Travel to Turkey: Top 5 Historical Attractions for History Lovers
Turkey is a treasure trove of historical marvels, including splendid ancient cities, intricately carved rock churches, and awe-inspiring temple remnants. With its rich heritage encompassing Roman, Seljuk, Ottoman, and Byzantine civilizations, Turkey boasts diverse architectural styles and a wealth of historical artifacts. If you’re a history enthusiast, a trip to Turkey promises an unforgettable experience. Here’s your guide to the top 5 historical attractions to visit when you travel to Turkey.
1. Goreme Open Air Museum
The Goreme Open Air Museum comprises a collection of numerous refectory monasteries and ancient churches, intricately carved into the rock and recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage site. This site attracts tourists from all corners of the globe.
During the arrival of the Kayseri Bishop of St. Basil, this area served as a tranquil monastery haven for preaching and educating students. Until the 13th century, the Goreme region remained a prominent center for education and training.
In addition to the astounding rock-cut churches, the area boasts natural formations known as fairy chimneys, which were shaped by volcanic lava following the eruption of Mount Erciyes millions of years ago.
2. Hagia Sophia
The Hagia Sophia, known as ‘Ayasofya’ in Turkish, is a renowned 6th-century structure in Istanbul. Originally a church, it later transformed into a mosque, and its unique fusion of architectural styles and immense scale has positioned it as Turkey’s premier tourist destination.
Today, the Hagia Sophia serves as a mosque while remaining open to visitors of diverse backgrounds. It offers glimpses of its predecessors, the first two Hagia Sophias, alongside its present incarnation featuring a colossal domed ceiling and intricate Muslim altars and chapels.
Hierapolis, a prominent historical site in Turkey often included in Turkey tour packages, holds a prestigious position on the UNESCO World Heritage list. This ancient Greek city has captivated visitors since the 2nd century BC, renowned for its exquisite hot springs utilized as both a spa and a therapeutic sanctuary. Additionally, it boasts numerous ancient ruins in its vicinity, such as the Necropolis, Temple of Apollo, Shrine of the Nymphs, Sanctuary to Pluto, the Theater, and St. Philip Martyrium.
Ephesus, also known as ‘Efes,’ stands as a thriving classical city on the fringes of modern-day Selçuk in Turkey. It stands as a repository of some of the Mediterranean’s most impeccably conserved Greek and Roman ruins. Travel to Turkey can revel in the opportunity to explore these abundant ruins while also immersing themselves in the museum housing a wealth of artifacts unearthed at the site.
In the present day, Ephesus emerges as a veritable treasure trove for those with a passion for Ancient Roman and Greek history. It offers them the chance to meander through its thoroughfares and behold its splendid residences, communal edifices, temples, and stadiums.
5. Topkapi Palace
Topkapi Palace in Istanbul is one of Turkey’s most renowned attractions, dating back to 1459. It served as the administrative and royal residence for Ottoman Empire sultans from 1465 to 1853. The palace showcases traditional Ottoman architecture, enclosed by imposing 5-kilometer fortifications across a vast 700,000 square meters. Visitors can explore exhibition halls, courtyards, a treasure trove, and a harem. Notable is the Treasury with jewelry adorned with jade, diamonds, emeralds, and pearls. The palace also houses armor, paintings, calligraphy, frescoes, and over 20,000 porcelain pieces from different dynasties. Its interiors are richly adorned, attracting tourists eager to see its Muslim and Christian relics.
When should you visit these destinations?
The best time to travel to Turkey is spring and fall. From April to May, the weather is nice, and nature is in bloom. September and October are also great for sightseeing as they offer warm weather and fewer crowds.
The enduring heritage of several magnificent civilizations has bequeathed Turkey with an array of historical wonders, ranging from prehistoric remnants and ancient cities to subterranean treasure troves and deserted villages. This makes Turkey an enticing destination for any history buff. If you are planning a trip to this beautiful country, feel free to reach out to our experts, and they will be happy to help.