The most beautiful cities in Turkey
The state of Turkey is located in southwest Asia, washed by four seas – the Mediterranean, Marmara, Aegean and Black. A small part of the country occupies the territory of southern Europe. It borders the following countries:
Turkey is one of the most developed countries in Europe, its residents practice Islam and speak the Turkish language. The emergence of the state falls in the period after the collapse of the Ottoman Empire. On the territory of Turkey is beautiful and diverse nature and culture, which makes it like a separate small continent. The country is predominantly mountainous, the plateaus, mountains occupy most of the territory. Relief makes Turkey’s nature very diverse. Here are located the Pontic Mountains, the Anatolian Plateau, the Taurus. The climate and landscape are also diverse, one can find steppes, swamps, mountain forests, subtropics and semi-deserts. Only in Turkey there are 10,000 species of plants, while there are only 13,000 species in Europe. Forests occupy 25% of the entire territory.
The country has a population of 79,463,663 people, of which 75% are ethnic Turks and 10% are Kurds. There is a very large Armenian diaspora here. Turks are mostly hospitable, welcoming, quite temperamental and tolerant of foreigners.
Top 10 the most beautiful cities in Turkey
- Istanbul is the keeper of beautiful historical monuments.
- Fethiye – a popular resort with historical monuments.
- Bursa is a megalopolis with a rich heritage of history and culture.
- Cesme is a resort on the Aegean Sea.
- Trabzon is a major port and trade center.
- Sanliurfa is the birthplace of the prophet Abraham.
- Konya – provincial charm and strength of tradition.
- Edirne is the famous old capital of the Omani Empire.
- Bodrum is a tourist city with a harbor.
- Hierapolis is an ancient architectural monument.
Istanbul is an interesting historical city.
The largest city in the country, one of the largest in the whole world. Its location is unique, Istanbul is in both Asia and Europe. It used to be the capital of the ancient Byzantine Empire, the Ottoman Empire. Istanbul has the richest historical and cultural heritage. Once the name was different – Constantinople. For tourists it is one of the most interesting megapolises. There are a huge number of sights belonging to three periods at once:
Along with the Muslim mosques there are Christian churches, in the streets you can find these medieval and ancient antiquities. The historical areas between the Sea of Marmara, Golden Horn Bay, and the Bosphorus are World Heritage sites.
In the historical district of Sultanahmet are the most famous sights:
Galata is home to the tower of the same name, followed by Istanbul’s popular street, Istiklal, which overlooks Taksim Square. The business, financial center is the New City to the north. In these places you can see skyscrapers, modern office, shopping centers, mansions, buildings in a modern style.
Good souvenirs tourists and guests buy in the bazaar Arasta, nearby there is a museum of mosaics of the Grand Palace. From other attractions that should be visited in Istanbul, you should note the Theodosia Walls, Hippodrome, Grand Bazaar, Suleymaniye Mosque, spice market, Dolmabahce Palace, Church of Christ the Savior in the Fields, Rustem Pasha Mosque, the ancient fortress Edikule, Galata Tower.
Fethiye – a beautiful town by the sea
There are lots of resorts and historical and natural sights in the vicinity and the city itself, which tourists from all over the world come to see. Vacationers are ensured a comfortable and varied leisure: clean beaches, water sports, restaurants, cafes, nightclubs.
Fethiye is surrounded by many historical monuments, which were created in different times. And today there are excavations and study sites. One must not miss the City Museum, the Museum of Historical Artifacts, the White Mosque, the Crusader fortress, the Aminta Tomb, the ancient towns of Pinara and Letun, the Saklikent Gorge, the ghost town of Kayakey, the butterfly valley.
The beaches of Oludeniz and Kalis, Sultans Aqua City with a large swimming pool, various slides, Bubble Sea Park, Karting Center, and Oludeniz Park are perfect for a vacation. There are sightseeing tours in the city:
- Rhodes Island;
- sightseeing tour of Fethiye;
- boat trip to 12 islands;
- by bus from Pamukkale to Hierapolis.
Bursa – the first capital of the Ottoman Empire
In the northwest lies the city of Bursa, the fourth largest metropolis of Istanbul. It is located between the winter resorts in the Uludağ mountains and the coast of the Sea of Marmara. Bursa was once the first capital of the Ottoman Empire. Most of the notable sites belong to the early period of the Ottoman Empire. The city is famous for its silk, chestnuts, peaches, and historical atmosphere. Ancient Ottoman and Seljuk settlements are UNESCO World Heritage Site. Bursa can be visited all year round, in summer go to the mountains, the coast of the Sea of Marmara, in winter rest at winter resorts. In the off-season, enjoy comfortable weather, this time is perfect for sightseeing tours.
