If you have never been to Turkey before, you might have been missing out on some of the greatest world-famous historic places on the planet. Being in the heart of human civilization, it is understandable why Turkey will always stand out as the undisputed world largest home for historic sites. Below are some of the best places that you should not fail to visit next time you hit Turkey.
THE SULTAN AHMED MOSQUE (THE BLUE MOSQUE)
The ancient mosque owes its name to the 14th Ottoman Sultan Ahmed. Its construction commenced in 1609 and it took seven years before it was completed. The Byzantine emperors’ palace was demolished to create site for the construction of the mosque. It got the name ‘Blue Mosque’ from the color of the tiles of the interior. The most attractive feature of the mosque is its beautiful domes that hang down from the main central dome. On the mosque’s front are the tombs of Ahmed 1 and his family members.
Also known as the Church of St Sophia, Hagia Sophia is one of Turkey’s major tourist attractions. It was constructed in 360 AD during the rule of Byzantine Emperor Constantine 11. It was destroyed in different occasions mostly during wars and earthquakes but still remains to be among the earliest churches.
Ephesus is among the oldest sites as there is evidence that it has been in existence ever since 6000BC. It was one of the 12 cities of the Ionian league and it was occupied by different people, including Persians and Romans as time went by. The greatest it ever got to be is being the second largest city, after Rome, during the Roman period with more than 250000 inhabitants. It was an important trading and religious city and, during ancient times, was situated by the seaside with a natural harbor. However, the harbor gradually silted up making it less important a trading center and it was ultimately abandoned in the 15th century. The layout of the city can still be seen in the site with streets, buildings, temples and the great Library of Celsus.
Side was one of the earliest settlements in Anatolia with a good natural harbor which made it a prominent trading center in the region. It owes its name to Sida, daughter of Danaus. Side endured many occupations through its history but never lost its class as it, for a long time, remained an important cultural center. Most of its remains that are seen today date to Roman times. Excavation of Side started in 1947 and is still in progress. Some of the most important sites in Side include a museum and a theater which had a sitting capacity of 15000 people. Later, though, the theatre was turned to a church. Most of its features have been lost but some, such as its walls, have been well preserved.
This was the main residence of the Sultans of the Ottoman Empire from 1465 to 1856. It is situated in Istanbul. Sultan Mehmed commissioned its construction in 1459 after capturing the Byzantine city of Constantinople and renaming it Istanbul. It owes its name ‘Topkapi’ to the extinct Topkapi Gate and shore pavilion. In 1921, the Ottoman Empire came to an end resulting to Topkapi Palace losing its importance and ultimately being transformed to a museum. It also endured a number of occupations over its history and is one of the monuments that make up the Historic Areas of Istanbul together with the blue mosque and the Hagia Sophia.