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Turkey, and the Anatolian peninsula on which the country rests, is one of the oldest continuously inhabited regions in the world and the country’s cultural scene completely plays into this little known fact. From the Greeks and Romans to the Mongols and Ottomans, the list of empires that have reigned supreme in this region is quite impressive and everything from their museums and galleries to the architecture and cuisine is evidence enough to the fact that Turkey is rich culturally and historically.

As we always stress, it is nearly impossible to see and do everything that a country offers. However, we can assure you, with this abridged guide that you will see the top most ranted and raved-about destinations within Turkey:

Istanbul: Istanbul, the largest city of Turkey, yells out Ottoman Empire like very few other places. The most stimulating areas within the city are conveniently located in Sultanahmet Square. Make sure you visit the Topkapi Palace which was home to Ottoman sultans for almost 400 years! Of course, another infamous site is the Ayosofya, better known as the Hagia Sophia, to catch glimpses of one of the most intricate and breath-taking mosaics seen by mankind! The Galata Bridge and Tower are architecturally ingenious structures that one cannot miss and, of course, the Dolmabahce Palace is a marvel that is simply irresistible, in terms of culture and history.

Ephesus: Ranked the Best-preserved classical city on the Aegean or Mediterranean, this city is truly a site that will take your breath away, weather you are a history buff or not! From the Library of Celsus to the Temple of Artemis, even if you know absolutely nothing about Roman history, Ephesus will transform you into a follower and a fan!

Cappadocia: If all the other locations in Turkey were aesthetically breath-taking, when visiting Cappadocia, be sure to carry an oxygen tank with you because this is the most visually fantastic location in all of Turkey! Be sure to take a hot-air balloon ride through this region before exploring it by foot, it will give you a marvelous glimpse of the “moonscape” area around Urgup, Goreme, Uchisar, Avanos, and Sinasos. When on foot, also be sure to take a tour of one of the many caves; these caves include churches, music halls, and even hotels and restaurants! These underground cities, as officially labeled, are truly a spectacle worth visiting as they are far less primitive than one can imagine! In Cappadocia, we can witness how modern life intersects traditional just as smoothly as we witnessed this marriage in large cities such as Istanbul.

As much as we are advocates of self-guided tours, because of Turkeys rich historical and cultural history, we promote guided tours more often than not in this country’s case. The tour guides are exceptionally efficient, and just as the inhabitants, are friendly, courteous, and supportive in your vacationing needs, whether they are strictly pleasure, strictly intellectually stimulating, or a delightful mixture of both. Local tour guides can be found essentially in all corners, even. The resorts and hotels are hot-spots for these guides as well. To end this session of abridged adventures, we hope that this month’s profile has served as a catalyst to a decision to visit Turkey because we ensure you that it be filled with historical, culinary, cultural, and entertaining attractions and excursions! As the Turks may say, “İyi yolculuklar! Güle, güle!”

Copyright © 2002 Shivam Travel