19 Things and Places To See in Turkey

Here are the top places to visit and things to do in Turkey.


Ankara is the capital city of Turkey and the second largest city in the country after Istanbul. During World War II the city territory was changed to a large extent. To organize the home front and concentrate industrial and material resources, the residential stock was compressed to arrange accommodation for 26,000 persons evacuated. Alma-Ata hosted over 30 industrial facilities from the front areas, 8 evacuated hospitals, 15 institutes, universities and technical schools, around 20 cultural institutions, etc. Motion picture production companies from Leningrad, Kiev and Moscow were also evacuated to Alma-Ata.

Ankara is home to the Anıtkabir, situated on an imposing hill in the Anittepe quarter of the city, it is the mausoleum of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the founder of the Republic of Turkey, completed in 1953.


Istanbul is located on both sides of the Bosphorus, the narrow strait between the Black Sea and the Marmara Sea, Istanbul bridges Asia and Europe both physically and culturally.

However, the history of Istanbul generally begins around 660 BCE, when the settlers from Megara, under the command of King Byzas, established Byzantion on the European side of the Bosphorus. By the end of the century, an acropolis was established at the former locations of Lygos and Semistra, on the Seraglio Point. The city experienced a brief period of Persian rule at the turn of the 5th century BC, but the Greeks recaptured it during the Greco-Persian Wars.

Apart from being the largest city and former political capital of the country, Istanbul has always been the centre of Turkey's economic life because of its location as a junction of international land and sea trade routes. Istanbul is also Turkey's largest industrial centre. It employs approximately 20% of Turkey's industrial labour and contributes 38% of Turkey's industrial workspace.

It is popular to travellers because of the Hagia Sophia, a former Orthodox patriarchal basilica, later a mosque, and now a museum in Istanbul, Turkey. From the date of its dedication in 360 until 1453, it served as the Greek Patriarchal cathedral of Constantinople, except between 1204 and 1261, when it was converted to a Roman Catholic cathedral under the Latin Patriarch of Constantinople of the Western Crusader established Latin Empire.


Antalya is a city on the Mediterranean coast of southwestern Turkey. It is uncertain when the site of the current city was first inhabited. Attalos II, king of Pergamon, was believed to have founded the city around 150 BC, naming it Attalia and selecting it as a naval base for his powerful fleet. However, excavations in 2008 in the Doğu Garajı district of Antalya have uncovered remains dating to the 3rd century BC, suggesting that the city was founded earlier than previously supposed. Antalya became part of the Roman Republic in 133 BC when King Attalos III of Pergamon willed his kingdom to Rome at his death. The city grew and prospered during the Ancient Roman period.

It was the world's fourth most visited city by number of international arrivals in 2010 and had a population of 1,001,318. Antalya is the eighth most populous city in Turkey and country's biggest international sea resort.

It is known to travellers for the Hıdırlık Tower, is a landmark tower of tawny stone in Antalya, Turkey, where Kaleiçi meets Karaalioglu Park.


Safranbolu is a town and district of Karabük Province in the Black Sea region of Turkey. Safranbolu was added to the list of UNESCO World Heritage sites in 1994 due to its well-preserved Ottoman era houses and architecture.

The Old Town preserves many old buildings, with 1008 registered historical artifacts. It has a private museum, 25 mosques, 5 tombs, 8 historical fountains, 5 Turkish baths, 3 caravanserais, 1 historical clock tower, 1 sundial and hundreds of houses and mansions.


Pergamum was an ancient Greek city in modern-day Turkey, in Mysia.  

Pergamum is home to The Hellenistic Theatre. The theatre with a seating capacity of 10,000 has the steepest seating of any known theatre in the ancient world.


Bodrum is a town on the southern Aegean coast of Turkey, popular with tourists from all over the world. The first recorded settlers in Bodrum region were the Carians and the harbor area was colonized by Dorian Greeks as of the 7th century BC. The city later fell under Persian rule. Under the Persians, it was the capital city of the satrapy of Caria, the region that had since long constituted its hinterland and of which it was the principal port. Its strategic location ensured that the city enjoyed considerable autonomy.
Bodrum was built by the Knights Hospitaller starting in 1402 as the Castle of St. Peter or Petronium.


Edirne is a city in Eastern Thrace, in northwest Turkey. Edirne was briefly occupied by imperial Russian troops in 1829, during the Greek War of Independence; and in 1878, during the Russo-Turkish War of 1877-1878. The city suffered greatly in 1905 from a conflagration. In 1905 it had about 80,000 inhabitants, of whom 30,000 were Muslims, 22,000 Greeks, 10,000 Bulgarians, 4,000 Armenians, 12,000 Jews, and 2,000 more citizens of non-classifiable ethnic/religious backgrounds.

Edirne's economy largely depends on agriculture. 73% of the working population work in agriculture, fishing, forests, hunting. There are lots of things that are cultivated here. Its lowlands are productive. The field crop cultivation has developed so much here.

