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A mesmerizing mix of the exotic and the familiar, Turkey is much more than its clichéd image of a “bridge between East and West”. Invaded and settled from every direction since the start of recorded history, it combines influences from the Middle East and the Mediterranean, the Balkans and Central Asia. Mosques coexist with churches, Roman theatres and temples crumble near ancient Hittite cities, and dervish ceremonies and gypsy festivals are as much a part of the social landscape as classical music concerts or football matches.
The friendliness of the Turkish people makes visiting a pleasure; indeed you risk causing offence by declining invitations, and find yourself making friends through the simplest of transactions. At the big resorts and tourist spots, of course, this can merely be an excuse to sell you something, but elsewhere, despite a history in which outsiders have so often brought trouble, the warmth and generosity are genuine.
Politically, modern Turkey was a grand experiment, largely the creation of one man – Kemal Atatürk. With superhuman energy, he salvaged the Turkish state from the wreckage of the Ottoman Empire and defined it as a modern, secular nation. Following 2011’s record-breaking third successive election victory by the AKP (Justice and Development Party), largely supported by conservative Muslims, some secular Turks fear an Iranian-style Islamic theocracy. This seems most unlikely, however, in a country that has been a multi-party democracy for over sixty years, and successfully blended secularism, parliamentary democracy and global capitalism with Islam.
Despite official efforts to enforce a uniform Turkish identity, the population is remarkably heterogeneous. When the Ottoman Empire imploded, refugees streamed into Anatolia, including Muslim Slavs, Greeks, Albanians, Crimean Tatars, Daghestanlis, Abkhazians and Circassians. There they joined an already mixed population that included a very sizeable minority of Kurds. Thanks to recent arrivals from former Soviet or Eastern Bloc territories, that diversity endures. Another surprise may be Turkey’s sheer youthfulness: more than half the population is under thirty, with legions of young people working in coastal resorts, and shoals of schoolkids surging through the city streets.
A huge part of Turkey’s appeal lies in its archeological sites, a legacy of the bewildering succession of states – Hittite, Urartian, Phrygian, Greek, Hellenistic, Roman, Byzantine, Armeno-Georgian – that held sway here before the twelfth century. From grand Classical cities to hilltop fortresses and remote churches, some still produce exciting new finds today. In addition, Turkey holds a vast number of graceful Islamic monuments, as well as intriguing city bazaars, still hanging on amid the chain stores and shopping malls. Sadly, ugly modern architecture spoils most coastal resorts, where it’s often hard to find a beach that matches the tourist-board hype. Inland Turkey, with its Asiatic expanses of mountain, steppe, lake, and even cloud-forest, may leave a more vivid memory, especially when accented by some crumbling kervansaray, mosque or castle.
Let’s discover top 27 Destinations to Go when Traveling to Turkey with us:
Istanbul is the largest city in Turkey, constituting the country’s economic, cultural, and historical heart. Istanbul is a transcontinental city in Eurasia, with its commercial and historical centre lying on the European side and about a third of its population living on the Asian side of Eurasia.
Antalya, is a city on the Mediterranean coast of southwestern Turkey. It is Turkey’s biggest international sea resort, located on the Turkish Riviera. In 2011 the city had a population of 964,886 and the metropolitan municipality 1,041,972.
İzmir is a large metropolis in the western extremity of Anatolia and the third most populous city in Turkey, after Istanbul and Ankara.
Marmaris is a port town and tourist resort on the Mediterranean coast, located in Muğla Province, southwest Turkey, along the shoreline of the Turkish Riviera. Marmaris’ main source of income is tourism.
Bodrum is a district and a port city in Muğla Province, in the southwestern Aegean Region of Turkey. It is located on the southern coast of Bodrum Peninsula, at a point that checks the entry into the Gulf of Gökova, and is also the center of the eponymous district. The city was called Halicarnassus of Caria in ancient times and was famous for housing the Mausoleum of Mausolus, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. Bodrum Castle, built by the Knights Hospitaller in the 15th century, overlooks the harbour and the marina. The castle grounds include a Museum of Underwater Archaeology and hosts several cultural festivals throughout the year.
