Top Ten Turkish Attractions

 Top Ten Turkish Attractions

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       Turkey is a Eurasian country located 97% in Asia (mostly in the Anatolian peninsula) and 3% in East Thrace in Europe. Turkey is bordered by eight countries: Bulgaria to the northwest; Greece to the west; Georgia to the northeast; Armenia, Azerbaijan (the exclave of Nakhchivan) and Iran to the east; and Iraq and Syria to the southeast. The Mediterranean Sea and Cyprus are to the south; the Aegean Sea to the west; and the Black Sea is to the north. The Sea of Marmara, the Bosphorus and the Dardanelles (which together form the Turkish Straits) demarcate the boundary between East Thrace and Anatolia; they also separate Europe and Asia. Turkey is one of the six independent Turkic states. The vast majority of the population are Muslims. The country’s official language is Turkish, whereas Kurdish and Zazaki languages are spoken by Kurds and Zazas, who comprise 18% of the population. Turks began migrating into the area now called Turkey(derived from the Medieval Latin Turchia, “Land of the Turks”) in the 11th century. The process was greatly accelerated by the Seljuk victory over the Byzantine Empire at the Battle of Manzikert. Several small beyliks and the Seljuk Sultanate of Rûm ruled Anatolia until the Mongol Empire’s invasion. Starting from the 13th century, the Ottoman beylik united Anatolia and created an empire encompassing much of Southeastern Europe, Western Asia and North Africa. After the Ottoman Empire collapsed following its defeat in WWI, parts of it were occupied by the victorious Allies. A cadre of young military officers, led by Mustafa Kemal Atatürk and his colleagues, organized a successful resistance to the Allies; in 1923, they would establish the modern Republic of Turkey with Atatürk as its first president. Turkey is a democratic, secular, unitary, constitutional republic with an ancient cultural heritage. Turkey has become increasingly integrated with the West through membership in organizations such as the Council of Europe, NATO, OECD, OSCE and the G-20 major economies. Turkey has also fostered close cultural, political, economic and industrial relations with the Middle East, the Turkic states of Central Asia and the African countries through membership in organizations such as the Turkic Council, Joint Administration of Turkic Arts and Culture, Organization of Islamic Cooperation and the Economic Cooperation Organization. Turkey’s location at the crossroads of Europe and Asia makes it a country of significant geostrategic importance. Given its strategic location, large economy and military strength, Turkey is a major regional power.

  1. Historic Areas of Istanbul
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           Istanbul, also known as Byzantium and Constantinople, is the largest city of Turkey. According to the address-based birth recording system of the Turkish Statistical Institute, the metropolitan municipality (province) of the city had a population of 13.26 million as of 2010, which is 17.98% of Turkey’s population and the largest in Europe. Istanbul is a megacity, as well as the cultural, economic, and financial center of Turkey. It is located on the Bosphorus Strait and encompasses the natural harbor known as the Golden Horn, in the northwest of the country. It extends both on the European (Thrace) and on the Asian (Anatolia) sides of the Bosphorus, and is thereby the only metropolis in the world that is situated on two continents. During its long history, Istanbul has served as the capital of the Roman Empire (330–395), the Eastern Roman (Byzantine) Empire (395–1204 and 1261–1453), the Latin Empire (1204–1261), and the Ottoman Empire (1453–1922). When the Republic of Turkey was proclaimed on October 29, 1923, Ankara, which had previously served as the headquarters of the Turkish national movement during the Turkish War of Independence, was chosen as the new Turkish State’s capital. Istanbul is currently bidding to host the 2020 Summer Olympics. The city covers 39 districts of the Istanbul province.
    Links: Cities, Top Ten Medieval Wondershttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Istanbul,
  2. Hagia Sophia
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           Hagia Sophia, “Holy Wisdom,” is 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 cathedral of Constantinople, except between 1204 and 1261, when it was the cathedral of the Latin empire. The building was a mosque from 29 May 1453 until 1934, when it was secularized. It was opened as a museum on 1 February 1935. Famous in particular for its massive dome, it is considered the epitome of Byzantine architecture and is said to have “changed the history of architecture.” It was the largest cathedral in the world for nearly a thousand years, until Seville Cathedral was completed in 1520. The current building was originally constructed as a church between 532 and 537 on the orders of the Byzantine Emperor Justinian and was the third Church of the Holy Wisdom to occupy the site, the previous two having both been destroyed by rioters. It was designed by Isidore of Miletus, a physicist, and Anthemius of Tralles, a mathematician.