The ancient city combines modernity and history. The heart of old Bursa is the area from the square with the equestrian statue of Ataturk to the silk bazaar. In this area there are many memorable places. One of the most important historical structures is the Great Mosque of Ulu Cami. Built in 1399, it is an outstanding example of religious architecture of the Seljuks of Anatolia. The mosque has 20 domes, two huge minarets. The interior features intricate wood carvings and panels with calligraphy. Other historical monuments worthy of attention:
- Green Mosque;
- Green Tomb;
- Hisar Citadel;
- Muradiye historical complex;
- Tophane Tower with a clock;
- The arched bridge of Irgandi;
- Dzhumalıkızık village from the Ottoman period.
Cesme – Turkish Nice
A resort town on the shores of the Aegean Sea, located near Izmir. It is the most expensive resort in Turkey, and wealthy people, celebrities, and the Turkish elite often spend their holidays here. Cesme attracts not only many tourists but also surfers, because of the frequent, strong winds.
The beaches stretch along the coast at a distance of 29 km, it opens spectacular scenery, the sea water is very clean. A special feature of Ilydzha beach are thermal hot springs, snow-white fine sand. Two very beautiful beaches – Pyrlanta, Altynkum – are located in Ciftlikköy. There are many beach clubs in Cesme, but the prices bite.
Among the attractions is the Genoese fortress, built in the 14th-15th centuries. Its creation is associated with many legends. Today it is an ornament of the city, a home to the archaeological museum, which can be visited every day except Monday. On the territory of the fortress is built outdoor theater, where festivals and concerts are held.
Nearby is the famous structure caravanserai, built by Suleiman the Magnificent, a monument to Gazi Hasan Pasha with his lion, the church of St. Haralambos, where exhibitions are held in the summer. You can go on a tour to the ancient Ephesus, the wine village of Sirince, the ancient city of Bergama, Izmir.
Trabzon is a beautiful place where religions and cultures meet.
Trabzon is located on the Black Sea coast, at the foot of the Kolat Dag mountain range, in the northeast part of the country. Since ancient times it has been a major port and trading center with ancient Byzantine monuments and a remarkable landscape. The city was founded by the ancient Greeks in the 8th century BC, who came here from Sinope. Until the 20th century, many Greeks and Armenians lived here, whose numbers significantly decreased during the genocide.
A historical place that will impress anyone is the rock monastery of Panagia Sumela. It is located in the picturesque mountains near the town of Machka. It is one of the oldest orthodox monasteries in the world, built in the 4th century. Another famous attraction of Trabzon is the Temple of St. Sophia. This Christian ancient church was built in the 13th century. In 1461 Trabzon was captured by Mehmet II and the church was turned into a mosque. While vacationing in the city tourists visit the ancient picturesque Uzungol Lake, which offers beautiful scenery of the city and mountains. In Ortahisar district there is Fatih Mosque, in the 15th century it was a Christian church, a monastery. There are works of Ottoman art preserved here. Other memorable sites of the city:
- Walls of Trabzon;
- Gulbahar Hatun Mosque;
- Church of St. Eugene;
- St. Anne’s Church.
Şanlıurfa is the holy city of Turkey.
Located in the southeast of Anatolia, is the capital of the province of the same name. The city is also called Urfa. Its history is very rich. Nearby is the oldest temple complex on earth Gobekli Tepe, built around the 9th millennium BC.
The central place of pilgrimage is Khalil-Rahman Mosque, near the pond of Prophet Abraham, in which there are many carp. In the old part of the city, which is very different in appearance from the new, there are temples, ponds, parks. It is definitely worth visiting the Shanliurfa Museum, which has 3 halls of archaeology, a hall of ethnography, exhibition conference rooms and a library. In the basement there is a vault, a photo lab and a research lab.
A great historical place is the cave where Abraham the Prophet was born, the guests visit the lake Ain Zelikha, the mosque Rizvaniye, the big mosque of Urfa, the fountain Firuz Bey, the ruins of Urfa fortress, the “Throne of Nimrod”, the eight Turkish baths of Ottoman Empire.
Konya – a tourist metropolis of the Seljuk era
It is located in the plains of central Anatolia, in the southern part of Turkey. There are large lakes in the vicinity, and it is quite hot in summer. The territory of the city was inhabited by people back in the Neolithic era. Nearby is the ancient settlement of Çatal-Guyuk, founded about 10,000 years ago. The Seljuks occupied Konya in the 11th century. Most of the sites of interest are associated with the Seljuk era, represented by old madrassahs and mosques. One of the main places of interest is Mevlana Museum and Rumi Mausoleum. Here is the tomb of the founder of Sufism, the poet and philosopher Rumi. The museum holds relics related to his life, musical instruments, manuscripts, artwork from the Seljuk era. In the center of Konya is Aladdin Tepe Park, at the foot of the slope you can see the excavation of the old palace of Alaeddin, the remains of the city wall. At the top of the hill stands a 13th-century columned mosque.
