Turkey’s cities are vastly different, each with its own attractions and unique flavor. Although Turkey’s coastal areas are its main tourist attraction, visitors also flock to the cities to enjoy their historical and cultural attributes.
Istanbul is the city most popular with tourists, due to its wide range of sights, most of which are located around Sultanahmet Square. The Topkapi Palace, home to the Ottoman sultans for almost 400 years, is made up of hundreds of rooms and the luxurious Treasury, with incredible gems, gold and artworks.
The Ayasofya, an ancient Christian church, is one of the most inspiring and important buildings to ever have been built. It has a wide, flat dome that was considered a brave feat of engineering in the 6th century, when it was constructed.
The splendid Blue Mosque, with its six minarets, cascading domes and blue interior tiles, should not be missed. Additionally, the Byzantine Hippodrome, once the venue of sporting events, is now a serene park dotted with monuments, including the 3,500-year-old Egyptian Obelisk of Theodosius.
For a break from historical sightseeing, visit Istanbul’s Grand Bazaar. It offers excellent shopping, with a kaleidoscope of stalls selling beautiful Turkish carpets, glazed tiles and pottery, copper and brass-ware, leather items, cotton and wool, meerschaum pipes and a seemingly endless array of other goods. The fragrant and colorful Egyptian Spice Market is a sensual treat.
Ankara, the Turkish capital, is the bureaucratic hub of the country, but not its most exciting tourist attraction. If you do visit it, the age-old citadel on the hill is now the Museum of Anatolian Civilizations, and makes for an interesting excursion. There are several ancient Roman sites near Ulus Square, including the ruined Temple of Augustus and Rome. Additionally, the impressive Anitkabir and Mausoleum of Kemal Atatürk are also worthwhile attractions.
Antalya, situated at the base of the Taurus Mountains, is the main city on the Mediterranean coast. It has an attractive harbor and a picturesque old town, Kaleiçi, enclosed with Roman walls. The city’s main attractions are the Archaeological Museum and the Yivli Minaret, dating back to the 3rd century