A Visitor’s Guide To Turkey
Turkey is a country which straddles two continents, being both in Asia and in Europe, with its most famous city Istanbul being located on both sides of the Bosphorus River, which is traditionally considered the divide between the continents. It was also the heartland of the Ottoman Empire which ruled over large territories from the thirteenth century through to its dismantling in 1918 at the end of the First World War. One slightly unusual aspect of Turkey’s history is that it is the real home of Santa Claus, with St Nicholas actually being the Greek Christian Bishop of Myra in the fourth century, who was famous for his generous gifts to the poor.
Turkey is a country where visitors are advised to be cautious by the US State Department, with a continuing threat of terrorism against American economic interests and citizens throughout the country. Following a suicide bomb attack on the US Embassy in Ankara in February 2013, visitors are advised to keep a high level of vigilance and to avoid popular gatherings such as the May Day celebrations in Istanbul’s Taksim Square.
The Best Sights To See In Turkey
Cappadocia – The remarkable scenery of Cappadocia draws visitors throughout the year, with the underground homes chiseled from the rock of the area and the magnificent fairy chimney rock formations which are large stone cones rising from the ground.
Mount Nemrut – Located in the south east of the country this mountain is over two thousand meters in height and is famous for the remarkable statues that surround what is believed to be the tomb of Antiochus I, although many of these statues have been beheaded.
Ani – Located near the border between Turkey and Armenia, this historic abandoned city used to be the capital of ancient Armenia and was home to up to two hundred thousand people in its pomp, while today visitors can see some stunning religious buildings including the huge Ani Cathedral.
Uludag National Park – This high altitude national park is home to some of the most important natural species in the country including the Bearded Vulture and the Golden Eagle, while in the winter it is also one of the most popular skiing areas in the country.
The Religious Buildings Of Istanbul – Having seen many influences over the century, Istanbul has some stunning religious buildings including Hagia Sophia, the Orkatoy Mosque, the Church of St George and the Sultan Ahmed Mosque.
Anitkabir Mausoleum – Located in a prominent site in the city of Ankara, this grand mausoleum is dedicated to the founder of modern Turkey, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, and has an impressive ceremonial guard, beautiful arcades and the broad boulevard known as the Road of Lions.
Oludeniz – With a stunning beach and a beautiful blue lagoon, this is one of the most popular beach resorts in the country, drawing many visitors who want to relax in the sublime surroundings, while it is also a popular destination for paragliding and hiking.
Pamukkale – Literally translated the site’s name means ‘cotton castle’ after the famous white limestone formations in the area, today visitors come to see the remarkable landscape, to visit the abandoned Roman city of Hieropolis and to enjoy the hot springs on the site.
Ephesus – This ancient city is located near the west coast of Turkey, and is home to some stunning Roman ruins, with a grand theater and a Temple of Hadrian, although the Temple of Artemis which was once one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World is only marked by a single column.
Sumela Monastery – One of the most remarkable buildings in the world, this monastery was founded in the fourth century and is built on a narrow ledge on a steep cliff face, with most of the buildings dating from the fourteenth century when the monastery came to prominence.
You may also want to check out the awesome tours offered by Walks of Turkey.
Where To Stay In Turkey
Yasmak Sultan Hotel – With large grand rooms and stylish bathrooms this hotel offers a very high standard of accommodation, and includes features such as an indoor swimming pool, sauna and spa, while also being within walking distance from the Hagia Sophia.
Asmali Hotel – Situated in a pleasant location in the old city, this hotel gives visitors a nicely decorated and pleasant room with attractive bathrooms, while being competitively priced and in a good location for many of the sights of Istanbul.
Ramada Hotel – A pleasant modern hotel that has some nicely decorated rooms with attractive city views, this hotel offers visitors access to a sauna and fitness center, as well as being close to the city center and many of Ankara’s sights.
Doga Residence Hotel – An attractive hotel situated in a quiet neighborhood of the city, visitors can enjoy a sauna, steam room and spa, along with comfortable and traditionally decorated rooms that are also competitively priced.
Beyaz Kale Hotel – Within walking distance from the stunning limestone formations in the town, this hotel has an attractive outdoor swimming pool and wi-fi internet access throughout, and offers comfortable and affordable rooms.
Hal Tur Hotel – The wonderful views over the white cliffs from the balcony are truly beautiful, with the main complex and old Roman settlement just a short walk away, while visitors can enjoy pleasant rooms and an outdoor pool, jacuzzi and fitness center.
Puding Marina Residence – Just a brief walk from the city center and the beach in the old town area of Antalya, this lovely hotel offers visitors luxurious and spacious accommodation with a beautiful patio area including an outdoor pool, jacuzzi and spa.
Hotel Reutlingen Hof – Providing visitors with a good location from which to explore the historic areas of the city, this hotel gives a good view over the city and competitively priced rooms that are ideal for those traveling on a budget.
As one of the traditional crossroads between Europe and Asia, it is no surprise that Turkish cuisine draws on many different influences from the Middle East, the Balkan nations and Central Asia. Kebabs are one of the great exports of Turkish cuisine, and while the doner kebab has become a staple fast food across the world it is still popular in Turkey, while the alinatzik kebab is another tasty alternative. Another traditional dish that is still very popular is karniyarik, which is a dish of eggplant that has been stuffed with several other vegetables and ground meat.
Currency And Visa
The national currency is the New Turkish Lira which became the official currency in 2009 replacing the previous Turkish lira, and at the moment visitors can get just over two Turkish lira for every US dollar. Turkey is a country that is quite open to visitors in terms of its visa rules, and US citizens arriving at any international arrival point in the country can arrange a visa on arrival for trips of up to three months for the fee of twenty US dollars.