Keep A Look-Out: The Top 5 Travel Landmarks in Turkey
As travel destinations go, Turkey is one of the most fascinating and diverse in the world. Not only is it blessed with a Mediterranean climate, for example, but it also has a rich cultural heritage and a unique blend of stunning scenery and terrains depending on where you stay in the country.
The same level of diversity even applies to the cheap Turkey holidays. Those in search of a classic city break can visit the minaret-filled skyline of Istanbul, while adventurers can explore the golden coasts of Antalya or the misty mountains of the Eastern Black Sea. For those who want to relax, the southern region of Side provides quaint markets and tranquil surroundings all year round.
This diversity underlines the sheer volume and range of tourist attractions in Turkey, each of which offers considerable value visitors from around the world. With this in mind, here are five of our favourite locations in this rich and fascinating country:
- The Aspendos Theatre
Aspendos is one of the less renowned resorts in Turkey, but it is home to one of the country’s most stunning landmarks. This is the Aspendos Theatre, which is one of the best preserved, ancient theatres of antiquity anywhere in the world. Built in 155 AD during the reign of Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius, it could seat between 15,000 and 20,000 spectators and hosted a number of famous annual events. The stage has subsequently been used as a roadside inn (or a Caravanserai to locals), and despite regular maintenance and repair it has retained almost all of its original charm and design.
- Patara Beach
Stretching out for nearly nine miles of golden coastline, the Patara Beach is one of the longest and most stunning attractions that Turkey has to offer. Surrounded by ancient Lycian and Roman ruins, there are no visible buildings in site and the entire region offers a unique haven of tranquillity and harmony. Backed by soaring dunes, this beach is also the breeding ground of the endangered Loggerhead turtle, making it something of a protected, heritage site. The nearest village is Patara, which is also renowned as the birthplace of the 4th century Byzantine bishop St. Nicholas (the man to you and us known as Santa Claus).
- Mount Nemrut
While Mount Nemrut may not be the world’s most famous mountain, it is certainly one of the most challenging for climbers. It is also imposing and beautiful in equal measure, standing at 7,001 feet tall and providing spectacular views of the surrounding terrain from its summit. Located in southeast Turkey and near the quaint city of Adiyaman, it is also home to a tomb sanctuary built by King Antiochus I Theos of Commagene.
In terms of natural sights and attractions, watching the sun rise from the eastern terrace is arguably the most thrilling, as it also offers view of King Antiochus’ tomb and it’s wonderful, orange-hued statues.
- The Goreme Fairy Chimneys
Cappadocia survives as one of the most beautiful and fascinating Turkish regions, thanks to its unique natural rock formations and beguiling historical heritage. It is therefore a stellar Turkish attraction, and one that is best viewed from the neighbouring town of Goreme. This in itself is a quaint and unusual location, blessed with picturesque tuff cones and termed fairy chimneys.
The latter have been formed as a consequence of wind and water erosion, which has left two distinct layers of tuff (otherwise known as consolidated volcanic ash) and basalt. Incredibly, this provides a malleable surface for construction, as the tuff can be easily hollowed out to create housing, churches and even storage buildings. Of course, that may not mean a lot to us now, but a visit to the region and it’ll make perfect sense.
By visiting this town, you can see one of the world’s most unique locations and also enjoy the wonder of the nearby Cappadocia.
- Hagia Sophia
Located in the heart of Istanbul, the Hagia Sophia was originally built as a basilica for the Eastern Roman Emperor Justinian I during the sixth century. It is a truly stunning example of Roman design, architecture, and engineering, with its huge dome spanning 102 feet in diameter covering what was once established as the single largest enclosed space in the world.
It has also enjoyed something of a chequered history, which took a turn for the worst when it was looted and stripped bare by the fourth Crusaders in 1204. As political and factions deepened during the age of enlightenment, the structure became a mosque in the 15th century when The Ottomans conquered the city. After years of service, it was finally converted into a museum during 1935, and it remains home to some of the most fascinating and insightful landmarks in Turkish history.
It is also one of the top attractions in Turkey, especially those who are keen to learn about the nation’s history and its cultural heritage.