Turkey

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

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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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Şanlıurfa Fish Lake Urfa Guide

A Guide to Şanlıurfa: The City of Prophets

With the recent discovery of nearby Göbekli Tepe, the city of Şanlıurfa has been placed firmly on the tourist map. But Urfa, as most people call it, is an essential destination in its own right. In addition to being the likely birthplace of Abraham, Urfa is also home to significant Roman tombs and mosaics. And the new Şanlıurfa Museum,

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Dara Ancient City

Dara Ancient City: Touring the Ruins of a Historic Border Town

Originally built at the border between the Roman and Persian empires, Dara now lies just beside the modern Turkey-Syria border. Located 30 km southeast of Mardin, Dara Ancient City is an overlooked archaeological site from the Byzantine era that shouldn’t be missed while in the region.  In this guide, we’ll be covering the history of Dara, tips

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Midyat Guide

Midyat & Mor Gabriel Monastery: Exploring the Tur Abdin Plateau

Mardin Province’s Midyat is a historic city situated on the plateau of Tur Abdin, or the ‘Mountain of the Servants of God.’ The region is the historic heartland of the Syriac Orthodox Church, and its largest and oldest monastery, Mor Gabriel, attracts scores of visitors to this day. In this Midyat guide, we’ll be covering

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Mardin Guide

A Guide to Mardin: Turkey’s Most Beautiful City

Mardin is arguably Turkey’s most beautiful city. Historically, it shares much in common with nearby Diyarbakır. But Mardin’s elegant limestone buildings help give it an appearance all of its own. The hillside city even offers views of the Mesopotamian plains and northern Syria. In this Mardin guide, we’ll cover the top sights to see in

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Diyarbakır Citadel

Diyarbakır: The Ultimate Guide

Diyarbakır has long been considered a prized possession of the many kingdoms who managed to control it. Due to its strategic location along the Tigris River, it’s been continuously inhabited for thousands of years. And it’s now one of the most historically and architecturally rich cities in Turkey. In the following Diyarbakır guide, we’ll cover

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Çavuştepe Van

Çavuştepe & Hoşap Castle: Archaeological Hidden Gems in Van

Few tourists make it to Van, and even fewer visit the ancient castles of Hoşap and Çavuştepe. But for archaeology and history lovers, that’s a big part of their appeal. If you’re willing to make the effort, there’s a high chance you’ll have each site all to yourself. Hoşap Castle is an impressive fortress which dates back

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Van Castle

Van Castle: Visiting the Former Heart of Urartu

While most ancient fortresses in Turkey only require a few hours to visit, think of Van Castle as a full day outing. Not only is the fortress massive, but it also has a lot more surprises in store than first meets the eye. Van Castle was the headquarters of Urartu, one of the most overlooked

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Ishak Pasha Palace Doğubayazıt

Ishak Pasha Palace: The Opulent Estate at the Edge of an Empire

The small city of Doğubeyazıt, situated alongside Turkey’s border with Iran, is home to one of the finest examples of Ottoman palace architecture. The opulent Ishak Pasha Palace stands at the crossroads of civilizations and accordingly blends together Ottoman, Persian and even European styles. Doğubeyazıt may be a challenge to reach, but the splendor of the palace

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Kars Castle Kars Guide

A Day in Kars: Exploring Turkey’s Eastern Frontier

Nearly everyone who visits Kars does so to see the nearby ruins of Ani, some 40 kilometers to the east. But Kars is a interesting city that’s a worthy destination in its own right. And it can easily be explored on foot in a single day. In the following Kars guide, we’ll be covering the

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Ani Guide

Ani: A Guide to the Lost Armenian Capital

Currently situated within Turkey’s borders, the ancient Armenian capital of Ani is one of the region’s most interesting archaeological sites. Once home to 100,000 people, Ani was among the medieval world’s most magnificent cities. Now, in stark contrast, the site is a somewhat eerie ghost town. But Ani’s impressive architecture remains an inspiration to this

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Uzungöl Trabzon

Uzungöl & Ayder: Discovering Turkey’s Black Sea Region

Turkey’s northeastern Black Sea region, known for its green alpine landscapes, has a look and feel quite unlike anywhere else in the country. The region is rife with scenic lakes and mountain villages to explore. But with the area gaining popularity so quickly, has it been able to maintain its tranquil, traditional atmosphere? I visited the

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