Why I Love Turkey and Why You Should Visit it Too

Published on June 02, 2016

Turkey plays host to a unique blend of cultures, colors, scents, and tastes. Why do I love Turkey so much? It’s hard for me to define. My enthusiasm for this magnificent part of the world has continued for over a decade now. I just can’t stop myself from returning to my favorite travel destination. Here are just some of the reasons why Turkey truly is my home away from home:

Istanbul

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If you’re visiting stunning Istanbul  for the first time, it is best to choose accommodation in Sultanahmet, the heart of the historical city. This ensures that you are less than 10 mins away from some of Istanbul’s top cultural attractions.

Hagia Sophia, which literally translates to the “Holy Wisdom,” is one of the world’s most beautiful churches. The building’s magnificent interior, which is adorned with mosaics and marble slabs will leave you speechless. But don’t take my word for it, go there and check it out for yourself!

Istanbul also prides itself on some of the most beautiful mosques in the world. My personal favorite is The Blue Mosque, also known as the “Sultanahmet Camii” or “Sultan Ahmet Mosque,” the largest and most magnificent mosque in Istanbul. It is a true masterpiece of Ottoman architecture. Also, the historic Topkapi Palace will leave you feeling like a sultan because this was the actual residence of Ottoman rulers and the former seats of government of the empire. I would also recommend a visit to Basilica Cistern, which is the largest of various ancient cisterns that lie beneath the city, and the city’s world-renowned Archaeological Museum, a group of 3 archeological museums that are known to house the most distinguished and artistic treasures from the Topkapı collections.

But the Turkish city isn’t all about culture and history, hip and modern Istanbul is only 10 mins away from Sultanahmet if you use public transport. Galata, Beyoğlu, and Taksim-platz are pulsating with life. Nights in Istanbul are nothing less than magical. A night out in Istanbul blends modernity with traditionalism and there really is something for everybody to enjoy. Don’t forget to see the remarkable Dolmabahçe Palace, enjoy the view of greenery, domes, and minarets of Old Istanbul alongside the impressive Yalı houses which date back to the 19th C. There’s so much to see and do in Istanbul and whatever you choose to do, I’m almost certain you’ll enjoy it immensely.

 

Cappadocia

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In the heart of Anatolia, you’ll find a place so unique and enchanting, you’ll wonder whether you passed through a hidden portal and found yourself in a magical fairyland or on some undiscovered planet. The beautiful structures at Cappadocia were formed many years ago by volcanic eruptions. The deposited ashes calcified into a buttery soft rock known as tuff. Over time weather worked its magic to create the unique ‘fairy’ chimneys alongside other odd shapes and structures. The area is also home to the famous Göreme Open-Air Museum and the underground shelters of Derinkuyu and Kaymaklı. Cappadocia is also an ideal place for a hiking or cycling tour. It really is staggeringly beautiful.


 

Ephesus and South Aegean

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One of the reasons why I keep on returning to Turkey is because this country is my idea of a perfect summer vacation. The natural, cultural and historic riches found in the area will steal your heart. The ruins of Ephesus, the ancient ports Priene and Miletus, Temple of Didyma will give you a chance to witness 4,000 yrs of history. The cities of Marmaris, Kuşadası and Bodrum are home to some of the most beautiful seaside getaways on the planet. I also love Pamukkale where the white limestone rocks, a result of the calcium-rich waters, will leave you dazzled. However, it is important to remember that only certain pathways are allowed for use.

 

Bazaars

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The Great Bazaar, otherwise known as KapalıÇarşı, is the pulsating heart of the old city center in Sultanahmet. Travel through a labyrinth of picturesque alleyways and prepare to be tempted by the beautiful wares of display. The Bazaar is home to an array of oriental carpets, quality leather, fine fabrics, antiques and beautiful jewelry.

Also, a book flea market called Sahaflar Çarşısı consists of some 50 bookstores dating back to 15th C. The spirit of Byzantium, the yellow pages and the smell of old books add to the unique atmosphere in this readers’ paradise.

Apart from Istanbul’s bazaars, there are also a string of colorful markets in different parts of the city, and one shouldn’t miss the opportunity to check them out. Depending on the location they sell a variety of fruits and vegetables, textile and household goods, second hand treasures or even expensive antiques.

 

Food

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The delights of Turkish cuisine! The country offers a tasty mix of street food and traditional Turkish food. Why not start your meal in a restaurant with a Turkish Cay tea and Turkish bread before sampling a yummy Beyti Sarma Kebab – the simple and appetizing meal consisting of grilled meat with tomatoes rolled in fine dough and served with yogurt? If you’re a vegetarian you can enjoy the delicious dolması, which is a traditional eggplant and red peppers stuffed with rice and herbs. For dessert try some delicious Turkish sweets such aslokum and akide. You might even want to treat yourself to a tasty slice of local baklava. The delicious pastry blends butter, filo pastry, sugar, and nuts to create a magical taste explosion. Also, the dondurma, a Turkish ice cream, and the fırın sütlaç, a delicious rice pudding are a must try!

There are so many factors that make Turkey a treasured destination. Check out our trips in Turkey and get ready for the perfect summer trip!