The cradle of civilization and center of world history today stands as one of the fastest-growing tourism destinations in the world. Turkey was the site of the first human settlement; the seat of the Byzantine, Roman and Ottoman Empires; has spectacular coastline, majestic mountains, cosmopolitan cities and quaint villages making it one of the world’s most fascinating destinations. Turkey is home to astonishing landscapes, architectural monuments of staggering beauty and a culture that emanates from two continents; where you can lose yourself in the magic and mystery of an ancient land. Located at the crossroads of European, Asian and African continents, and surrounded by the Mediterranean, the Aegean and the Black Seas as well as a rich history, archeology, gastronomy and geography.
Turkey is a wonderful destination for families offering resorts, pristine beaches, health/wellness, spas, natural wonders, sports and faith travel.
This was the greatest church in Christendom for a thousand years, and remains an architectural masterpiece to this day. Its immense dome rises nearly 200 feet above the ground and is more than 100 feet in diameter. The Ottomans converted the basilica to a mosque in the 15th century, but today the Hagia Sophia serves as a public museum, known for its majestic serenity and fine Byzantine mosaics.
With its massive central dome flanked by six slender minarets, the Blue Mosque stands as the single most recognizable monument on the Istanbul skyline. The mosque’s immense interior, is decorated with more than 20,000 precious Iznik tiles detailing traditional flowers of Ottoman design. In fact, it is the deep blue glow of the tiles in sunlight that gives the building its name.
The Palace contains Muslim holy relics and is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. At its peak, the palace was home to as many as 4,000 people. In 1924 it was transformed into a museum of the imperial era. The Palace, a major tourist attraction, includes many fine examples of Ottoman architecture and large collections of porcelain, robes, weapons, shields, armor, miniatures, Islamic calligraphic manuscripts and murals as well as treasures and jewelry.
The Grand Bazaar
The Grand Bazaar is one of the largest and oldest covered markets in the world, – 4,000 shops, 22 gates, 2 covered markets, restaurants, mosques, fountains and teahouse. Still the commercial center of the old city, its 80 streets constitute the original shopping mall, with something for every taste and budget – Turkish crafts, world-renowned carpets, brilliant hand-painted ceramics, copper and brassware, and excellent quality leather products. In the heart of the bazaar, the Old Bedesten offers an intriguing assortment of antiques.
Shopping and wandering through Istanbul’s unique, cool and hip neighborhoods.
If you’re looking for shops filled with extraordinary items, like a candelabra with the official signature of an Ottoman sultan engraved on it? Cukurcuma, located in the back streets of Beyoglu and often called the SoHo of Istanbul, hosts over 150 antique shops. This historic neighborhood is actually a well-known center by antique devotees and mentioned in European antique catalogues frequently. It is a gem especially if you are into vintage toys, Ottoman-style jewelry and accessories.
Nisantasi is Istanbul’s most fashionable neighbourhood and is famous for its Art Nouveau apartment buildings and designer stores. It’s Istanbul’s most elegant quarter and home to several prominent figures of the jet-set, culture, and art. There’s a large choice of excellent restaurants and stores of world famous brands like Gucci, Louis Vuitton, Hugo Boss, Escada, Kenzo and Prada. Niscantasi is where the locals go to hang out, to see and be seen. Abdi ipekci Caddesi is the Turkish equivalent of 5th Avenue with rich boutiques and trendy cafes.
The Turquoise Coast
This is the Turkish Riviera, staggeringly beautiful; there’s no wondering why the ancient Lycians chose this location for the base of their empire. It’s the most beautiful part of Turkey, sandy shore lines on turquoise seas with a backdrop of jagged, forest laden slopes. Just steps from the beach are the ancient cities of Xanthos, Letoon and Arykanda. You can hike through the hills – along the 500km Lycian Way trail – to see the most incredible scenery including the ornate tombs carved into the cliffs at Tlos and Myra.
The sandy beaches at Patara and Cirali’s cove are two of the best spots to while away the hours in perfect harmony with the sun and sea.
Göreme National Park and the Rock Sites of Cappadocia: UNESCO World Heritage Site Cappadocia is a moonscape of deep ravines and valleys, cliffs, volcanic peaks, precariously balanced rocks, and countless “chimneys” – tall, ancient pillars and minaret-like towers carved into the stone over millions of years by the forces of nature. But, it’s what lies beneath the landscape that makes Cappadocia so incredible: 6th century monasteries and churches, cave dwellings, mansions and houses connected with tunnels, even entire cities carved into the soft volcanic lava and ash that shaped the land some 65 million years ago.
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