Turkey

Alaca Höyük

Alaca Höyük: Back to the Bronze Age in Central Turkey

Situated 160 km east of Ankara in the central Anatolian plains – a region where few tourists venture – is a largely ignored yet highly significant ancient site. Alaca Höyük was inhabited for thousands of years, but the most interesting findings come from the Hittites and the mysterious Hattian culture. Originally settled in the Chalcolithic Period (6000 –

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Anıtkabir Ankara Guide

A Day in Ankara: The Top Sites of the Turkish Capital

Despite being Turkey’s capital, Ankara is seldom visited by foreign tourists. With only a handful of attractions and having only become a prominent city quite recently, it’s easy to see why. But for those touring central Turkey, Ankara has some significant landmarks and museums that are worth dedicating at least a day to see. We’ll

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Visiting Troy

Visiting Troy: Where History and Mythology Converge

Few ancient cities have captivated the imagination of the masses like Troy. The focal point of Homer’s epic poems, the city is so strongly associated with mythology that many have long doubted its existence. But Troy is indeed a real place. And by visiting Troy today, one can see remnants of buildings which date to

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Ayvalık Guide

Ayvalık & Cunda Island: Exploring Turkey’s Aegean Coast

The traditional Greek town of Ayvalık retains much of its historical architecture, while its scenic setting along the Aegean attracts visitors from all over Turkey. And for those looking for an even quieter vibe, Cunda Island is right next door. In the following Ayvalık guide, we’ll cover the top landmarks to see in both. Ayvalık

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Theater Pergamon Guide

Exploring the Thrilling Ruins of Ancient Pergamon

Among the most interesting yet underrated Greco-Roman ruins of Turkey are those of ancient Pergamon. Once a major independent kingdom during the Hellenistic era, the city continued to thrive during Roman times. Today, the archaeological site is so vast that it comprises of several different areas, each of which will be covered in this ancient

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Izmir Guide

A Day in Izmir: The Bustling Aegean City’s Top Landmarks

Izmir (also spelled İzmir), situated alongside Turkey’s Aegean coast, is the country’s third-largest city. Historically known as Smyrna, the city’s history dates back thousands of years. The following Izmir guide covers all the things you shouldn’t miss in town, which most visitors should be able to fit into a single day. While immensely popular among Turks, Izmir

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Temple of Apollo at Didyma

Ancient Ionia: Priene & The Temple of Apollo at Didyma

The ancient Ionian ruins of Priene, the Temple of Apollo at Didyma, and Miletus are three important sites that lack the crowds of nearby Ephesus. And given their proximity to one another, they’re commonly visited in a single day from Selçuk or Kuşadası. While one can typically join a small group tour, all such tours happened to

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Celsus Library Ephesus Guide

Exploring Ephesus: The Vibrant Capital of Roman Asia

Ephesus is one of Turkey’s best-preserved archaeological sites, and also one of its most important. It long served as the capital of Roman Asia Minor and was the empire’s most thriving metropolis after Rome. And even centuries after its abandonment, it remains full of interesting and grandiose monuments. In the following Ephesus guide, we’ll cover

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Temple of Artemis Selçuk Guide

A Day in Selçuk: St. John’s Basilica & The Temple of Artemis

Izmir Province’s Selçuk is best known for being the town closest to the ruins of Ephesus. But Selçuk’s city center is also home to a unique collection of historical sites of major global importance. It’s therefore worth setting aside an extra day to allow enough time to see all of the landmarks in the Selçuk guide below.

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Aphrodisias Turkey

Aphrodisias: Turkey’s Best-Preserved Ancient City

Despite being one of the best-preserved archaeological sites in Turkey, Aphrodisias remains off the beaten path for most visitors. If you’re looking for something on par with Ephesus but without the crowds, Aydin Province’s Aphrodisias is the place to visit. Walking among the ruins today, the city still exudes luxury. In ancient times, it was a

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Pamukkale Travertines Pamukkale Guide

Pamukkale: The Travertines and Ruins of Hierapolis & Laodicea

Pamukkale, one of Turkey’s most popular travel destinations, is a huge site comprising of two main sections: the travertine pool terraces and the Roman spa town of Hierapolis above them. In the following Pamukkale guide, we’ll be covering everything there is to see, along with the nearby archaeological site of Laodicea. Be sure to check the

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Patara Ancient City

Patara: The Beaches & Ruins of the Ancient Lycian Capital

Patara, located on the coast of western Antalya Province, was one of the most prominent Anatolian cities of antiquity. And today, Patara Ancient City is the perfect place for travelers to relax on the beach and go ruins hopping in the same outing.  Patara was located near the mouth of the Xanthos River – at

