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The Sights And Taste Of Turkey

Turkey occupies a unique geographic position, lying partly in Asia and partly in Europe.

Turkey has a very diverse culture that is a blend of various elements of the Eastern Mediterranean, Western Asia, Central Asia, Middle East, with Eastern European and Caucasian traditions, which started with the Westernisation of the Ottoman Empire and still continues today.

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It is a beautiful country with something for everyone, irrespective of where you come from.

Places

Hagia Sophia Holy Grand Mosque
Formerly known as the Church of Hagia Sophia, the Hagia Sophia Holy Grand Mosque is a Late Antique place of worship in Istanbul, designed by the Greek geometers, Isidore of Miletus and Anthemius of Tralles.

Hagia Sophia Holy Grand Mosque | Image: Dennis Jarvis

It was built as the Christian cathedral of Constantinople for the state church of the Roman Empire between 532 and 537. The church was then the world’s largest interior space and among the first to employ a fully pendentive dome. It is considered the epitome of Byzantine architecture.

In 1453, after the Fall of Constantinople to the Ottoman Empire, it was converted into a mosque. Then in 1935, the secular Turkish Republic established it as a museum. In 2020, it re-opened as a mosque.

The thermal pools of Pamukkale
Pamukkale is a natural site located in Turkey’s Inner Aegean region, in the River Menderes valley, which has a temperate climate for most of the year.

The thermal pools of Pamukkale | Image: backpacklee__

It is one of the most visited sites in Turkey. The area is famous for a carbonate mineral left by the flowing of thermal spring water. Pamukkale has been a spa since the Romans built the spa city of Hierapolis around a sacred warm-water spring. The Antique Pool is still there, littered with marble columns from the Roman Temple of Apollo.

Pamukkale’s terraces are made of travertine, a sedimentary rock deposited by mineral water from the hot springs.

Antalya
Antalya is a Turkish resort city with a yacht-filled Old Harbor and beaches flanked by large hotels. It is a gateway to Turkey’s southern Mediterranean region, known as the Turquoise Coast for its blue waters. The city boasts of luxurious hotels, stunning beaches and an impressive collection of significant historical attractions.

Antalya | Image: budgetyourtrip

Remnants remain from Antalya’s time as a major Roman port. These include Hadrian’s Gate, built to honour the Roman emperor’s visit in 130 AD and 2nd-century Hidirlik Tower, with harbour views.

Cappadocia
Cappadocia, a semi-arid region in central Turkey, is known for its distinctive “fairy chimneys,” tall, cone-shaped rock formations clustered in Monks Valley, Göreme and elsewhere. Other notable sites include Bronze Age homes carved into valley walls by troglodytes (cave dwellers) and later used as refuges by early Christians.

Hot air balloons in Cappadocia | Image: Wanderlust Chloe

Hot-air ballooning is very popular in Cappadocia and is available in Göreme. Trekking is enjoyed in Ihlara Valley, Monastery Valley (Guzelyurt), Ürgüp and Göreme.

The Göreme Open Air Museum is the most visited site of the monastic communities in Cappadocia and is one of the most famous sites in central Turkey. The complex contains more than 30 carved-from-rock churches and chapels, some having superb frescoes inside, dating from the 9th century to the 11th century.

Food
Turks usually prefer a rich breakfast. A typical Turkish breakfast consists of cheese (beyaz peynir, kaşar, etc.), butter, olives, eggs, muhammara, tomatoes, cucumbers, jam, honey, and kaymak, sucuk (a spicy Turkish meat similar to sausages), pastırma, börek, simit, poğaça, fried dough (known as pişi), as well as soups are eaten as a morning meal in Turkey.

Some popular dishes in Turkey include:

Döner kebap
Doner kebab (or döner kebap) is the Turkish name for meat cooked on a vertical spit or rotisserie; the caramelised outer layer of meat is shaved off and served over rice or in a flatbread sandwich.

Doner Kebap | Image: tourism.de

It has evolved from an ancient Middle Eastern cooking technique to a fast-food sandwich beloved around the world. The traditional doner kebab meat is lamb. Today, chicken, veal, turkey, and beef are cooked in the same manner.

Baklava
Baklava is a layered pastry dessert made of filo pastry, filled with chopped nuts, and sweetened with syrup or honey. It was one of the most popular sweet pastries of Ottoman cuisine.

baklava

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