Top 10 Most Famous Turkey Landmarks Travelers Talk About
Turkey is uniquely positioned partially in the corner of Europe and more predominantly in Asia. The country has played home to numerous important civilizations since the Paleolithic era, and in the centuries that have followed, important empires and ancient cities have come and gone in the region. Today, many visitors come to the area to enjoy the country’s historical and religious significance, taking advantage of both through visiting some of the most famous landmarks in Turkey. We’ve put together a list of the best ten of them from past visitors who have combed the country for the most breathtaking sites and places to visit.
1.Topkapi Palace: In Istanbul can be found the primary residence to Ottoman sultans for a large majority of their over six hundred year reign. The building itself is magnificent and as opulent as any palace in the region, but what draws guests here is perhaps more likely the colorful past of the sultans who called it home, such as one who drowned following the consumption of far too much wine. Guests can tour the various courts and rooms of the palace including the harem, which does require a special purchased ticket. The highlight of this royal selection amongst Turkey landmarks however is a stop at the treasury, where a wealth of exquisite artifacts can be found.
2. Hagia Sophia: Known also as The Church of the Holy Wisdom, the iconic religious structure situated in Turkey has worn many hats in terms of purpose over it’s long life. Hagia Sophia history includes its initial use as a Byzantine Church, which was followed by its use as an Ottoman Mosque. Today it stands as neither, instead functioning rather as a museum for guests to enjoy. The former church is one of the most recognizable of all Turkey landmarks both for its size and beauty, but also it’s interesting past. Aside from the structure’s multiple uses, the current standing building is the third holy structure in its line, with the previous two being completely destroyed (although some remnants are still found today).
2. Blue Mosque Istanbul:The stunning Blue Mosque complete with iconic domes and delicate, pointed minarets was actually constructed in the 17th century in a bid to outdo our number one selection amongst Turkey landmarks. Sultan Ahmet desired an Islamic place of worship that would be superior to The Church of the Holy Wisdom, and the two complexes can be found right next to each other. This provides a unique opportunity for guests to determine for themselves if Sultan Ahmet was successful in his endeavors.
4. Dolmabahce Palace: Serving a similar function to the Blue Mosque, Dolmabahce also was built to replace or better existing Turkey landmarks. Sultan Abdul Mecid I constructed the 19th century palace to provide a residence instead of Topkapi. The structure was built to both impress onlookers and serve as a pleasure palace, and guests can enjoy guided tours of the immaculate grounds, lavish buildings, harem and numerous pleasure pavilions found in the complex. One interesting note about Dolmabahce, all the clocks have been stopped at 9:05 a.m. to mark the moment that Kemal Ataturk died here in 1938.
5. Pamukkale: South of Istanbul can be found a natural feature that the Romans capitalized on for healing and restorative properties. Calcium rich waters were thought to provide health benefits to people bathing in them. The pools are framed by stunning, natural travertine formations and stalactites, making for a unique environment. These natural Turkey landmarks at one time played host to spas and hotels, but these were ruined quickly due to the soft and unstable nature of the landscape. Now a World Heritage Site, guests from all over the world come to see the unique formations and small pools found within them.
6. Bodrum Castle: In the city of Bodrum a little ways south of the calcium pools can be found a massive castle that overlooks the harbor. Also known as St. Peter Castle, this year 1402 structure was built by the Knights Hospitaller and faced a tumultuous history, leaving many pieces of the building and the artifacts it held scattered all over the world and even incorporated into its continual construction. Today there are many exhibits for guests to enjoy within the castle, and it’s position perched atop a cliff make it one of the most popular Turkey landmarks for the stunning views it affords.
7. Nimrud Dagi: Southeast Turkey is home to a mountain that may not look different from other mountains, but its summit holds a secret in the form of massive, thirty foot high statues that are thought to be related to a mausoleum and sanctuary for King Antiochus. Constructed purportedly in the first century B.C., the mountaintop is likely one of the oldest Turkey landmarks in existence. Here guests can enjoy monuments to King Antiochus as well as lions and eagles, too. Interestingly enough, while the area is assumed to hold the tomb of the king who ordered its construction, the actual tomb has yet to be uncovered despite numerous excavations.
8. Ephesus Ruins: Ephesus is a former great Greek city and is located along the Aegean coast, where it draws thousands upon thousands of guests each year, many of them from cruise ships. Like many Turkey landmarks, this one holds religious significance as well and is not just a ruined city. The site is associated heavily with Christianity and figures like The Virgin Mary. But, even guests not drawn to Ephesus as part of their spiritual journey will no doubt be in awe over the preserved houses, structures, theater and more that can be found here.
9. Cappadocia: Ten meters thick soft rock called tuff that resulted from underground volcanic eruptions laid the framework for the cliffside city, Cappadocia. Here, an intricate system of underground tunnels and built in buildings shock and impress people on Cappadocia Tours. The ancient city is a perfect example of how natural forces like erosion combined with human ingenuity can make for a one of a kind environment and in turn, one of the most well known of all Turkey landmarks. Although the Goreme Open Air Museum allows guests to explore the area and the many museums and stops along the way here at Cappadocia, it’s important for travelers to remember that not every building here now serves as a historical artifact. Some of the structures are still people’s homes and several have been converted to hotels.
10. Alanya: Although today considered a touristy, cosmopolitan beach city, the city of Alanya has served as an important stronghold for the country of Turkey for centuries due to its seaside location. As a result, guests can get the best of both worlds here, enjoying both luxurious Alanya Turkey hotels as well as some of the rich history found in the area. Notable Turkey landmarks found in Alanya include the Red Tower, the shipyard and the city’s castle.