    Links: Top Ten Domes, Top Ten Dome Interiors, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hagia_Sophia,
  3. Göbekli Tepe
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           Göbekli Tepe is a hilltop sanctuary erected on the highest point of an elongated mountain ridge some 15 km (9.3 mi) northeast of the town of Şanlıurfa in southeastern Turkey. The site, currently undergoing excavation by German and Turkish archaeologists, was most likely erected in the 9th millennium BC. Together with Nevalı Çori, it has revolutionized understanding of the Eurasian Neolithic. When discovered, it had been deliberately filled in and buried, for reasons unknown.
    Links: Top 100 Ruins, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/G%C3%B6bekli_Tepe,
  4. Dolmabahçe Palace
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           Dolmabahçe Palace is a palace coming to pass across Üsküdar, on the left shore entrance by seaway from Marmara Sea to Boğaziçi, in its chapter surviving between Kabataş and Beşiktaş of the coastline, reaching out from Karaköy to Sarıyer. Located on the European side of the Bosporus, the palace served as the main administrative center of the Ottoman Empire from 1856 to 1922, apart from a 22-year interval (1887-1909) in which Yıldız Palace was used.
    Links: Palaces, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dolmabah%C3%A7e_Palace,
  5. Göreme National Park and the Rock Sites of Cappadocia
    Göreme National Park and the Rock Sites of CappadociaGöreme National Park and the Rock Sites of Cappadocia1Göreme National Park and the Rock Sites of Cappadocia2Göreme National Park and the Rock Sites of Cappadocia3Göreme National Park and the Rock Sites of Cappadocia4Göreme National Park and the Rock Sites of Cappadocia5Göreme National Park and the Rock Sites of Cappadocia6Göreme National Park and the Rock Sites of Cappadocia7Göreme National Park and the Rock Sites of Cappadocia8Göreme National Park and the Rock Sites of CappadociaGöreme National Park and the Rock Sites of Cappadocia1Göreme National Park and the Rock Sites of Cappadocia2
           Göreme, located among the “fairy chimney” rock formations, is a town in Cappadocia, a historical region of Turkey. It is in the Nevşehir Province in Central Anatolia and has a population of around 2,500 people. Former names of the town have been Korama, Matiana, Maccan or Machan, and Avcilar. When Göreme Valley nearby was designated an important tourist destination, a “center” for all tourism in Cappadocia, the name of the town was changed to Göreme for practical reasons. The Göreme National Park (Göreme Milli Parklar in Turkish) was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1985. The location of Göreme was first settled back in the Roman period. Christianity was then the prevailing religion in the region, which is evident from many rock churches that can still be seen today. Among Göreme’s historically important sites are Ortahane, Durmus Kadir, Yusuf Koc and Bezirhane churches, in addition to the richly decorated Tokali Kilise, the Apple Church, and a number of homes and pigeon houses carved straight into the rock formations in the town.
    Links: Top Ten Rock Cut Architecture, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/G%C3%B6reme,
  6. Turkish Riviera
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           The Turkish Riviera, also known popularly as the Turquoise Coast, is an area of southwest Turkey encompassing Antalya, Muğla and to a lesser extent the provinces of Aydın, southern İzmir and western Mersin. The combination of a favorable climate, warm sea, more than 1,000 kilometers of shoreline along the Aegean and Mediterranean waters, and abundant natural and archaeological points of interest makes this stretch of Turkey’s coastline a popular national and international tourist destination. Among the archaeological points of interest are two of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, the ruins of the Mausoleum of Maussollos in Halicarnassus and the remains of the Temple of Artemis in Ephesus, which can still be seen today. The Riviera is also the home for the internationally-known Blue Voyage, which allows participants to enjoy a week-long trip on Gulets to ancient cities, harbors, tombs, mausolea and intimate beaches in the numerous small coves, lush forests and streams that lace the Turquoise Coast. The coastline is further regarded as a cultural trove that provides a fascinating mixture of factual and mythological individuals, conflicts and events, and has frequently been referred to in the folklore of various cultures throughout history. As such, it is regarded as the home of scholars, saints, warriors, kings, and heroes, as well as the site of numerous well-known myths. Mark Antony of the Roman Empire is said to have picked the Turkish Riviera as the most beautiful wedding gift for his beloved Cleopatra of Egypt. St. Nicholas, later known as Santa Claus, was born in Demre (ancient Myra), a small town close to present-day Antalya. Herodotus, accepted as the father of History, was born in Bodrum (ancient Halicarnassus) around 484 BC. The volcanic mountains to the west of Antalya, near Dalyan, are believed to have been the inspiration for the mythical Chimera, the firebreathing monster that Bellerophon slew.
