For sure this has happened to you too or still happens, you live in a place for a while, or forever, and there is always something you haven’t yet seen or experience. We have the same problem. While we lived in Turkey we explored many places, but unfortunately, we missed other places that we would have liked to visit: work, the country’s situation, time and other plans got in our way. This only means one thing: we have to go back even if it is only to see these places. Here is a list of the places that we would have loved to see and our reasons, you shouldn’t miss them.
Located on the southeast border of the country, Mardin has resisted from us the most. It became a protected area in 1979 although the city has first ruins from 4000 B.C. So it is inevitable that it is a cultural gem as it is, a strategic place for civilizations and religions (like Christianity), it was Seat of the Orthodox Patriarchate of Antioch until 1959. But what we were attracted to was its architecture. Built with yellow stones from the area, with narrow streets that don’t seem to exist at first glance. You can also visit multiple Assyrian monasteries like Deyrulzafaran or Mor Gabriel.
What make us want to go to this area is the lake, the biggest in the country; and there is no better place to see it than from the Akdamar island with Armenian church as its main attraction. The city has been rebuilt after the fierce battle between Armenians, Russians, and Turks. But if you go into the city of Van you can’t avoid visiting Van castle, don’t forget to go by Hasasp castle either in the strategic road to Iran.
It is impossible to leave Trabzon out of this list if you like nature you can find here the caves of Cal Magarasi and Altindere Vadisi National Park, although the most tourist spot of the area is the Greek Orthodox monastery of Sumela at 1200 meters carved in the mountain.
The history of mount Nemrut can’t leave you careless, King Antioco built this funeral mausoleum for himself among the Gods. Unfortunately, earthquakes in the area through centuries left those Gods headless and away from their thrones as Antioco designed. Although those heads measure between 2 and 3 meters each, they were forgotten for centuries (locals didn’t forget of course), and they were rediscovered in 1881, the fact that they are at 2150 meters high might have something to do with that. They became UNESCO World Heritage in 1987.
5.Urfa (o Senliurfa)
Like the rest of the region (cities between Euphrates and Tigris), it is a city granted with beeing the place of passage of as many civilizations as you can imagine.It was also the place of birth of the Patriarch Abraham (or Ibrahim for Muslims) a prophet for all the three major monotheistic religions. Don’t miss Halil-ur-Rahman mosque and next to it Abraham’s pond full of legends and the old town and of course, have a taste of an Urfa kebab.
If you look Gaziantep in Google all you see would be articles about the horrors this city is suffering so close to the Syrian border. The highlight is its citadel, but we would visit just for its renown baklavas.
Another trip just for its nature, it is a sleeping volcano of 5165 meters (the highest mountain in Turkey) in which, according to the Bible, Noah’s Ark strand after the flood. This mountain is also the natural border between Turkey, Iran, and Armenia.
Yes, we didn’t go to Ephesus, we don’t know how this happened either. We wanted to go as it has the best remains of Asia Minor, you can find Artemisia’s temple, one of the 7 Wonders of the Ancient World, but now there is almost nothing of this temple. However, Celso’s Library and the Great Theater are in great shape.
Ruins. That is all you’ll see in Troy, ruins after ruins. In fact, it is unknown if this was the actual time where Troy war occurred, what it is known is that both Greeks and Romans believed it was and that is good enough. But in addition to the famous war, they have discovered remains of different civilizations one on top of the other (up to 9 levels). It became UNESCO World Heritage in 1998 and of course, there is a replica of Troy’s horse too.
What would take us to Adana is not other than its delicious kebab if we were crazy about them in Istanbul, how would we miss in its original place? But if you want a more cultural trip you can also visit Yilenli Kale castle, the Stone Bridge built by Adriano II or Sabanci mosque, the biggest of Turkey that resemblances the Blue Mosque.
Over a year and a half in the country and we never visited its capital, so it is on this list. This is an administrative capital and besides visiting the citadel dated from the Hittites the most remarkable place is the Atatürk Mausoleum, on November 10th (when his death is commemorated) it is a hard task to get inside.
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