DESCRIPTION OF SOME SITES AND MUSEUMS IN TURKEY

 

ADANA: Turkey's 4th largest city is most well-known as the home of a savory dish known as the Adana Kebab. Considered Turkey's "biggest village," over one million inhabitants live in this beautiful Mediterranean town where citrus abounds. Although its origins date back to the Hittites, little of its ancient past is still standing aside from the Roman Bridge built in the 2nd century. However, Adana has an extensive collection of its ancient past in its archeological museum.

ANI: The capital of an Urartian state and later of the Armenian Bagratid kingdom from 953 to 1045 AD, Ani was then taken over by the Byzantines. In the 1239, Mongols took Ani and soon abandoned the city leaving it a ghost town. Draped across the vast lush meadows of the plateau, Ani was called "The City of 1001 Churches”. During the 9th to the 12th centuries, as the capital of Christian Armenia, Ani was a flourishing artistic and religious center ruled by Christian kings. Within the walls of these ruins are eight churches, a convent, and a citadel along with the main cathedral.

ANKARA: the capital of Turkey since 1923, today Ankara has a population of more than three million. Since Roman times, Ankara has been a flourishing trade and administrative center. Around 400 AD, Ankara was the summer capital of the Byzantine emperors who moved their court and administration center there from Istanbul.

ALANYA: That’s a city located among the orange trees and lemon trees. Alanya is a well frequented and very much appreciated seaside town surrounded by two beautiful beaches.  The old city walls and picturesque streets, invite there one to walk around hours and hours. Just before our era, Alanya has been used as a headquarter by the pirates that controlled the entire coastal line.  The Ottomans established there the order and built up at the 13. Century a fortress called as the Red Tower from the top of which one will have a superb view on the old city. 

ANTAKYA: (Antioch) One of the great cities of antiquity, Antioch was known throughout the ancient world for its nearby Grove of Daphne, a massive temple and oracle complex to the god Apollo. It was also the base from where Peter, Paul and Barnabas started their preaching and the Romans first referred to the followers of Jesus Christ as Christians. Just outside of town is a cave where St. Peter is said to have first celebrated the mass.

ANTALYA: the main city along the Mediterranean coast, Antalya is a major seaside resort with a beautiful harbor. Still standing on the cliffs which surround Antalya are the ancient city walls and ramparts built by the Greeks. Inside the town stands the 13th century Aladdin Mosque and Hadrian's Gate which was built in honor of the Emperor's visit in 130 AD.

APHRODISIAS: An antique city situated near the Karacasu- Aydın province was established in the name of Goddess Aphrodite. It continued to be a great center of inhabitance from the Bronze Age to the Byzantine Period (2800 B.C. - 220 A.D.). During excavations, the Aphrodite Temple, Odeon, Stadium and agora, and the city baths have been revealed. Aphrodisias was well known during the Early Age as a center of sculpture. Aphrodisias Stadium is one of the best preserved stadiums among the antique city stadiums in Anatolia.

 

ASPENDOS: This antique city established in the early age is 48km east of Antalya. Its most important feature is its theatre. The theatre and its stage are the best preserved of the Roman theatres in Anatolia which have reached our times. 15000 spectators can sit in the theatre. It was built during the reign of Emperor Antonius Pius (134 - 164) by architect Zenon.

 

BLUE MOSQUE: This very beautiful mosque of the 7. Century is located in the opposite of St. Sophia on the place of Hippodrome and it’s characterized by its 6 minarets and the harmony of its domes. The mosque was called as BLUE because of its blue and green fine mosaics decorating its tribunes and one admire the fineness.

 

BODRUM:  is a scenic town whose center is the famed Castle of Saint Peter (built by the Knights of Saint John).  Bodrum has much to offer and should be considered as a base to explore the surrounding countryside.

BURSA: Bursa is situated at the south east of Istanbul. This lovely city nestled against the verdant foothills of Ulu Dag was the first capital of the Ottoman Empire. Remnants of its illustrious past can still be found in the abundance of its early Ottoman architecture, Green Mosque and Tomb of Mehmet I.

BYZANTINE CISTERN: In order to preserve water in case of necessity in Istanbul they were hundreds of water reservoirs the one closest  to Hagia  Sophia was  this sumptuous one which setting of music and lights and reflects its columns in the water.   

CAPPADOCIA: Most travelers have seen pictures of the mystical, rock chimney dwellings, and man-made cave based cities in Eastern Turkey.  Cappadocia is the area of Turkey known these dwellings and a very interesting place to visit.

CRUISE ON BOSPHORE: These straits long of 38 kms.  links up the Black Sea to the Marmara Sea is located between Europe and Asia with alongside the wooded hills.  A cruise by boat will allow you to admire the fortress of Rumeli Hisar built up by Ottoman Sultan Mehmet the Conqueror in 1452 to ease to occupation of the city of Old Constantinople.

