In preparation for my trip to Turkey next year I thought I better do some research at the awesome things I’m going to find there. I discovered that there are 10 UNESCO world heritage sites, behind only China, India and Iran in all the countries in Asia. So check out the 10 sites we all need to try to tick off when we venture to this very awesome country, where Europe meets Asia:
1) Göreme National Park and the Rock Sites of Cappadocia:
Goreme, is a town in the Cappadocia region, bang in the centre of Turkey. The whole place is jam-packed full of moon-like landscape, underground cities, cave churches and houses carved in the rocks.
2) Great Mosque and Hospital of Divrigi:
A medieval hospital and ornate mosque carved from stone, over 700 years old and still standing strong. You’ve got to venture all the way over to Eastern Turkey to see this masterpiece, but it’s worth the journey!
The old city of Istanbul is definitely more Arabian than European. You can spend days wandering around this funky place, transported back in time, checking all the sights. But one thing you can’t miss is the ridiculously impressive Hagia Sophia, with the Blue Mosque deserving a big shout out too. This really deserves a blog article all of its own. Amazing.
4) Hattusa: the Hittite Capital:
In Northern Central Turkey, you’ll find the ruins of Hattusa, a city dating back 3000 years. Wow. Admittedly, there’s not too much left still standing but there’s enough to get your imagination running. An awesome way to spend a day.
This is real Indian Jones sh*t. At the top of Mount Nemrut (2, 000m), in South Eastern Turkey, you find huge statutes of King Antiochus, a descendent of Apollo. These things are massive, up to 9m tall! Seeing sunrise from here is all the rage, just be prepared for a 2am start.
A few hours south of Istanbul lies this baby. The Roman city of Hierapolis is part of this UNESCO sigh too and don’t get my wrong it’s awesome in it’s own right (especially the ampitheatre) BUT head over to the the Travertines of Pamukkale – these things will blow your mind. Old school hot springs with temperatures reaching as high as 100 °C (212 °F)!!, pay your $10 and bathe in the same pools locals have been using for literally thousands of years.
Venture further south of Iatanbul, past the hot springs from above, and you’ll reach Xanthos. This place oozes history with bloody battles with the Persians, Alexender the Great and a host more. Get lost in the ruins for at last a day. Nearby is Letoon, the religious centre, worth a visit for more of the same.
8 ) City of Safranbolu:
200km north of Ankara or 6 hours from Istanbul, this Ottoman-era town is a postcard photo waiting to happen. Take a bus to the town and wander around for the afternoon, you won’t be disappointed.
9) Archaeological Site of Troy:
Scene of the Trojan War, and not too far from Istanbul, this city has been destroyed and rebuilt 9 times but that has not dissuaded the Turkish government from builing a fake Trojan horse (or 2, or 3) that you can climb up and get your photo taken with! Perfect!
10) Selimiye Mosque and its Social Complex:
On the border with Greece and Bulgaria, the city of Edirne plays host to a very cool Mosque. Over 500 years old, this will rival anything else Turkey has to offer. It was just inducted into UNESCO in 2011, so its fresh blood which means there will be less (still loads, but less!) tourists around. The minarets are the 2nd highest in the whole world, and the Blue Mosque in Istanbul is a direct copy of this beauty. It’s possible to daytrip this from Istanbul.
Wow wow wow, that’s an impressive line-up. I hope that’s got you guys chomping at the bit to get your asses searching for Turkey holidays ASAP. I’ll see you there! Happy travels!