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Kayaköy Ghost Town

Wandering Through the Ghost Town of Kayaköy

Tucked away from southwest Turkey’s popular beach resorts is an eerie attraction like no other. The Kayaköy ghost town is not merely a collection of several abandoned buildings, but several hundred. Today, the town remains a haunting reminder of tragic events that transpired throughout the country a century ago. Situated about 8 km south of Fethiye, Kayaköy

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Kekova Island Boat Tour Kaleköy

Kekova Island & Kaleköy: A Boat Tour to the Sunken City

A sunken city, ancient sarcophagi, a Byzantine fortress and scenic turquoise bays are all part of the Kekova Island boat tour, an easy trip from Kaş or Demre. The excursion shouldn’t be missed by those touring Antalya Province, and it’s surprisingly affordable. The full-day trip, including lunch, only cost 100 TL (roughly $15 USD) at the

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Myra Ancient City Demre Guide

A Day in Demre: Lycian Tombs & The Church of Santa Claus

The overlooked town of Demre is worthy of your attention as you make your way across Turkey’s Mediterranean coast. Once a thriving city and prominent member of the Lycian League, Demre was known as Myra in antiquity. In addition to impressive Lycian tombs, Demre is also home to the Church of St. Nicholas, now better

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Mount Chimaera Yanartaş

Olympos & Mount Chimaera: Ruins, Beaches & the Mountain of Fire

Olympos is one of Antalya Province’s most popular tourist towns, albeit with an altogether different vibe from your typical beach resort. Instead of highrise hotels, you’ll find simple rustic accommodation, while the town attracts a younger, largely Turkish crowd. In addition to the ancient ruins along the beach, nearby is the unique Mount Chimaera, known

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Phaselis Ancient City Antalya

Visiting the Seaside Ruins of Phaselis

The ruins of Antalya Province’s Phaselis can be fully explored in under an hour. But the site is also home to multiple beaches, completely unspoiled by high-rise hotels or restaurants. Today, the seaside location of the Roman and Byzantine ruins gives Phaselis a calming and altogether unique atmosphere. Once situated on the border between the kingdoms of Pamphylia

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Aspendos Theater Antalya

Perge & Aspendos Theater: Discovering Greco-Roman Antalya

While it may lack the scenery of mountaintop Termessos or seaside Phaselis, Perge is one of the best places to get a feel for the layout of a Greco-Roman city. Visits are often combined with a trip to nearby Aspendos Theater, which is arguably the best-preserved Roman theater in the world. Perge and Aspendos were

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Termessos Ancient City Antalya

Termessos: Hiking Through the Eagle’s Nest

Just outside of Turkey’s summer tourism capital Antalya is a wholly unique and often overlooked archaeological site. Termessos, built at over 1,000 meters above sea level, was just one of two Anatolian cities that Alexander the Great failed to conquer. Largely untouched and unexcavated since its abandonment, Termessos makes for a challenging yet highly rewarding

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Antalya Marina Antalya Guide

A Day in Antalya: The Gateway to the Turquoise Coast

Antalya, Turkey’s largest city on the Mediterranean coast, is synonymous with tourism. Each summer, millions of visitors arrive to soak up the sea and sun. But for those not cooping themselves up in a private resort, the city center has plenty in store for history, culture and nature lovers. This Antalya guide will cover it all. Antalya

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Çatal Höyük

Çatal Höyük: Visiting One of the World’s Oldest Cities

Çatal Höyük, located 52 km southeast of Konya, was a Neolithic settlement founded over 9,000 years ago. Inhabited continuously for over a millennium, it was one of the largest settlements of its time.  Çatal Höyük’s unique layout isn’t what most people imagine when picturing ancient settlements. It was a surprisingly dense and crowded place, not unlike

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Whirling Dervish Ceremony Konya Guide

A Weekend in Konya: Experiencing the Legacy of Rumi

Konya, one of Turkey’s most significant cities from the medieval period, is still steeped in tradition. It was the capital of the Seljuk Empire’s Sultanate of Rum, and ornate buildings from this period remain standing throughout the bustling city. But most people visit Konya to pay homage to the legendary mystic and poet Rumi, who

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Göreme Open Air Museum

Top 5 Things to Do in Cappadocia (with Sample Itinerary)

Even with a full week in Cappadocia, there’s no way to see it all. And as most visitors only spend three or four full days in the region, planning your trip can be tricky. In the following guide, we’ll be covering the top things to do in Cappadocia that you shouldn’t miss. We’ll then be

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Hot Air Ballooning Over Cappadocia

Hot Air Ballooning Over Cappadocia: Worth It?