Other places of interest:
- Sille village;
- Tile Museum;
- Museum of stone, wooden carvings;
- Archaeological Museum;
- The old Iplikchi mosque;
- Sahibi-Ata religious complex with a mosque;
- Azizie Mosque;
- The huge domed Selimiye Mosque.
Edirne – Turkey’s gateway to Europe
A touristic city in the northwest of the country, close to the border with Greece. In ancient times it was the capital of the Ottoman Empire. In Edirne you can see huge Ottoman palaces, more modern neoclassical architecture, mosques, bazaars, historical houses, bridges. Two religions and cultures meet here; the city is also called the gateway of Turkey to Europe. Preferably visit Edirne between May and October, in July and August it is very hot.
Since the city is located near the Aegean coast, the Saros Gulf, there are excellent beaches, most of which are between the towns of Enez, Keshan. In the center are the main attractions:
- The oldest part of Edirne – the old atmospheric city, surrounded by once fortress walls;
- the old synagogue, Turkey’s largest Jewish religious edifice;
- a small stone Christian church;
- Gazi Mihala Bridge;
- Sarayici River Island;
- Macedonian tower.
There are many ancient Muslim mosques in the city:
- old mosque
- Three Balcones Mosque
- Bayazid II Mosque.
In the resort town of Bodrum, tourists and visitors enjoy relaxing on the beaches and clear sea. There are ancient monuments of architecture, the Roman theater, the mausoleum, castles, the Mindos Gate. One of the symbols of Bodrum are white windmills.
Hierapolis is an ancient city and one of the most popular tourist spots in Turkey. Here are the ruins of an ancient city, well preserved till nowadays. The real miracle of nature in Hierapolis are about 200 geothermal springs, where the water temperature ranges from +35 to +100 degrees. Terraces were formed of travertine, walking on them is allowed only barefoot. You can swim here only in designated areas.
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Pamukkale and the ancient city of Hierapolis
Pamukkale – the cotton fortress of Turkey
Pamukkale is one of the most famous natural and cultural sites in Turkey, 20 km away from the city Denizli. Literally translated from Turkish, the word “Pamukkale” means “cotton castle” or “cotton fortress”, which does, in fact, correspond to the local unusual natural landscape.
Pamukkale – White Terraces
The so-called white travertines of the “cotton castle” were formed on the mountainside as a result of the deposition of calcium carbonate from the water of carbonic springs. There are 17 geothermal springs in the region of Pamukkale and Denizli with water temperatures ranging from 35 to 100 °C. The water from each spring has a different composition, so the thermal springs in the vicinity of Pamukkale were used for medicinal purposes in ancient times. Many hotels in Pamukkalei today have their own water and mud springs. You can take mineral baths throughout the year. In 1988 Pamukkale and the ruins of the ancient city of Hierapolis were inscribed in the UNESCO World Heritage List.
How to get to Pamukkale?
Pamukkale is easy to get to. If you decide to go there, you just need to decide whether you want to go on your own or it’s better to sign up for a tour? Excursions to Pamukkale are organized from all resorts of the Mediterranean and Aegean coast of Turkey. Approximate cost of a one-day tour is from $35 to $80, and the two-day tour from $60 to $160. The price depends primarily on the resort from which the tour begins and the quality of services provided. If you decide to go to Pamukkale on your own you will have to drive to Denizli city from the start point of your tour. There are buses to Denizli from almost all towns along the coast and from the rest of the major cities in Turkey, and from Istanbul you can easily get to the city by plane. It takes about 20 minutes by regular bus from Denizli bus station to Pamukkale village. Turkish Airlines from the European airport and Pegasus Airlines from the Asian airport in Istanbul fly to Denizli Csardak Airport.
The view of Pamukkale from a hill, where there are the ruins of the ancient city of Hieropolis
Distances from different resorts and cities of Turkey to Pamukkale
- Distance from Cappadocia (Goreme) – 618 km
- Distance from Antalya – 243km
- Distance from Alanya 372 Km
- Distance from Side – 312 Km
- Distance from Kemer – 278 km
- Distance from Belek – 280 Km
- Distance from Cesme 315 Km
- Distance from Kusadasi – 185 Km (180 Km from the ancient city of Ephesus)
Pamukkale on the map of Turkey
The ancient city of Hierapolis
Pamukkale is famous not only for its mineral springs and snow-white travertine. Next to the travertines, there is a very interesting ancient town Hierapolis (Hierapolis or Hierapolis of Phrygia). The ruins of the ancient city of Hierapolis are scattered on a vast territory. Restoration work on the city is carried out with some interruptions and is conducted mainly for the protection and conservation of monuments.
