It seems almost ludicrous that a country might have so much to offer, but Turkey’s unique location between East and West, combined with its ancient history, renders it one huge archeological site. Infused with influences from the Romans, Arabs and the west (just to name a few), it is a magical blend of worlds.
A captivating city both by day and by night. Admire the intricate mosaics in the Haghia Sofia (Church of the Divine Wisdom) before entering another world at the Blue Mosque, letting them tell a history of consecutive Christian and Islam empires. At the Hippodrome, close your eyes and picture the wild chariots that thundered through its grounds in Roman times. For an explosion of the senses, step into the Grand Bazaar, a maze of over 2000 shops selling leather goods, lanterns, ceramics and carpets. Congratulate yourself on making it out in one piece, and treat your aching body to a Turkish bath at Cembirlitas Hamam, rumoured to be one of the best in the country.
On to Cappadocia to take the hot air balloon ride you’ve long been drooling over on Instagram. Admire the rugged landscape and fairy chimneys from above while tucking into breakfast in the sky. Other ways to explore the landscape include mountain biking, horse riding, hiking, and, in the winter, snowshoeing.
Coastal Turkey is a world itself. Roam the ruins of Ephesus, where the Apostle Paul spent two years establishing the Christian church. Traverse the Turquoise Coast, Turkey’s south westernmost shore. What sets this glittering body of water apart is its dramatical mountain landscape, home to (more) ancient sites which seem almost casual for this country. Wander around the ghost village Kaya Köyü, once home to the Greek Orthodox Christians forced to abandon their homes when the creation of the Republic of Turkey and Greece effected a compulsory exchange of homes between the people. Take a boat tour in Kekova, dock at ruins and swim in secret coves, emerging only for dinner on deck. Of course, no coastal trip is complete without a seafood feast. Such is the Turks’ love for seafood that inhabitants of the Black sea are nicknamed hamsis, after their much-loved anchovies. Savour bluefish, sardines and bonitos in the sun, washing it down with premium wine from one of the oldest grape-growing regions in the world.
The joys of Turkey stretch far beyond what words can convey. See for yourself; stumble into surprises and make the experience your own. Like the cherry on top of the cake, the friendliness of the Turkish people make it all the more difficult to say goodbye to this intriguing country. Enjoy!
Did you know?
Picasso used to eat Turkish Delight every day to help him concentrate on his work!
To save money, take a cheap flight to Australia and book a ticket to Turkey from there. Within Turkey, buses have a good reputation for covering long distances, although with the first high-speed line from Istanbul to Ankara opened in 2009, the train network is rapidly gaining a popular reputation.
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