Destinations / The most beautiful countries in the world / Turkey
Turkey is a unique country that extends on two continents - Europe and Asia - a unique position, which gave birth to a culture that reflects both West and East. It is a friendly country that offers all modern facilities, yet traditional enough to be fascinating. Its history begins 25,000 years ago, while the Hittites, Phrygians, Greeks, Romans, Byzantines,Crusaders, Mongols and Ottomans have left inestimable works of art and cultural heritage on the the land of today's Turkey, a country that is among the top 10 tourist destinations in the world, annually receiving more than 23 million visitors.
Modern Turkey is a democratic Muslim country, founded in 1920 by Mustafa Kemal Ataturc, which and succeeded to register a high economic growth, despite the Muslim traditionalism and today is part of the European Community. The major cities are Istanbul and Ankara, the former famous for its mosques, palaces, sultans and mysterious harems, and the latter being the capital city.
Turkey is a country with hospitable people and offers a wide range of activities. Historic towns such as Troy, Ephesus, Tarsus, Konya, and many others represent a foray into the past and lifestyle of the ancients. Quiet ports, golden-sand coastline, the nature of Turkey and nightclubs are perfect for water sports, rafting, hiking, biking,climbing, skiing and having fun. Enjoy a beer or a glass of raki in a tavern inIstanbul, Kusadasi, Bodrum or Antalya and listen to their stories. Simply enjoy Turkey!
Discover the historic center of Istanbul, the former capital of Christian Byzantium and the Muslim Ottoman Empire; the major attractions include the Blue Mosque, Topkapi Palace, Aya Sofia Museum and the Museum of Archaeology. Explore the northern suburbs of Istanbul by ferry and visit the fifteenth century Green Mosque, the covered bazaar and the Museum of Islamic Art. Close to the city, there is the 2.543 m tall mountain of Uludag, with glacial lakes and a ski resort. Cross the Dardanelles Strait, which separates Europe from Asia, and visit the ancient city of Troy. Visit the ruins of Ephesus, the city erected in the thirteenth century BC, now carefully restored; it is one of the most spectacular sites in the world. Visit Bodrum, where you can find one of the seven wonders of the world, the Mausoleum; it is also the place where there is located one of the best resorts of the Aegean Sea, dominated by the castle of St John.
Experience the charm of the Mediterranean city of Antalya, which has a historical center and a marina, Kaleici; visit the Museum of Archaeology and historic sites around the town. Visit the Museum of Anatolian Civilization and Ethnographic Museum in Ankara, as well as the historic town of Safranbolu, located between Istanbul and Ankara, a UNESCO world heritage site, famous for its Ottoman architecture. Take a tour of the city of Konya, the capital of Selcuk Empire and one of the great religious centers of Turkey. Do not miss Cappadocia, with its spectacular scenery consisting of rock cones, towers and ravines; explore the underground cities and houses.
Visit the spectacular Greek Orthodox monastery Sumela from the fourteenth century, located 54km away from Trabzon. The monastery is situated on a cliff that is 300 meters high and contains magnificent frescoes. Take the ferry from Eminonu docks from Istanbul to the Islands of the Princess, a quiet place where there are no cars, only bicycles and carriages. Enjoy a tea and smoke a hookah while watching the sunset from the terrace of a traditional cafe under Istanbul's Galata Bridge. Relax in a steamy Turkish bath called hammam. The most famous baths in Istanbul are Galatasaray Hammam and Cagaloglu Hammam. You can go hiking in the Kackar mountain chain in north-eastern part of Turkey near the border with Georgia. Take a dip into the therapeutic waters of natural travertine pools of Pamukkale. Take a hot air balloon ride over the landscape of Cappadocia.
By Maria Morari
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