Turkey is unusual in that it is a fusion of both east and west. Part of it is in Europe and part in Asia, and the two sections are divided by the Bosphorus, a body of water which stretches from the Sea of Marmara to the Black Sea. This fusion is reflected in its culture and way of life, at least in Istanbul and the coastal areas.
Most visitors to the country holiday in the coastal regions which are famous for their beautiful beaches and crystal clear blue seas, but many visit the wonderful city of Istanbul. This city has some amazing places to visit including Hagia Sophia, which was first a church, then a mosque and now a museum and a masterpiece of both Christianity and Islam. The Blue Mosque is another must see, with its wonderful blue tiles. On summer evenings there is a light show and historical narrative in the grounds of the Blue Mosque. The Topkapi Palace with its harem, treasury and fabulous view over the Bosphorus, and which was once the home of the Sultan, should not be missed.However, Istanbul, though amazing, is not the only place to visit in Turkey. It also has the aforementioned holiday destinations like Olu Deniz, Altinkum and Bodrum, a rich culture, and wonderful places of historic interest.
Turkey’s coastal towns are extremely popular holiday destinations, and it’s no wonder; most have beaches with golden sands and blue seas. In addition, there’s always lots to do, from water parks to water sports, and from safari tours to shopping. Olu Deniz has its famous Blue Lagoon, while Altinkum is graced by the Temple of Apollo, and Patara Beach, while spectacular in itself, is the place where sea turtles go to lay their eggs.
Because of Turkey’s turbulent past, it is a repository for many historic sites from several different civilizations. Some of the most obvious are those from the Roman Empire, and chief among these is Ephesus, which features the Temple of Artemis (one of the Seven Wonders of the ancient world) and the Library of Celsus. Others are Pergamon, Sardis, and Aspendos.
Pamukkale (cotton castle) has to be seen too. Its white terraces were formed by minerals from the waters of 17 hot springs which still flow today, and where visitors can go into the water to experience the true wonder of the place.
Turkey is full of amazing places and Goreme in Cappadocia is definitely one of them. The rock formations known as ‘fairy chimneys’ are a very unusual sight!
Of course, there are areas in Turkey that holidaymakers seldom see, especially in the east of the country. However some make it as far as Konya, which lies about 247 kilometres south of Ankara, which is the capital of Turkey. Konya is a religiously conservative city and is home to the famous Whirling Dervishes.
The other activity most people enjoy when on holiday is shopping, and Turkey is a great place for this; from the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul to village markets you can shop till you drop!
When you finally pause after swimming, sightseeing and shopping, why not stop at a little café bar for an Efes beer or a glass of Turkish tea to relax and reflect on a lovely day?
So, from this taster, you can tell that Turkey has much to offer, and definitely something for everyone. Turkey is a very large country and it is impossible to see even a fraction of it in one visit, which is a very good reason to go back again and again!