DERINKUYU: Situated in the Derinkuyu Nevşehir province, this city was built as a defense and hiding site during the period of the spreading of Christianity. It was built by excavating the soft rocks underground, and is estimated to have been built during the 9th-10th centuries. It consists of rooms on either side of narrow passages, ventilation stacks, a chapel and a well.

DIDYMA: Just inland of the Aegean coast lies the remains of a massive temple to Apollo. Ancient Didyma was not a town, but the home of Apollo, so only priests lived here. This oracle was as important as the one at Delphi. Began in the 300's AD, the great temple that remains were in use for 1400 years. On the grounds are fragments where the statuary that lined the way to a small harbor stood before being taken to the British Museum in 1858.

DIYARBAKIR: One of the most important cities of Southern Turkey is surrounded by a basalt belt forming a wall of 5 kilometers, possesses the whole charm of the Southeastern with its colored markets. Citadel, caravanserai, residence of the big Vizir Hasan Pasha, museum and mosques, you are at the country of the thousand and a night. 

 

DOLMABAHCE PALACE: A palace which is built up in the middle of the 19. Century by the orders of Sultan Abdulmecit. This immense palace is surrounded by gardens earned  on the Bosphorus shores realizes a strange synthesis of the eastern and western arts that’s where died  Ataturk, in November 10, 1938 at  09H05 A.M. as testified by  all the clocks of the palace. 

 

EPHESUS: Ephesus, an ancient city in the process of being restored, is a must see.  Dating from the seventh century BC (and possibly earlier) Ephesus provides an interesting view of ancient life: the city's ruins illustrate how ancient cities worked and how the people played.  Ephesus is a site that should interest anyone but it holds special reverence for Christians who believe that the Virgin Mary lived in the area at the end of her life.

 

ERZURUM: This former city of caravan’s men was linking up Black Sea to the Persia on altitude of 1900 meters.  This is the coldest city of Turkey.  Its rough landscape combines with its Byzantine walls. 

 

FAIRY CHIMNEYS (Avcilar, Cavusin and Zelve): Avcilar is a small town that the inhabitants left their former houses of cave-dwellers among which ones one again can admire dove-coats to live elsewhere.  Cavusin is a town is built up at the foot of a cliff of 60 meters.  One there can visit the Church of St.  John Baptist with its beautiful wall paints.  The old town of Zelve which has been completely left by its inhabitants after a disaster presents many dug dwellings even in the cliff. A nearby a forest of fairy chimneys could be admired.

 

GOLDEN HORN: This is a Sea Arm of Bosphorus and Marmara Sea used as a natural harbor for several centuries in the old Istanbul.  This sea arm that the shores were released of their warehouses has now beautiful gardens.  But Golden Horn has not yet all its original purity and its waters still again polluted.

 

GOREME VALLEY: in a spectacular landscape, entirely sculptured by erosion, the Göreme valley and its surroundings contain rock-hewn sanctuaries that provide unique evidence of Byzantine art in the post- Iconoclastic period. Dwellings, troglodyte villages and underground towns - the remains of a traditional human habitat dating back to the 4th century - can also be seen there.

 

GRAND BAZAAR: This big cover market opens its doors at least since 15. Century, time when the merchants have been grouped according to their specialties.  This huge city of commerce has more than 4000 shops that represent all the charm of Orient. 

HARRAN: Lying on the Mesopotamian plain is Harran, known for its mud-brick dwellings shaped like beehives. The city is also the location where Rebecca is thought to have drawn water for Jacob and from where Abraham decided to move into the land of Canaan.

HIERAPOLIS – PAMUKKALE: Deriving from springs in a cliff almost 200 m high overlooking the plain, calcite-laden waters have created at Pamukkale (Cotton Palace) an unreal landscape, made up of mineral forests, petrified waterfalls and a series of terraced basins. At the end of the 2nd century B.C. the dynasty of the Attalits, the kings of Pergamon established the thermal spa of Hierapolis. The ruins of the baths, temples and other Greek monuments can be seen at the site.

 

HIPPODROME: Ancient hippodrome was founded first time in 3. Century A.D. and has been renovated in 6. Century A.D.  by Justinian and it was the place where he was inaugurating the chariots races as well as festivities. It is decorated with the monuments such as: Wall Column, Serpentine Column, Obelisk and German Fountain. 

 

ISHAKPASA PALACE: This palace is situated on a rocky piton looking over the valley was constructed at the end of the 17. Century A.D. to be used as a summer residence by the vizir and governor of the region Ishak Pasha (Ottoman general).  It is a magnificent synthesis example of Persian, seldjoukide and ottoman architecture. One will admire the dome of the mosque, the harem and the meeting room.  The view at the top of the minaret is seizing a beautiful view.   

