture.
Kuşadasi is a delightful resort town on the Aegean coast of Turkey, meaning it is more than well equipped to cater to every holiday maker`s needs and desires. Yet not only can Kuşadasi offer spectacular sandy beaches, friendly locals and delicious Turkish food, here you will also find a huge number of historical sites nearby, the best of which is Ephesus. Ephesus was an ancient Greek city – one of the twelve cities of the Ionian league during the Classical Greek era – and was for many years the second largest city in the whole of the Roman Empire, second only to Rome. Steeped in history, this ancient city is one of the seven churches of Asia referred to in the Book of Revelation and is believed to be the place where the Gospel of John was written. It was also the sight of the Temple of Artemis, one of the seven wonders of the ancient world. Some of the many breathtaking sights that can be seen at Ephesus include the Odeon, the Temple of Hadrian and the Roman Library of Celsus, the Gate of Augustus and the world famous Cave of the Seven Sleepers.
If ancient history is what you`re interested in, then another fantastic place to visit is Assos, an ancient Aeolian city located on the rocky hillside high above the fishing village of Behramkale. Not only is this an ideal place for a holiday or even day trip if you`re looking to escape the hustle and bustle of the cities and better known tourist sites, the acropolis of Assos is home to the Temple of Athena. With the original structure still clearly marked out by 19 columns, the Temple and Athena is a stunning reminder of Turkey`s ancient past and one of the best places in the country to watch the sun set.
Another of Turkey`s sights of historical interest is the Hagia Sophia in Istanbul. Once the largest cathedral in the world, the Hagia Sophia is best known for its gigantic domed roof and stunning Byzantine architecture and throughout history has been used as a church, a mosque and is now a museum. As was as its epic proportions and fabulous design, the Hagia Sophia is also home to rich mosaics and the beautiful Lodge of the Empress. Also located in Istanbul us the Sultan Ahmed Mosque – popularly known as the `Blue Mosque` because of the tiles adorning its interior. Started in the early 17th century, the Blue Mosque took nearly 2 centuries to build, but few would argue that is wasn`t worth all that effort! The mosque is a stunningly beautiful example of both Byzantine and Ottoman architecture both inside and out and is certainly one of Turkey`s most fabulous historical sites.
The city of Konya also offers much in the way of historical sites, including the 13th century Iplikçi Mosque and the Mevlana Museum. However, this city is notably most famous for its cultural history, as it is the original home of the traditional – and now world famous – whirling dervishes. Not only will you be able to see the whirling dervishes in action here, but there are also curious sights such as the whirling dervish cemetery to behold.