Turkey has so much to offer her visitors; breath taking natural beauties, unique historical and archaeological sites, steadily improving hotel and touristic infrastructure and a tradition of hospitality and competitive prices. Therefore, it is not surprising that this country has recently become one of the world’s most popular tourism destinations.
Due to Turkey’s diverse geography, one can experience four different climates in any one day. The rectangular shaped country is surrounded on three sides by three different seas. Its shores are laced with beaches, bays, coves, ports, islands and peninsulas. The summers are long, lasting as long as eight months in some areas. Turkey is also blessed with majestic mountains and valleys, lakes, rivers, waterfalls and grottoes perfect for winter and summer tourism and sports of all kinds. Skiing fans, mountain climbers, trekkers, hikers and hunters can enjoy new and unforgettable experiences in Turkey.
Turkey is, above anything else, a huge open-air museum, a repository of all the civilizations nurtured by the soils of Anatolia. The huge amount of historical and archaeological wealth in Turkey seems more appropriate for an entire continent than a single country. Recently, a new field of tourism has opened up: health tourism. The country is in fact rich with hot springs, healing waters and healing muds, which come highly recommended by the medical authorities as a remedy for many diseases.
For centuries, Turkey has also been a crossroads of religions, not only of Islam and Christianity, but also of many others now forgotten by history. Many religious devotees can find a site, a shrine, a monument, a tomb or a ruin connected with their faith or belief.
ISTANBUL: A fascinating city built on two Continents, divided by the Bosphorus Strait. This is one of the greatest cities in the world where you can see a modern western city combined with a traditional eastern city, it’s a melting pot of many civilizations and different people. Istanbul is also announced by the European Union as the 2010 European Capital of Culture. It is one of the richest cities in historical background, as well as one of the most beautiful, enchanting and alive cities of the world. It has an atmosphere of its own with its life-style, people and numerous attractions. In Istanbul you will have to be generous with time since it has so much to show. The old palaces, the great mosques with soaring minarets, ancient churches, museums, bazaars, the Istanbul Strait and others are wonderful sites worth seeing.
GOCEK: Legends claim that Gocek is also the hometown of Icarus, who flew to the sun but fell down to his death according to mythology.It is also believed that Gocek served as the main port town of Lycia in the times of Strabo and Herodotus. Today, Gocek hosts 6 significant marinas that serve the yacht tourism in the region. A prominent characteristic of the town is the fact that it harbors islands and coves located in a large and secluded bay. Owing to its location, it naturally enjoys a high potential for yacht tourism. Gocek became known to groups of artists and poets and to some fisherman from Bodrum as a result of their cruising along the Turkish Turquoise Coast, a journey later called the “Blue Voyage”. Gocek coves and the 12 Islands, which are described as a hidden paradise, with clean Mediterranean water, green pine forests and beaches, have rendered Gocek an indispensable destination.
CESME: The Cesme Peninsula, lapped by the waters of the Aegean Sea, lies west of Izmir, in Turkey’s Aegean region. Cesme, meaning fountain, derives from the many sources of water found in the area. It is one of Turkey’s most beautiful stretches, surrounded by clear blue seas, with landscapes of cultivated fields of aniseed, sesame and artichokes dotted with fig and gum trees. In the un-spoilt bays you can swim in absolute peace. The bay here is ideal for water sports, especially windsurfing and sailing; there is even an International Windsurfing Race held every year in Cesme and Alacati, apart from Bodrum. The thermal baths around Ilica are very popular. . In 146 AD the Greek geographer Pausanius described these mineral springs as the ‘sea springs’ and claimed that their therapeutic effects were superior to any other spa in Ionia.
BODRUM: A world renowned holiday and entertainment peninsula, Bodrum is a paradise for its climate, sea, natural beauty, magnificent coves and history, as well as for its modern nightlife where the show goes on until sunrise. Its many resorts and hotels cater for every need of their visitors. Since the dawn of the time, Bodrum, known in antiquity as Halircarnasus, has amazed human beings, and carried imprint of many cultures and civilizations, including the Carian, Leleges’, Persian, Dorian, Helen, Roman, Byzantine, and Ottoman.
FETHIYE: In history Fethiye was known as the “Untouched Virgin of the Lands Lights” and today it is as if all the magnificence of the entire Mediterranean was concentrated in the bay of Fethiye : Its islands ,coves, long sandy beaches, and the entire riches of its history and natural beauty are before you to explore. The most impressive ancients ruins, the best sites for paragliding and water sports, most magnificent bays and beaches come together at Fethiye, along with mouth watering gastronomy. Oludeniz is the archetypal picture-postcard beach backed by dramatic pine-clad hills. Literally translated as ‘dead sea’, the stunning lagoon is a protected area, ensuring that its natural beauty is preserved. Paragliding is a big draw with the descent from the Babadag mountains to land on Belcegiz beach, rating as one of the best in the world. The ancient name of Fethiye, which was a coastal city at the borders of Lycia-Caria, is Telmessos. There is not definite information about the foundation of this Ancient city. According to the first written records, it has come into existence in the 5th century B.C. Telmessos, separate from Lycia, survived as an independent city for a long time. The city experienced the rule of Persia, Alexander the Great, Rome, Pergamum Kingdom, Byzantium, Menteşeoğulları Principality and Ottoman State respectively.