    Links: Top 100 Beaches, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Turkish_Riviera,
  7. Ephesus
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           Ephesus was an ancient Greek city, and later a major Roman city, on the west coast of Asia Minor, near present-day Selçuk, Izmir Province, Turkey. It was one of the twelve cities of the Ionian League during the Classical Greek era. In the Roman period, it was for many years the 2nd largest city of the Roman Empire; ranking behind Rome. Ephesus had a population of more than 250,000 in the 1st century BC, which also made it the 2nd largest city in the world. The city was famed for the Temple of Artemis (completed around 550 BC), one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. The temple was destroyed in 401 AD by a mob led by St. John Chrysostom. Emperor Constantine I rebuilt much of the city and erected new public baths. The town was again partially destroyed by an earthquake in 614 AD. The city’s importance as a commercial center declined as the harbor was slowly silted up by the Cayster River (Küçük Menderes). Ephesus was one of the seven churches of Asia that are cited in the Book of Revelation. The Gospel of John may have been written here. The city was the site of several 5th century Christian Councils. It is also the site of a large gladiators’ graveyard. Today’s archaeological site lies 3 km southwest of the town of Selçuk, in the Selçuk district of İzmir Province, Turkey. The ruins of Ephesus are a favorite international and local tourist attraction, partly owing to their easy access from Adnan Menderes Airport and via the port of Kuşadası.
    Links: Top Ten Libraries, Top Ten Ancient Libraries, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ephesus,
  8. Xanthos–Letoon
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           Xanthos was the name of a city in ancient Lycia, the site of present day Kınık, Antalya Province, Turkey, and of the river on which the city is situated. In early sources, “Xanthos” is used synonymously for Lycia as a whole.
    Links: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Xanthos,
  9. Hattusa (Hittite Capital)
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           Hattusa was the capital of the Hittite Empire in the late Bronze Age. It was located near modern Boğazkale, Turkey, within the great loop of the Kızıl River.
    Links: Relieves and Petroglyphs, Top Ten Top Ten Middle Eastern Relieveshttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hattusa,
  10. Hierapolis–Pamukkale
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           Hierapolis (“holy city”) was the ancient Greco-Roman city on top of hot springs located in south western Turkey near Denizli. The hot springs there have been used as a spa since the 2nd century BC, and people came to soothe their ailments, with many of them retiring or dying here. The large necropolis is filled with sarcophagi, including the Sarcophagus of Marcus Aurelius Ammianos. The great baths were constructed with huge stone blocks without the use of cement and consisted of various closed or open sections linked together. There are deep niches in the inner section of the bath, library, gymnasium and other closed or open locations. The complex, which was constructed in the 2nd century BC, constitutes a good example of vault type architecture and is now an archaeological museum.
    Links: Museums and Galleries, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hierapolis,
  11. City of Safranbolu
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           Safranbolu is a town and district of Karabük Province in the Black Sea region of Turkey. It is about 200 km north of Ankara and about 100 km south of the Black Sea coast. Former Turkish names of the town were Zalifre and Taraklıborlu and in Greek Saframpolis. It was part of Kastamonu Province until 1923 and Zonguldak Province between 1923 and 1995. According to the 2000 census, the population of the district is 47,257, of which 31,697 live in the town of Safranbolu. The district covers an area of 1,000 square km (386 sq mi). The Old Town preserves many old buildings, with 1,008 registered historical artifacts. These are: 1 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. Also there are mounds of ancient settlements, rock tombs and historical bridges. The Old Town is situated in a deep ravine in a fairly dry area in the rain shadow of the mountains. The New Town can be found on the plateau about two kilometers west of the Old Town. The name of the town derives from ‘saffron’ and the Greek word ‘polis’ (city), since Safranbolu was a trading place and a center for growing saffron. Today saffron is still alive at the village of Davutobası which is 22 km east of Safranbolu and probably one of the best quality saffron in the world.
    Links: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Safranbolu,
  12. Great Mosque and Hospital of Divriği
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           Divriği Great Mosque and Hospital is an ornately decorated mosque and medical complex built in 1299 in the small eastern Anatolian mountain town of Divriği, now in Sivas Province in Turkey. The architect was Hürremshah of Ahlat and the mosque was built on the order of Ahmet Shah, ruler of the Beylik of Mengücek. The inscriptions contain words of praise to the Anatolian Seljuk sultan Alaeddin Keykubad I. The adjoining medical center (darüşşifa) was built simultaneously with the mosque on the order of Turan Melek Sultan, daughter of the Mengücek ruler of Erzincan, Fahreddin Behram Shah. The exquisite carvings and architecture of both buildings put them among the most important works of architecture in Anatolia. Of particular note are the geometrical and floral reliefs on the main door.