Frontinia Gate and Street (northern gate of Hierapolis)
History of Hierapolis
The first buildings on the site of the ancient city appeared in the second millennium BC, but the city itself appeared much later. It is believed that the city was founded by King of Pergamon Eumenes II in 190 BC. Hierapolis got its name from the queen of the Amazons, named Hiera, wife of the legendary founder of Pergamon – Telephos (son of Hercules and Auge). Later (in 133 BC) the city was already under Roman rule. The city was often affected by earthquakes, which are still a major concern to the citizens of the area. The first known earthquake that struck Hierapolis dates back to 17 AD. It was almost completely destroyed and rebuilt. Under Roman rule Hierapolis flourished until the end of the 3rd century A.D. The curative powers of the local springs were known already before the Roman Empire, but the city’s popularity as a curative thermal spa grew during the Roman era. Wealthy people came here from all parts of the empire for treatment, but some of them died, and in that case they were buried according to the customs of the place they came from. This is why it is the largest ancient necropolis in Turkey with a great variety of tombstones and monuments.
The city’s role in the spread of Christianity
The city also played an important role in the spread of Christianity. It is known that already in the first centuries of Christianity, with the help and participation of one of the 12 apostles – the Apostle Philip, the first Christian communities appeared here. According to tradition, the Holy Apostle Philip was crucified upside down by order of the proconsul of the Roman Empire, and he died a painful death. The martirium (place of death) of St. Philip is located east of the Old Theater (objet 15 on the map below).
The Ancient Theater of Hierapolis
sights of Hierapolis
Outline – map of Hierapolis
- Northern Necropolis of Hierapolis
- Ancient Roman Thermae, later rebuilt into a basilica
- The old theater was heavily damaged by an earthquake in 17 AD.
- Frontinia Gate (Northern Gate of Hierapolis) built by the Proconsul in honor of the Emperor Domitian’s visit.
- Latrina (Public Toilet of the City)
- Triton Fountain with sculptural group
- Hierapolis’ Agora (Market Square)
- Via Frontinia
- Nympheum Fountain
- Temple of Apollo
- Plutonium (Pluto’s cave)
- The New Theater (built in the 1st century AD)
- Great Roman Baths – Now Hierapolis Museum
- Hierapolis Gymnasium
- South Roman Gate- Now the main entrance to Pamukkale
- Martirium of St. Philip A – Antique Pool (Cleopatra Basin) B – Travertines
Cleopatra’s Pool in Pamukkale
This pool is actually called the “Ancient Pool”. In the 1980’s, some guides began to tell that Cleopatra, the queen of Egypt, bathed there once, who came to the thermal springs to heal and rejuvenate. Of course, to bathe in the pool in which Cleopatra herself bathed makes a person happier, but historians and archaeologists have not found even a hint that Cleopatra visited once the city of Hierapolis.
Cleopatra’s Famous Pool in Pamukkale
This antique pool is located next to the ruins of the great Roman thermae (now Hierapolis Archaeological Museum). The place from where the fresh thermal water constantly comes is next to the pool (this is where you can drink the water, it tastes sour). The water of this source is not the one that flows through the travertine. It has a completely different composition and no calcium at all. The water temperature is a little over 35 degrees.
Cleopatra Pool in Pamukkale.
Pamukkale entrance prices – 2020
Entrance to the National Park: 80 Lira Entrance to Cleopatra Pool: 50 Lira (Children: 6-12 years old 13 Lira, 0-6 years old free) Entrance to Hierapolis Archaeological Museum: 7 Lira
Cotton Fortress in Turkey
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Pamukkale and the ancient city of Hierapolis : 5 Comments
I had a really great time in Pamukkale. I had a lot of fun and interesting things to do.
We liked it very much on our trip to Pammukale. We drove on our own from Selcuk. A pity, that the last buses back to Selcuk leave at the same time, it seems, at 16.00. We lacked another 1 hour for walk.
Good afternoon! Went to this beautiful place in May 2017. Loved it very much, beautiful historical places, you can relax and expand your horizons. The only disadvantages are a lot of people everywhere and not much time left for independent sightseeing and swimming in the Cleopatra pool. I recommend it.
- Cappadocia Author of the entry 17.06.2017 at 19:38
Thank you for your review Elvira!
Good afternoon, we were in this beautiful place in August 2017. Loved it very much, beautiful historical places. I recommend.