 

ISTANBUL: Istanbul is one of the world's most interesting cities.  Its unique history, literally bridging the gap between 'East" and "West", is precisely what attracts tourist to the shores of the Asian Continent.  Across time, Istanbul (or is it Constantinople) has served as the capital of the Byzantine, Roman, and Ottoman Empires: the city's heritage is on display and magnificently preserved.  From its famous mosques and churches (the Blue Mosque, Süleymaniye Cami, and Hagia Sophia), through palaces (The Topkapi and Dolmbahce), and on to the Grand Bazaar, Istanbul is one memorable excursion after another.

 

IZMIR: Izmir is a working city that serves as a convenient base to explore the Aegean coast: many prime archaeological sites are relatively close to Izmir.  The city has limited attractions of its own.

 

KAYMAKLI: the city is situated 15 km to Nevşehir, in the Kaymaklı province. It was built during the 9th - 10th centuries during the period of the spreading of Christianity, as a city of defense and hiding sites. The 8 floors of this underground city are built around a ventilation stack. The ceiling height of rooms on each floor, surrounding a ball, is 2m. The chapels are larger than the rooms and the ceilings are higher.

KALKAN: A fishing village on the Mediterranean, it is known more as a drifting point through its many small coves and beaches to Kas. It is also in close proximity to the important Lycian city of Xanthos where the Harpies Tomb and Xanthium Steele with its 250 lines of Lycian script remain.

KAS: A pleasant resort on the Mediterranean coastline, Kas is known for its Lycian toms and ancient amphitheater. It is also only a short boat ride away from Ulu Burun where a 14th century shipwreck is still being excavated.

KONYA: Alone in the midst of the Anatolian steppe, the Hittites named this place Kuwanna almost 4,000 years ago. Konya was the capital of the Seljuk Empire between 1071 and 1308. Today it is known throughout the world as the home of the Whirling Dervishes. You can visit the Mevlana Museum named for its 13th century founder and the Slender Minaret Medrese.

KUSADASI: Kusadasi is a resort town with great restaurants, good hotels, and pleasant hosts.  Known for its nightlife, Kusadasi is a good place for soaking up the sun and relaxing.  It is the gateway to Ephesus for many cruise lines.

MARMARIS: This lovely resort town located on a peninsula where the Aegean meets the Mediterranean is surrounded by a pine wooded landscape. It has a harbor sheltered with lush foothills and long beaches surround its bay. An important yachting center, both Bodrum and the Greek island of Rhodes are easily accessible by a daily car ferry.

MERSIN: A lively port town on the Mediterranean that abounds with oranges and lemons of the region, Mersin also abounds with archeological treasures. Just a mile from shore is Yumuk Tepe, a huge mound where excavations have revealed remains that date back to the Neolithic Age and an important Hittite town.

MYRA: Situated on the Mediterranean coastline is Myra, an important Lycian city where St. Nicholas served as bishop. A patron saint of children, St. Nicholas is most commonly known today as Santa Claus. You can visit the 11th century Basilica of St. Nicholas, a vast Roman theater and some of the finest Lycian tombs in the region.

MILETUS: Famous for its military might, ancient Miletus had a harbor that could hold 200 warships. The eventual silting of the Meander River put an end to this thriving ancient city. However, its theater, Faustian Baths and Ilyas Bey Mosque still remain.

NEMRUT DAG: the pride of Eastern Turkey, Nemrut Dagi was constructed by Antiochus I who believed he to be the descendent of Apollo. He built for himself an enormous tumulus 7,000 feet above the upper Euphrates with the colossal heads of the ancient gods Apollo, Zeus, Tych and Hercules flanked by a lion and eagle lie scattered at the summit of the mountain.

PAMUKKALE:  Famed for the immense tiers of white limestone which cascade down the hillside, it was once filled with mineral water thought by the ancient Greeks to have healing powers. Nearby the beautiful terraces are the remains of Roman baths, theater and necropolis of the ancient town of Hierapolis.

PERGAMUM: One of the 7 churches of Asia Minor, Paramus was the rival of Ephesus in commerce. Home to the famous physician Galen, Paramus was the city that invented parchment after Egypt cut off the supply of papyrus. Unfortunately, most of the ruins from the Altar of Zeus were taken to Berlin, though the Temple of Trojan, theater and Asclepios still remain.

PERGE: A city of considerable importance during the Hellenistic period, Perge is where St. Paul preached his first sermon. Located inland from the Mediterranean, Perge's ruins are vast, including an agora, theater, stadium and baths. Many of the statues and relics are now housed in Antalya.

PRIENE: This small city from the Hellenistic period which was being part of the confederation of the twelve cities was constructed according to a geometrical plan.  Its hung up site to the mountain is particularly beautiful.  One will notice and admire its theater well preserve, despite of all deteriorations from which it suffered and kept well its Roman and Greek characters.  The temple of Athena and the bouleterion decorated by bull heads sculptures are magnificent. 

