If you’re seeking a holiday destination that has it all, look no further than Turkey. Whether you’re after a 24/7 party atmosphere, or something a little more sedate, you’ll find the perfect getaway here. This country is also filled historic ruins and ancient monuments, meaning you’ll never be short of things to see and do.
Istanbul’s Hagia Sophia was constructed in the 6thCentury as a Greek Orthodox Christian basilica. It later became a mosque and remained a site of Islamic worship until the 1930s, when it reopened as a museum. This stunning piece of Byzantine architecture is notable for its massive dome and beautiful interior mosaics.
Another must-see historic spot in Istanbul is Galata Tower, which climbs 219 feet into the air, offering views of the surrounding city. The tower was built in the 14thCentury and was used in the past as an observation point for spotting fires in the city. Today the tower houses a restaurant, café and nightclub.
For a true taste of Turkey’s ancient history, travel to the Ionian Coast, where you’ll find Ephesus. Constructed in the 10thCentury BC, the city was once home to one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, the Temple of Artemis. Today, this expansive metropolis of ruins is open to the public and offers a tantalising glimpse of a long-dead world.
Just north of Ephesus lies the popular Turkish destination of Izmir. There’s plenty to love about this city, from bustling Kemeralti Market to the nearby beaches, but one spot history buffs can’t miss is Kadifekale. This hill shares its name with the castle that sits atop it. The castle was built in the 3rdCentury BC, and today it is open to the public and offers spectacular views of the city.
Mausoleum at Halicarnassus
Today, Halicarnassus is known as Bodrum and can be found on Turkey’s southwest coast. Bodrum is a hugely popular spot for tourists, famous for its beaches, boutique hotels and glitzy waterfront. It’s also home to fascinating historic sites such as the Mausoleum at Halicarnassus, a tomb built 353 and 351 BC for a man named Mausolus (who unwittingly gave his name to the modern day word for an above-ground tomb).
Like Ephesus, Telmessos is another ancient city. Unlike Ephesus, it has largely developed into a modern city by the name of Fethiye. You’ll find lots to see here, including the Tomb of Amyntas, carved into a sheer rock face south of the city centre and best viewed at sunset. Fethiye is also just a short drive from other tourist spots such as Dalaman and Ölüdeniz, so you can easily take a day trip there from nearby resorts.
When it comes to Turkey holidays, there are all kinds to choose from and destinations that can cater to all kinds of interests and budgets. Best of all, no matter where you are in the country, with a bit of research and wandering you’re bound to uncover some fascinating historic sites.
Images by paweesit, used under Creative Commons licence