Turkey is one of the most historical countries in the world. You will find plenty of palaces, ancient monuments, ruins of old cities, and even walk the path of saints. Plenty of historical events occurred in Turkey. Istanbul used to be Constantinople, the capital of the Roman Empire. The city of Troy where the Trojan Wars occurred can be found in Turkey as well. Historical figures such as Homer, Aesop, St. Paul, and even Saint Nicholas (yes, Santa Clause) were born in Turkey.
Many biblical events also occurred in Turkey. Plenty of holy sites can be found here. People often make pilgrimages here because of that. It’s clear to see that Turkey holds many wonders and is worth visiting. That said, here are eight things you should do if you ever plan to visit Turkey:
Visit the historical region of Cappadocia.
If you follow plenty of travel accounts on Instagram, you have likely seen pictures of Cappadocia before. When you search Cappadocia on Instagram, you’ll see sunsets, amazing landscapes, and tons of hot air balloons all lifting off at once. Although Cappadocia already looks breath-taking from your screen. Pictures don’t capture enough of Cappadocia’s beauty. Being there in person is so much more different than just looking at it through an image. You can even experience riding the hot air balloons yourself and see the beauty of Cappadocia from a bird’s eye view.
Admire the Dolmabahce Palace.
The Dolmabahce Palace is where the last Ottoman Empire Sultans resided. It is known to be one of the most glamorous palaces in the world, maybe even more enchanting than Buckingham. It has over 285 rooms, 43 salons, and a 4000kg chandelier. Every inch of the palace is covered in detailed architectural designs and paintings. Not a single wall or ceiling is plain or boring. It’s everything you would expect from a sultan’s palace.
Buy a carpet from the Grand Bazaar.
Aside from having great history and incredible architecture, Turkey is also known for selling great carpets. And you can find some Turkish rugs at the Grand Bazaar. You’ll find almost anything there: jewelry, textiles, ceramics, Turkish lamps, kilims, spices, hookahs, soap, and of course, Turkish delights. And take note that if you bring a carpet home, you’ll need to know how to get it cleaned properly. If the carpet you buy happens to be the traditional handwoven ones, you’ll want to be careful with them. To not damage them, consider getting expert carpet cleaning for them instead of cleaning them yourself.
Take a tour of the Blue Mosque.
The Blue Mosque or the Sultanahmet Camii is the large mosque that you usually see in the movies. It’s called the Blue Mosque because of the blue tiles that surround the interior of the mosque. It is a popular tourist attraction in Istanbul. It is still an active mosque, so it isn’t accessible to non-worshippers when the five daily prayers are ongoing.
Eat your way through the Spice Bazaar.
The Spice Bazaar and the Grand Bazaar are two different bazaars. So don’t get them confused. The Spice Bazaar is the second most famous shopping area in Turkey next to the Grand Bazaar. Although it is smaller, it can get just as busy. The main difference between the two is that the Spice Bazaar (as its name suggests) focuses more on selling spices and other food. There are not many souvenirs that can be found here aside from food. So if you’re looking to try Turkey’s fantastic street food, the Spice Bazaar is the place to be.
Go on a Biblical journey to Ephesus.
Ephesus is mentioned in the Bible multiple times. Saint Paul was mentioned to have journeyed to Ephesus and stayed there for two years. Plenty of Catholics also visit Ephesus to go on a pilgrimage and walk the same path Saint Paul was said to have taken. Today, Ephesus is one of UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites. The ruins of the famous Temple of Artemis (one of the seven wonders of the world) can also be found here.
Cruise above the Kekova Island Sunken Ruins.
Visit the Kekova Islands, where the ruins of the sunken city of Simena waits. The waters here are crystal clear, so you can get a good view of the ruins even from the boat. They have boats with glass bottoms, so you get to see every inch of the ruins.
Pay your respects at the House of the Virgin Mary.
The house of the Virgin Mary is said to be in Turkey. Plenty of Catholics visit Mt. Koressos to pay their respects at what is said to be the home of the Virgin Mary. This is where they believe Mary spent the last years of her life.
Although we’ve only listed eight things to do, there are so much more things to see and experience in Turkey. For more ideas on where to visit and what to do in Turkey, click here.