KAS: Kas is a lovely spot surrounded by mountains. When you feel like exploring further, the choice of coves, bays and beaches is almost endless. The area around Kas has remained completely unspoiled. Kaş is perfect for the diver who wants to explore the underwater world. Since it sone of the best diving sites in the world. The area around Kas belongs to the Top 100 diving destinations worldwide. This is because this area have an high amount of underwater life, combined with very clear water ( up to 40 meters visibility ) and beautiful underwater landscapes.There are around 30 different dive spots. The town itself is very picturesque. Visiting the theatre and the Lycian tombs, the largest of which is in the centre of town, will help you relive the days when it was called Antiphellos.
KEKOVA: On its northern side there are the partly sunken ruins of Dolchiste/Dolikisthe, an ancient town which was destroyed by an earthquake during the 2nd century. Rebuilt and still flourishing during the Byzantine Empire period, it was finally abandoned because of Arab incursions. Simena is a popular Lycian site, situated upon one of the most attractive spots of the Turkish coast. The name “Kekova” is Turkish for “plain of thyme’’.
ANTALYA: The Antalya Region, offering all the mysticism of past in our day, is now called the “Turkish Riviera” due to its archaeological and natural beauties. Antalya is the place where sea, sun, history and nature constitute a perfect harmony and which also includes the most beautiful and clearest coast along the Medditerranean. The city still preserves its importance as a centre throughout history in the south coast of the country, in addition to its wonderful natural beauties. The mythological city which housed the Gods and Goddesses now exhibits all its secrets and marvels to mankind.
EPHESUS: The first establishment of the antique City of Ephesus within the boundaries of Selçuk district of Izmir province dates back to 6000 BC, to the Neolithic age. During the researches and excavations, settlements from the Bronze Age and Hittite period were found in the tumuluses around Ephesus (pre-historic tumulus settlements) and on the Ayasuluk Hillwhere the castle stands. During the Hittite period the city was named as ‘Aphasas’. The harbour city Ephesus where also immigrants from Greece settled moved to the neighbourhood of the Artemis Temple in 560 BC. Ephesus which is being visited by many tourists today was founded by Lysimakhos, one of the generals of Alexander the Great in the year 300 BC. Ephesus which experienced its most glorious days during the Hellenisticand Roman Ages had a population of 200.000 as the capital and the biggest harbour city of the Asian province. Ephesus changed place during the Byzantine period again and moved to the Ayasuluk Hill in Selçuk where the antique city was originally found. Ayasuluk which was invaded by Turks in 1330 and became the centrum of Aydınoğulları started to get smaller and was given the name Selçuk after the foundation of the Turkish Republic in 1923. Today it is a touristic place with a population of 30.000 people. The remains of Ephesus are situated in a large area since the city changed many places throughout its history. Many excavations, restorations and reorganizations have been carried out within the remains spread over an area of about 8 km², and it is open to tourist visit.
NEMRUT: At the junction of the East and West civilisations, Mount Nemrut is one of the most astounding sites in Turkey: A collection of colossal statues on a remote mountain 2150m high, adorning the temple and tomb of King Antiochus. Unknown until 1881 when an Ottoman geologist discovered these 10 metre-high stone heads, archaeological work began in 1953 to uncover their history. Nemrut Dağı has since been a significant attraction, with thousands sunrise and sunset visitors to see the stones in the best possible light. It has been designated a World Cultural Heritage site by UNESCO, and is one of the most important National Parks in the country.
CAPADOCCIA: It is a stunning area of other-worldly rock formations, subterranean churches and underground dwellings, the scale of which is over-whelming. The area is also famous for its carpet-weaving, wines and the distinctive red pottery of the Avanos area. Cappadocia was a refuge for the early Christians, who escaped persecution by living and worshipping underground. There are an estimated 3000 rock churches in this region, not all of which are open to the public The village of Göreme itself is at the heart of the area’s tourist industry, and many of its villagers still live in cave dwellings, some of which have been converted into pensions. Surrounding the area are the amazing rock formations known evocatively as Peri Bacaları or ‘Fairy Chimneys’.
PAMUKKALE: The stunning white calcium pools, which cling to the side of a ridge, have long been one of the most famous picture postcard views of Turkey. Pamukkale, literally meaning “cotton castle”, is also the site of the ancient city of Hierapolis of which there are many interesting ruins. Pamukkale was formed when a spring with a high content of dissolved calcium bicarbonate cascaded over the edge of the cliff, which cooled and hardened leaving calcium deposits. This formed into natural pools, shelves and ridges, which tourists could plunge and splash in the warm water.