 

PRINCE ISLANDS: This is an archipelago which is composed of 7 islands in the Sea of Marmara among which two are uninhabited and the five others are used.  In the Byzantine times these islands were the places of exile for the imperial court. 

 

SARDIS: Situated in Salihli - Manisa province, it is an antique city which served as capital to the Lydian State. Archaeological digs since the 19th century have revealed important works such as the Artemis Temple, gymnasium, stadium, Roman and Byzantine baths. The picture shows a section of the gymnasium.

SIDE: Situated on a peninsula, Side is famous with its magnificent roman theater of 15 000 seats and museum as well as by its beaches.

 

MOSQUE OF SOLIMAN THE MAGNIFICENT: Constructed by Sinan, the most famous architect of Ottoman Empire, this mosque is admirable by its sobriety and purity of its forms was built up between 1550 and 1557.  Its dome that peaks 53 meters from the ground is supported by four columns of porphyry. In the cemetery at the neighbor, you will be able to admire the mausoleums of Sultan Soliman and of his favorite Roxelane

 

SPICE MARKET: Known also under the name of Egyptian Bazaar is situated facing the bridge of Galata, has under its domes the merchants of spices, perfumes and herbalists.  This perfumed and picturesque covered market is one the most attractive places of Istanbul. 

 

ST. SAVIOR IN CHORA CHURCH: This former Byzantine church has the most beautiful mosaics of the 14. Century which are representing the history of the beginning of Christianity and they are here in an exceptional conservation state.  Superb frescos of the church are also very well preserved.

 

ST. SOPHIA: Initially built in 325 A.D.  This basilica was rebuilt under the reign of emperor Justinian who wanted   to make build up the largest and the most beautiful churches of the world.  Two architects worked to build up this monumental church with more than 10.000 workers which were inaugurated in 537 A.D. After the Ottoman conquest this church was transformed into a mosque and then to a museum. 

 

SUMELA MONASTERY: Hung to the hillside of a mountain at the foot of which flows the « Golden River », the monastery appears as in a very good state.   You must climb to visit it.

Sumela was one of the most important monasteries of oriental Church.  Deserted today, the buildings are in poor condition; nevertheless the site remains an astonishing beauty. 

TARSE: the birthplace of St. Paul, Tarsus was also the place where Anthony and Cleopatra met. Much of the ancient city is now buried 15-20 feet below the present city, although a few of the remains can still be seen.

TERMESSOS: Covered by a very dense vegetation in the mountain of 1600 meters of altitude, Termessos is one of the most beautiful antique cities of Turkey.  Its location in the heart of a wild national park makes it  truly magnificent discovery.  Sprinkled of wild flowers, well preserved the ruins count a gymnasium, a theater, houses, an agora… and especially a necropolis with of big rock sarcophagus.

 

TOPKAPI PALACE: In 1478 Sultan Mehmet the Conqueror has decided to make built this residence at the place of ancient acropolis of Byzance.  The palace was living place of the prestigious court of the sultans during four centuries. Soliman the Magnificent is the one who transferred there the Harem which can visited today.

 

You will also been  impressed by the kitchens where could be seen a superb collection porcelain from  China and Japan as well as  especially the treasurer  section conserving  unique jewels of the world and in particularly emeralds. 

TRABZON::Located in Eastern Turkey along the lovely Black Sea Coast, Trabzon was founded in the 7th century BC by Miletian colonists. Much of its eclectic past is still present from the old port dating from the time of Hadrian to city walls erected during the reign of Justinian. Many of its churches were converted to mosques after the Ottoman conquest of the city.

TROY: Troy, with its 4,000 years of history, is one of the most famous archaeological sites in the world. The first excavations at the site were undertaken by the famous archaeologist Heinrich Schliemann in 1870. In scientific terms, its extensive remains are the most significant demonstration of the first contact between the civilizations of Anatolia and the Mediterranean world. Moreover, the siege of Troy by Spartan and Achaean warriors from Greece in the 13th or 12th century B.C., immortalized by Homer in the Iliad, has inspired great creative artists throughout the world ever since.

URFA: Located in Eastern Turkey, Urfa was originally inhabited by the Babylonians. Controlled by the Hittites around 1370 BC, an alliance with Egypt during the reign of Amniotes IV produced a manner of sun worship similar to that of Ra, the sun god.  Today this city is most known as the birthplace of Abraham. A famous mosque complex remains with Abraham's cave.

VAN: Van is on the shores of Lake Van, one of the world's highest lakes at 5,500 feet, and one of the few salt lakes to contain fish. The town was once the Urartian capital of Tupsa. The museum contains Urartian artifacts and Kurdish kilims, as well as the Rock of Van.

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LAST UPDATE: 02.16.15