Culture

Four cities of beautiful Turkey

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Turkeys large size and its unique location of crossing the border of Europe and Asia has led to it being a sought-after destination throughout history and modern times alike. All across Turkey, there are ancient and contemporary cities as well as some that have evolved as time has marched forward.

 

Istanbul

Istanbul is a city that has been around for generations, it has had many names across different cultures starting with the less known Lygos, to then become Byzantium. From here the city gained the name Constantinople after Constantine the Great who was emperor at the time. Later the city was renamed Istanbul, in line with using modern Latin script instead of Arabic scripture. As a result of the influences of these many cultures,there are a variety of attractions that can be seen all across the city.

One of the leading places to visit is the Ayasofya Museum. This museum was originally built as a church and later converted to be used as a mosque. Nowadays it is used as a museum to display collections from its history as well as items from nearby points of interest.

Konya

The city of Konya is famous across the world but holds a special place for all Turkish people. Whirling Dervishes of the Mevlevi Order call this city home and are an icon that draws tourists from far and wide. The act of whirling is called Sufi Whirling (or Sufi Turning) and is a form of meditation used in worship ceremonies.

Within the City is a public park on a raised area called Alaaddin Hill, this destination is the home of a country-wide famous mosque which bears the same name as the park. This mosque was originally built as a Christian Basilica but was converted into a mosque during the Seljuk Empire. While being a converted building it has undergone major reconstruction until its final additions completed during the Ottoman Empire when a traditional minaret and marble mihrab were added and the entrance was moved to the east side. The east wing of the mosque have Byzantine and Hellenistic style columns which offer a balanced contrast between the different cultures while allowing for an welcoming space.

This mosque is the resting place for a succession of sultans. Following inscriptions found within the mosque and historical understanding, it was considered the mosque for royalty. This is highlighted even more so by the ornate designs within the building itself and the fact that the sultan who converted it is buried within.

Antalya

This metropolis is a popular tourist destination. From all over Turkey and the world people come to this bustling city both for summer beach holidays as well as for relief from the busyness of big city life. The city of Antalya has beautiful harbours that give way to sandy beaches with all-inclusive hotels, with private sections that allow for a safe environment for children.

Antalya’s city centre is particularly popular amongst Turkish people and expats due to its ultra-modern shopping malls. While the city is known for its modernization efforts this doesn’t take away from the history. Major landmarks have been protected from being developed and now stand as a reminder of the origins of the region. One landmark that stands out it Hadrian’s Gate, this triple arched gate was created in commemoration of Emperor Hadrian’s visit to the ancient city that is now known as modern Antalya.

Another reason that Antalya has gained a large popularity is that outside of the city are many different historical destinations that are a must-see if you find yourself in this area of Turkey. One that has been gaining fame each year is Olympos. This ancient city is an unusual destination for visiting, the local area has been kept as natural as possible while also maintaining but not changing the ruins of the once great ancient city. Due to this preservation effort, it has become a popular place for gulet cruises to stop. Alaturka Cruises uses this breathtaking location as its final destination allowing for an unforgettable end to a relaxing cruise.  

Ephesus

This ancient city was originally a Greek municipality eventually to be conquered by the Lycians. After a time of peace and prosperousness the city was eventually taken over by the Romans. After the splitting of the Roman empire that created the Byzantine empire, it prospered until the Ottomans ultimately took the country that is known as Turkey. Due to the rise of the nearby harbour of Seljuk and Ephesus’ own harbour silting up the city was eventually abandoned and left to become the ruins that we see today.

Amongst all of the spectacular ruins, one of the ruins remains as only a facade of the original building but is famous across the world and throughout history. The Library of Celsus is no longer a full building, however from the foundations and the facade it is clear to see the size and splendour of what gained its title as one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. 

A country the size of Turkey that has straddled the continents of Asia and Europe while also having many cultures share in its history and culture, makes this an incredibly interesting destination for your next holiday. Combine the heritage with the natural beauty and spectacular beaches and it is easy to see why Turkey is an ever increasingly popular holiday destination that should be visited at least once in a lifetime. 

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She is a health/beauty expert, and freelance blogger from FL. She contributes to local, regional, and international publications on the topics of Health, Fitness, and Beauty.

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