Kuşadası is a resort town on Turkey’s Aegean coast and the center of the seaside district of the same name in Aydın Province. Kuşadası lies at a distance of 95 km (59 mi) to the south from the region’s largest metropolitan center of İzmir, and 71 km (44 mi) from the provincial seat of Aydın situated inland. Its primary industry is tourism.
Ankara is the capital of Turkey and the country’s second largest city, Istanbul being the largest. Ankara is a very old city with various Hittite, Phrygian, Hellenistic, Roman, Byzantine, and Ottoman archaeological sites. The hill which overlooks the city is crowned by the ruins of the old castle, which adds to the picturesqueness of the view, but only a few historic structures surrounding the old citadel have survived to the present day. There are, however, many well-preserved remains of Ottoman and Roman architecture, the most remarkable being the Temple of Augustus and Rome (20 BC) which is also known as the Monumentum Ancyranum.
Alanya is a beach resort city and a component district of Antalya Province in the Mediterranean Region of Turkey, 138 kilometres (86 mi) east of the city of Antalya. The Mediterranean climate, natural attractions, and historic heritage makes Alanya a popular destination for tourism, and responsible for nine percent of Turkey’s tourism sector and thirty percent of foreign purchases of real estate in Turkey. Tourism has risen since 1958 to become the dominant industry in the city, resulting in a corresponding increase in city population. Warm-weather sporting events and cultural festivals take place annually in Alanya.
Side is an ancient Greek city on the southern Mediterranean coast of Turkey, a resort town and one of the best-known classical sites in the country. It lies near Manavgat and the village of Selimiye, 78 km from Antalya in the province of Antalya.
Bursa or Prousa is a large city in Turkey, located in northwestern Anatolia, within the Marmara Region. It is the fourth most populous city in Turkey and one of the most industrialized metropolitan centers in the country.
Kemer is a seaside resort and district of Antalya Province on the Mediterranean coast of Turkey, 40 km (25 mi) west of the city of Antalya, on the Turkish Riviera. Kemer is on the Gulf of Antalya, 53 km (33 mi) of sea coast with the skirts of the western Taurus Mountains behind. The coast has the typical Mediterranean hot, dry weather and warm sea.
Fethiye is one of Turkey’s well-known tourist centres and is especially popular during the summer.Apart from its climate and natural beauty, the Britons are attracted by its less expensive lifestyle and the hospitality of the local people. The Fethiye Museum, which is very rich in ancient and more recent artifacts, displays and testifies to the successive chain of civilizations that existed in the area, starting with the ancient Lycians. Fethiye is also home to the Tomb of Amyntas, a large and beautiful tomb built in 350 BC by the Lycians. What makes this tomb very unique is its massive size and beautiful carvings.
Some of the other historical sites worth visiting are: Kadyanda Ancient City, Kayakoy- old Greek town, Afkule, Gemiler and Aya Nikola. Most popular touristic towns of Fethiye are: Oludeniz, Calis Beach area, Hisaronu and Ovacik.
Belek is a township with own municipality in Serik district in Turkey’s Antalya Province. The local population varies between 750 and 10,000 in low and high season, respectively. Belek is one of the centers of Turkey’s tourism industry and is as such home to more than thirty four-star and five-star hotels and many other accommodation, services and entertainment facilities.
Ölüdeniz is a small village and beach resort in the Fethiye district of Muğla Province, on the Turquoise Coast of southwestern Turkey, at the conjunction point of the Aegean and Mediterranean seas. Ölüdeniz remains one of the most photographed beaches on the Mediterranean. It has a secluded sandy bay at the mouth of Ölüdeniz, on a blue lagoon. The beach itself is a pebble beach. The lagoon is a national nature reserve and construction is strictly prohibited.The seawater of Ölüdeniz is famous for its shades of turquoise and aquamarine, while its beach is an official Blue Flag beach, frequently rated among the top 5 beaches in the world by travelers and tourism journals alike.
Kaş is a small fishing, diving, yachting and tourist town, and a district of Antalya Province of Turkey, 168 km west of the city of Antalya. As a tourist town it is relatively unspoilt. The tourist industry is centred on the pleasant town of Kaş, but many other coastal towns and villages in the district have plenty of accommodation for visitors including Kalkan and Gelemiş.
