A country with the sheer geographical area and culturally significant history possessed by Turkey should be relatively high-ranking on just about anybody’s list of “Places I’d Like to Visit.” Indeed, this vast nation offers more than just sunshine and beaches — done right, a holiday in Turkey can be a revealing experience. Just consider the list below if you require any further persuasion. Presented in no particular order are seven of Turkey’s most resplendent wonders.
Hagia Sophia, Istanbul
The name comes from the Greek meaning “holy wisdom,” and this testament to the architectural brilliance of the Byzantine Empire should not be missed. Although it has been operating as a museum since 1935, this transition was accomplished without altering in any way the church aesthetic, meaning that exploring its exhibits is a truly haunting – in the good way – experience.
Tomb of Mausolus, Bodrum
Although the original site lies in ruins today, the tomb from which we take the modern word “mausoleum” was considered one of the world’s seven wonders when in its completed state. The area still carries a sizable air of historical significance, and a stroll through the still-standing foundations and accompanying museum evokes images of a more magnificent time.
Temple of Artemis, Selçuk
Another of the original seven wonders of the ancient world was also found in Turkey. A Greek temple constructed in the classic Parthenon style is sadly survived today as but a singular column, but the area remains one of cultural significance. It remains a window into another world where the Greek peoples would travel far and wide to reach this magnificent temple and pay their respects to Artemis.
Cappadocia, Central Anatolia
The fourth entry on the list isn’t a specific attraction per se – rather, this entry pertains to an entire region. The area is literally full to the brim with sites of interest, from the curious phenomenon of the rocks that were eroded into majestic and unusual pillars and minarets, to the variety of villages — both underground and above ground — that are surely unlike anything else you’ve ever seen.
One for those of you who prefer to take a more physical approach to your holidaymaking, Mount Nemrut — located in the southeast of the country — is certainly somewhere to be considered. What makes Nemrut so special is what you’ll find at its peak — a royal tomb allegedly dating all the way back to the year 62 BC, flanked by statues that once stood imposingly at heights of up to 30 feet tall.
Pamukkale, Denzil Province
Its name means “cotton castle” – surely that should be enough to sell it to you? This beautiful natural site in the inner Aegean region is dotted with hot springs formed by underground volcanic activity. The whole place is so easy on the eye that you’ll genuinely have a hard time believing it was all formed by Mother Nature herself.
The Blue Mosque, Istanbul
The design of this majestic and imposing mosque was actually partially inspired by the first entry on this list, but it’s a tremendous attraction in its own right. Formally named “Sultan Ahmed Mosque,” the nickname stems from the fact the interior walls are decorated in brilliant blue. When the light catches them just right, it’s a joy to behold, but to put it into words does not properly do it justice.
These are just some of Turkey’s finest sights. Why not get out there and explore the rest, or even just visit these ones and take your time to admire the beauty?
Stanley Humphries is a historian. When not immersed in historical facts and figures, he likes to explore the world. He especially loves Turkey.