    Links: Top Ten Mosques, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Divri%C4%9Fi_Great_Mosque,
  13. Nemrut Dağ

           Nemrut or Nemrud 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.
    Links: Top Ten Tombs, Top Ten Necropolises, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nemrut_%28mountain%29,
  14. Archaeological Site of Troy
    Archaeological Site of TroyArchaeological Site of Troy1Archaeological Site of Troy2Archaeological Site of Troy3Archaeological Site of Troy4Archaeological Site of Troy5
           Troy was a city, both factual and legendary, located in northwest Anatolia in what is now Turkey, southeast of the Dardanelles and beside Mount Ida. It is best known for being the focus of the Trojan War described in the Greek Epic Cycle and especially in the Iliad, one of the two epic poems attributed to Homer. Metrical evidence from the Iliad and the Odyssey seems to show that the name Ilion formerly began with a digamma, Wilion. This was later supported by the Hittite form Wilusa. A new city called Ilium was founded on the site in the reign of the Roman Emperor Augustus. It flourished until the establishment of Constantinople and declined gradually during the Byzantine era. In 1865, English archaeologist Frank Calvert excavated trial trenches in a field he had bought from a local farmer at Hisarlık, and in 1868 Heinrich Schliemann, wealthy German businessman and archaeologist, also began excavating in the area after a chance meeting with Calvert in Çanakkale. These excavations revealed several cities built in succession. Schliemann was at first skeptical about the identification of Hissarlik with Troy but was persuaded by Calvert and took over Calvert’s excavations on the eastern half of the Hissarlik site, which was on Calvert’s property. Troy VII has been identified with the Hittite Wilusa, the probable origin of the Greek Ilion, and is generally (but not conclusively) identified with Homeric Troy. Today the hill at Hisarlik has given its name to a small village near the ruins, supporting the tourist trade visiting the Troia archaeological site. It lies within the province of Çanakkale, some 30 km south-west of the provincial capital, also called Çanakkale.
    Links: Top Ten Warriorshttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Troy,
  15. Selimiye Mosque and its Social Complex
    Selimiye Mosque and its Social ComplexSelimiye Mosque and its Social Complex1Selimiye Mosque and its Social Complex2Selimiye Mosque and its Social Complex3
           The Selimiye Mosque is an Ottoman mosque in the city of Edirne, Turkey. The mosque was commissioned by Sultan Selim II and was built by architect Mimar Sinan between 1568 and 1574. It was considered by Sinan to be his masterpiece and is one of the highest achievements of Islamic architecture. This grand mosque stands at the center of a külliye (complex of a hospital, school, library and/or baths around a mosque) which comprises a medrese (Islamic academy teaches both Islamic and scientific lessons), a dar-ül hadis (Al-Hadith school), a timekeeper’s room and an arasta (row of shops). In this mosque Sinan employed an octagonal supporting system that is created through eight pillars incised in a square shell of walls. The four semi domes at the corners of the square behind the arches that spring from the pillars, are intermediary sections between the huge encompassing dome (31.25m diameter with spherical profile) and the walls.
    Links: Top Ten Dome Interiors, Top Ten Mosques, Top Ten Sultans, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Selimiye_Mosque,
  16. Phrygia
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           In antiquity, Phrygia was a kingdom in the west central part of Anatolia, in what is now modern-day Turkey, centered around the Sakarya River. The Phrygians are most famous for their legendary kings of the heroic age of Greek mythology: Gordias whose Gordian Knot would later be untied by Alexander the Great, Midas who turned whatever he touched to gold, and Mygdon who warred with the Amazons. According to Homer’s Iliad, the Phrygians were close allies of the Trojans and participants in the Trojan War against the Achaeans. Phrygian power reached its zenith in the late 8th century BC under another, historical King Midas, who dominated most of western and central Anatolia and rivaled Assyria and Urartu for power in eastern Anatolia. This later Midas was however also the last independent king of Phrygia before its capital Gordium was sacked by Cimmerians around 695 BC. Phrygia then became subject to Lydia, and then successively to Persia, Alexander and his Hellenistic successors, Pergamon, Rome and Byzantium. Phrygians were gradually assimilated into other cultures by the early medieval era, and the name Phrygia passed out of usage as a territorial designation after the Turkish conquest of Anatolia.
    Links: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phrygia,
  17. Links: Top Ten Turkish Hotels, Top Ten Turkish Restaurantshttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Turkey,

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