Kaş itself is a quiet pleasant town with its blue sea and narrow streets scented with jasmine flowers. There are plenty of little guest houses, quiet cafes serving home cooking, or small bars to relax after a day’s scuba diving. Kaş has an annual arts festival, jazz concerts in the Hellenistic theatre and the Kiln Under the Sea arts collective have held underwater ceramics exhibitions here.
Kaş is one of the leading spots for scuba diving in Turkey. There are more than 15 dive centers and diving schools, mostly located at the local port. They offer guided diving trips to the 50 dive spots in the vicinity. Diving in Kaş offers beautiful array of fish and other sea creatures like octopus and sea turtles. Besides the biological diversity, Kaş offers a vast variety of underwater cultural heritage.
Trabzon is a city on the Black Sea coast of north-eastern Turkey and the capital of Trabzon Province. Trabzon, located on the historical Silk Road, became a melting pot of religions, languages and culture for centuries and a trade gateway to Iran in the southeast and the Caucasus to the northeast.
Dalyan is a town in Muğla Province located between the well-known districts of Marmaris and Fethiye on the south-west coast of Turkey. The town is an independent municipality, within the administrative district of Ortaca. Above the river’s sheer cliffs are the weathered façades of Lycian tombs cut from rock, circa 400 BC. The ruins of the ancient trading city of Kaunos are a short boat trip across the river. The south of Dalyan on the Mediterranean coast, lies İztuzu Beach, near the village of the same name is a popular area for sunbathing and swimming.
Kayseri is a large and industrialized city in Central Anatolia, Turkey. The city is rich in historical monuments, dating especially from the Seljuk period. While it is generally visited en route to the international tourist attractions of Cappadocia, Kayseri has many visitor’s attractions by its own right: Seljuk and Ottoman era monuments in and around the city center, Mount Erciyes as a trekking and alpinism center, Zamantı River as a rafting center, the historic sites of Kültepe, Ağırnas, Talas and Develi, to name a few.
Adana lies in the heart of Çukurova, a geographical, economical and cultural region that covers the provinces of Mersin, Adana, Osmaniye, and Hatay. Home to approximately six million people, the region is mostly a large stretch of flat, fertile land regarded as one of the most agriculturally productive areas of the world.
Konya is a city in the Central Anatolia Region of Turkey. It is the seventh most populous city in Turkey. Konya was historically the capital of the Anatolian Seljuk Sultanate and the Karamanids. The Neolithic settlement of Çatalhöyük in Konya Province was inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2012.
Mersin is a large city and a port on the Mediterranean coast of southern Turkey. It is part of an interurban agglomeration – the Adana-Mersin Metropolitan Area – and lies on the western part of Çukurova, a geographical, economical, and cultural region.
Didim is a small town, popular seaside holiday resort, and district of Aydın Province on the Aegean coast of western Turkey. This coast has become a very popular holiday resort, known for its long sandy beaches, clear blue sea, ancient ruins, and its own microclimate, benefiting from hundreds of days of sun annually and warm winters, allowing residents to use the beaches and engage in watersports even in January.
Çeşme is a coastal town and the administrative center of the district of the same name in Turkey’s westernmost end, on a promontory on the tip of the peninsula which also carries the same name and which extends inland to form a whole with the wider Karaburun Peninsula. It is a popular holiday resort and the district center, where two thirds of the district population is concentrated.
Gaziantep, previously and still informally called Antep, is a city in southeast Turkey and among the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world. The city is located 185 kilometres (115 mi) east of Adana and 97 kilometres (60 mi) north of Aleppo, Syria. The city has two urban districts under its administration, Şahinbey and Şehitkamil.
Göreme located among the “fairy chimney” rock formations, is a town in Cappadocia, a historical region of Turkey. Here, The Göreme National Park (Göreme Milli Parklar in Turkish) was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1985.
Kalkan is a town on the Turkish Mediterranean coast, and an important tourist destination. The area includes many historical sites (such as Tlos and Kekova) and many fine beaches (including Patara Beach & Kaputaş Beach). Kalkan is an old fishing town, and the only safe harbour between Kaş and Fethiye; it is famous for its white-washed houses, descending to the sea, and its brightly coloured bougainvilleas.
Cappadocia is a historical region in Central Anatolia, largely in the Nevşehir, Kayseri, Aksaray, and Niğde Provinces in Turkey.The area is a popular tourist destination, as it has many areas with unique geological, historic, and cultural features.
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