When most people think of Cappadocia, the image of colorful balloons floating over a dreamlike landscape is often the first thing that springs to mind. But there are numerous other ways to experience the region’s stunning scenery, and a balloon ride is the most expensive by far. So, does hot air ballooning over Cappadocia really

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Zemi Valley Hiking Cappadocia

Hiking Cappadocia: Zemi Valley & Çavuşin Castle

As exciting as hot air balloons and group tours can be, the best way to explore Cappadocia is on foot. And for those staying in Göreme, there are a surprising number of scenic valleys you can simply walk to from town. In previous guides, we covered some of the longer loop trails in the area. But

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Red Valley Hiking Cappadocia

Hiking Cappadocia: Göreme – Meskendir – Red – Rose – Sword Valleys

Hiking Cappadocia is arguably the best way to take in the region’s surreal landscapes. And it’s also completely free. In this guide, we’ll be covering what’s possibly Cappadocia’s very best loop trail. Starting from Göreme, the hike will take you through Meskendir Valley, Red Valley, Rose Valley and finally Sword Valley – a long but highly rewarding

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Kaymaklı Underground City

Deep Within the Underground Cities of Derinkuyu & Kaymaklı

Millions of years ago in Cappadocia, the ash spewed forth by local volcanoes hardened into a soft stone called tufa. In addition to forming the region’s breathtaking landscapes, tufa deposits also extend far below the ground. And throughout the area’s tumultuous history, inhabitants could simply dig their way out of trouble. What ultimately formed were

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Halfeti Sunken City

Halfeti: The Sunken City of the Euphrates

In the late 1990s, residents of the ancient town of Halfeti, situated on the east bank of the Euphrates, found themselves in a dire predicament. The Birecik Dam was set to flood the town, forcing residents to flee while destroying millennia of cultural heritage. But fortunately, not all was entirely lost. Tourists now flock to

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Zeugma Mosaic Museum Gaziantep

A Day in Gaziantep: The Zeugma Mosaic Museum & More

Gaziantep, with a population of nearly two million, is southeast Turkey’s largest city and among the largest in the country. Like many places in the region, it has a rich history dating back to prehistoric times. Compared to its neighbors, however, it has relatively few landmarks. But the excellent Zeugma Mosaic Museum, which displays some

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Visiting Mt. Nemrut Western Terrace

Visiting Mt. Nemrut & Other Commagene Kingdom Sites

Due to its isolated mountaintop location, Mt. Nemrut’s mysterious stone sculptures and massive artificial mound managed to elude visitors for centuries. But for the past few decades, visiting Mt. Nemrut has been considered the thing to do in southeast Turkey (at least until Göbekli Tepe‘s discovery). Even when compared with other landmarks from its era,

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Soğmatar Ancient City

Soğmatar, Şuayb & the Bazda Caves: Adventures in Şanlıurfa

It shouldn’t come as much of a surprise that Şanlıurfa Province, home to sites like Göbekli Tepe and Harran, has plenty more to see within its borders. Following a morning visit to Karahan Tepe, I arranged for a driver and guide to take me onward to places like Soğmatar Ancient City, Şuayb (Jethro) and the Bazda Caves – all

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Karahan Tepe Keçili Tepe

Karahan Tepe: Even Older Than Göbekli Tepe?

Located within the Tektek Mountains, just east of the Harran Plain, is a site that changes everything we thought we knew about prehistoric civilizations. Karahan Tepe (or Keçili Tepe, as it’s locally known) lies just 46 km southeast of Göbekli Tepe, a site believed to be the world’s very first temple. But archaeologists now suspect

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Beehive Houses Harran Guide

Harran: The Ancient Center of the Sabians

While not much of ancient Harran survives, its atmosphere remains imbued with a sense of magic and mystery. The Mesopotamian city was a former dwelling place of Abraham and home to Anatolia’s first mosque. And it was long a center of stellar worship, remaining one of the ancient world’s last pagan strongholds. In this Harran

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Visiting Göbekli Tepe Enclosure D

Visiting Göbekli Tepe: The Site That Reshaped History

Dubbed the ‘Zero Point of History,’ the discovery of Göbekli Tepe, one of the world’s oldest temples, changed everything we thought we knew about prehistoric peoples. The 12,000-year-old temple complex reveals that not only did ancient humans have the capability to carve and move huge monoliths, but they also possessed intimate knowledge of the cosmos. Visiting Göbekli

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