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Renowned as one of the most beautiful buildings in the world,
the spellbinding Byzantine glory of the Aya Sofya Museum (Hagia
Sophia) is not only Istanbul's top sightseeing attraction, but
also one of the top sites in Turkey. The staggering bulk of its
exterior is rimmed by the delicate minarets added after the
Ottoman conquest while the sumptuous and cavernous frescoed
interior is a grand reminder of old Constantinople's might and
Turkey is awash with ancient cities, making it tough to select
just one for this list. However, the most popular of these
attractions is Ephesus near modern Selcuk. It contains some of
the best preserved Greek and Roman ruins in the world and
remains a well-trodden part of the tourist trail from nearby
resorts such as Kusadasi and Izmir. Some of the most impressive
attractions at Ephesus include the Library of Celsus, the Temple
of Hadrian and the ancient theatre. Many visitors will explore
this city in combination tours with Miletus, Didyma and Priene.
Among the most intriguing and fascinating tourist attractions of
Turkey are the underground cities of Cappadocia. Built over a
period spanning hundreds of years, the area now includes several
such complexes many of which are now open to the public. The
main tourist locations are the underground cities of Kaymakli,
Derinkuyu, Ozkonak, Mazi and Urgup.
The fifteenth century former residence of the
Ottoman Sultans, the Topkapı Palace in Istanbul is a huge,
ornate palatial compound which was a focal point of Istanbul’s
social and political life for hundreds of years. A UNESCO World
Heritage site, visitors flock through its gates to see its
Ottoman architecture, courtyards and famous Muslim and Christian
relics. A must see sight, it consistently ranks among the top
attractions in Turkey.
Pamukkale (means cotton castle) is located
inland southeastern Aegean Turkey. These are a set of bizarre
calcium cliff and bathing pools that is so beautiful. When you
access there, you have to remove your shoes due to pollution
control. In summer is quite hot, then don’t forget to bring your
hat and sunglasses as well.
The monastery was founded in AD 386 during
the reign of the Emperor Theodosius I (375 - 395), According
to William Miller, Barnabas and Sophronios, two Athenian monks,
founded the monastery. It became famous for an icon of the
Virgin Mary known as the Panagia Gorgoepekoos, said to have been
painted by the Apostle Luke. During its long history, the
monastery fell into ruin several times and was restored by
various emperors. During the 6th century, it was restored and
enlarged by General Belisarius at the behest of Justinian.
Nemrut or Nemrud (Turkish: Nemrut Dağı ) is a
2,134 m (7,001 ft) high mountain in southeastern Turkey, notable
for the summit where a number of large statues are erected
around what is assumed to be a royal tomb from the 1st century
BC. The name is a relatively modern one, dating back to the
Middle Ages. In Armenian legend, Hayk defeated the Biblical king
Nimrod (equated with Bel) and buried him in these mountains. The
conquering Arabs gave many ancient ruins they encountered the
name Nimrud, including the famous Assyrian capital.
Pergamon or Pergamum was an ancient Greek
city in Aeolis, currently located 26 kilometres (16 mi) from the
Aegean Sea on a promontory on the north side of the river Caicus
(modern-day Bakırcay). Today, the main sites of ancient Pergamon
are to the north and west of the modern city of Bergama in
Turkey. Some ancient authors regarded it as a colony of the
Arcadians, but the various origin stories all belong to legend.
The Greek historians reconstructed a complete history for it due
to confusion with the distant Teuthrania. It became the capital
of the Kingdom of Pergamon during the Hellenistic period, under
the Attalid dynasty, 281–133 BC. Pergamon is cited in the Book
of Revelation as one of the seven churches of Asia.
Hidden away in hill country, Safranbolu
boasts a glorious collection of old Ottoman houses so
beautifully preserved that it qualifies as a Unesco World
Heritage site, on a par with Florence. It's a place to slow down
and enjoy ambling along narrow cobbled lanes, observing
traditional trades and crafts practised just as they were in
Ottoman times. During the 17th century, the main Ottoman trade
route between Gerede and the Black Sea coast passed through
Safranbolu, bringing commerce, prominence and money to the town.
During the 18th and 19th centuries Safranbolu's wealthy
inhabitants built mansions of sun-dried mud bricks, wood and
stucco, while the larger population of prosperous artisans built
less impressive but similarly sturdy homes. Safranbolu owes its
fame to the large numbers of these dwellings that have survived.