A richly historical land with some of the best cuisine you will ever taste, one of the world’s greatest cities and scenery from white-sand beaches to soaring mountains.
An Epic History When you set foot in Türkiye (Turkey), you are following in the wake of some remarkable historical figures. Ottoman sultans used to luxuriate in İstanbul’s Topkapı Palace, surrounded by fawning courtiers, harem members, eunuchs and riches from an empire stretching from Budapest to Baghdad. Centuries earlier, Byzantine Christians cut cave churches into Cappadocia’s fairy chimneys and hid from Islamic armies in underground cities.
At other points over the millennia, the Hittites built Hattuşa’s stone walls on the Anatolian steppe, Romans coursed down the Curetes Way at Ephesus (Efes), whirling dervishes gyrated with Sufi mysticism, and the mysterious Lycians left ruins on Mediterranean beaches. Turkey has hosted A-list history-book figures including Julius Caesar, who famously ‘came, saw and conquered’ near Amasya, and St Paul, who criss-crossed the country.
Cultural Depth Of course, Turkey’s current inhabitants are just as memorable. The extroverted Turks have most in common – out of all their varied neighbouring countries, from Azerbaijan to Bulgaria – with their hot-blooded southern European neighbours. They’re also, understandably, proud of their heritage, and full of information (though we can’t vouch for its accuracy) about subjects from kilims (flat-weave rugs) to the Aya Sofya’s floating dome. Turkey’s long history has given it a profound depth of culture. Immersing yourself in that culture is as simple as soaking in a Seljuk or Ottoman hamam, eating a kebap and tasting influences brought along the Silk Road, or visiting the ancient ruins scattering the fields, bays and mountains.
Landscapes & Activities The greatest surprise for first-time visitors to Turkey, with its stereotypes of kebaps, carpets and moustachioed hustlers in the bazaar, is the sheer diversity found between its Aegean beaches and eastern mountains. In İstanbul, you can cruise – on the Bosphorus as well as through markets and nightclubs – in a Westernised metropolis offering equal parts romance and overcrowded insanity. In holiday spots such as Cappadocia and the southwestern coasts, mix trekking, horse-riding and water sports with meze savouring on a panoramic terrace. Then there are the less-frequented eastern quarters, where honey-coloured outposts overlook the plains of ancient Mesopotamia, and weather-beaten relics add lashings of lyricism to mountain ranges.
It’s hardly surprising Turkey has attracted so many folk over the centuries. Come and discover their legacy for yourself.
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Ephesus, Bodrum & the South Aegean
While the scenery of the Aegean coast is not as spectacular as that of the Mediterranean, this is the part of Turkey that was once Asia Minor and it is studded with fantastic historic sites, including the ruins of Troy, Ephesus and Pergamum. This is also where you come to see the battlefield sites at Gallipoli.