It is known to travellers for the Selimiye Mosque, that mosque which dominates the skyline of the city, built on a slightly higher hill than its surroundings, although a play on dimensions makes the exterior sight of the building smaller as you get closer to it.


Gallipoli is a peninsula locality in north-western Turkey, close to Istanbul. Gallipoli did not experience any more wars until World War I, when British and colonial forces attacked the peninsula in 1915, seeking to secure a route to relieve their ally Imperial Russia in the east. The Ottomans set up defensive fortifications along the peninsula and the attackers were eventually repulsed.
There are three main battlefield areas - Cape Helles, Anzac / Pine Ridge and Suvla Bay which has fewer places to visit. Depending on how detailed your itinerary is, it would be possible to visit the main sites of interest, particularly around Cape Helles and Anzac/Pine Ridge, in a single day.


Izmir is a rapidly growing city on the Central Aegean coast of Turkey. The city is one of the oldest settlements of the Mediterranean basin. The 2004 discovery of Yeşilova Höyük and the neighboring Yassıtepe, situated in the small delta of Meles River, now the plain of Bornova, reset the starting date of the city's past further back than was previously thought. The findings of the two seasons of excavations carried out in the Yeşilova Höyük by a team of archaeologists from İzmir's Ege University indicate three levels, two of which are prehistoric.

Trade through the city's port had a determinant importance for the economy of the Ottoman Empire as of the beginning of the 19th century and the economic foundations of the early decades of Turkey's Republican era were also laid here in İzmir Economic Congress. Presently, İzmir area's economy is divided in value between various types of activity as follows: 30.5 % for industry, 22.9 % for trade and related services, 13.5 % for transportation and communication and 7.8 % for agriculture.

Most tourist travel to Izmir to see the Konak Square, the main square of the city center, famous for the clock tower, one of the unique smybols of Izmir. The clock tower was built in 1901. There are also Konak Yali Mosque and Kemeraltı Bazaar located around the square.


Ephesus is a large archaeological site in Aegean Turkey and one of the country's major tourist attractions. Ephesus, a territory that was traditionally Greek to the core, became subject of the Roman Republic. The city felt at once the Roman influence. Taxes rose considerably, and the treasures of the city were systematically plundered. In 88 BC Ephesus welcomed Archelaus, a general of Mithridates the Great, king of Pontus, when he conquered Asia. This led to the Asiatic Vespers, the slaughter of 80,000 Roman citizens in Asia, or any person who spoke with a Latin accent. Many had lived in Ephesus.
Most travellers go to Ephesus to see the Library of Celsus, an ancient Roman building in Ephesus, Anatolia, and now part of Selçuk, Turkey. It was built in honor of the Roman Senator Tiberius Julius Celsus Polemaeanus by Celsus’ son, Gaius Julius Aquila.


Konya is a city in the Central Anatolia Region of Turkey. Konya, also spelled in some historic English texts as Konia or Koniah, was known in classical antiquity and during the medieval period as Iconium in Latin, and Ἰκόνιον (Ikónion) in Greek. The name Konya is a cognate of icon, as an ancient Greek legend ascribed its name to the "eikon", or the "gorgon's head", with which Perseus vanquished the native population before founding the city.
It is known to travellers for the Mevlana Museum or the Mausoleum of Rumi, This must see tourist destination of Konya, is the tomb of the famous mystic/sufi/thinker Rumi, as well as the neighbouring museum that displays relics of his life and his time.


Ölüdeniz is a town near Fethiye in Turkey. Ölüdeniz is famous for its 'Blue Lagoon'. Blue Lagoon, Known in Turkish literally as "dead sea" because of the stillness of the water, the lagoon is a nature preserve.


Ani is a ruined and uninhabited medieval Armenian city-site situated in the Turkish province of Kars, near the border with Armenia.
Armenian chroniclers such as Yeghishe and Ghazar Parpetsi first mentioned Ani in the 5th century AD. They described it as a strong fortress built on a hilltop and a possession of the Armenian Kamsarakan dynasty. The city took its name from the Armenian fortress-city and pagan center of Ani-Kamakh located in the region of Daranaghi in Upper Armenia.
Ani is home to the Ani Cathedral, Church of Ashot, church of the Holy Apostles, Karst Cave Village and Virgins' Chapel.


Cappadocia is an area in Central Anatolia in Turkey. Cappadocia was known as Hatti in the late Bronze Age, and was the homeland of the Hittite power centred at Hattusa. After the fall of the Hittite Empire, with the decline of the Syro-Cappadocians (Mushki) after their defeat by the Lydian king Croesus in the 6th century, Cappadocia was ruled by a sort of feudal aristocracy, dwelling in strong castles and keeping the peasants in a servile condition, which later made them apt for foreign slavery.
Cappadocia is known to travellers for the Underground cities, Old greek houses in Sinasos, Göreme Open Air Museum, Cavusin, Mustafapaşa, Ihlara Canyon, Dark Church in Goreme Open Air Museum, Zelve Open Air Museum and Gümüşler Monastery.

Mount Nemrut


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