Top 7 Attractive Places to Visit in Turkey
Turkey, which straddles the European and Asian continents, is one of the most preferred travel destinations in the world. It features a beautiful Mediterranean Sea shoreline, mesmerizing natural beauty, many historical landmarks, wonderful food, and a friendly population. There are plenty of reasons to choose Turkey as your next travel destination.
Turkish people are known for being among the world’s friendliest and most generous hosts. If you go into any store, you’ll almost certainly be offered complimentary samples, tea, and perhaps even an invitation to be their guest for dinner.
You will be amazed by the natural beauty of the north part of the country which is a visual treat for any nature lover with green hills, lakes, and rivers.
Turkey’s location on the Mediterranean Sea, east of Greece, makes it an obvious choice for a beach vacation. Its southern coastline is home to not only beautiful beaches with calm turquoise waters excellent for bathing but also historic sites and a variety of activities ranging from mountaineering to scuba diving.
A fun fact about Turkey is that most people assume that Istanbul is the capital of it. Actually, Ankara is the capital of Turkey, not Istanbul. Istanbul, which is previously called “Byzantium”, is the largest city in Turkey. The name then changed to “Constantinople” in 324 and was renamed Istanbul in 1930.
Top 7 Attractive Places to Visit in Turkey from My Personal Experience
My name is Roderick Harris and I am writing to share my personal experiences with you. I recently visited Turkey, one of the top recommended holiday destinations by 456lifestyles.com, and stayed there from February to the first week of April in 2022.
I have experienced mixed types of weather during my stay in Turkey. The weather was so freezingly cold and there was a lot of snowfall in February and in early March. However, the weather was getting warmer at the end of March. I have stayed in the neighborhood of Kadiköy in the city of Istanbul. Now, let’s check the top 7 attractive places to visit in Turkey, and surely you are not going to miss these spots too!
1. Hagia Sophia – A Christian Patriarchal Cathedral or A Mosque?
Hagia Sophia is located in the European part of the city of Istanbul in the Sultanahmet (Old Town) district, near Topkapi Square. Its total area of it is 7570 meters and the huge dome is 31.612 meters in diameter and 55 meters in height from the base.
It was rebuilt on Emperor Justinian’s instructions in 537 and served as the heart of Orthodox Christianity for 900 years until the Ottomans conquered the city and converted it into a mosque in 1453. The Hagia Sofia remained the main mosque of the city until the early twentieth century when the Turkish government secularized it and converted it into a museum in 1935.
It was included in the Historic Areas of Istanbul World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1985. It is reclassified as a mosque by the Turkish Council of State and President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in July 2020.
What To See?
- Striking interior with huge columns, marble-covered walls, mosaic ornaments
- Numerous ornate doorways such as the Nice door, the Emperor door, and the Marble door
- Sacred Relics of Hz. Jesus
- Devil’s prison
- Wishing column, which is believed to have miraculous healing properties
- Calligraphy from the holy Quran
2. Otağtepe Park – View of Fatih Sultan Mehmet Bridge
The Otağtepe park is located in Beykoz village, which is on Istanbul’s Asian side. The Ottoman army’s camp was known as “Otağ” in history, while the hill was known as “Tepe” in Turkish. When these two Turkish words are combined, the result is “Otağtepe.”
This Park got this name for a reason. In 1391, Sultan Bayezid of the Ottoman Empire had invaded Istanbul and set his army forces on this hill to keep a close look at the Bosporus. Since then, people named this park Otağtepe. It is also famous for the view of the Fatih Sultan Mehmet Bridge, which has connected Asia and Europe.
What To See?
- Fatih Sultan Mehmet Bridge: It is also known as the Second Bosporus Bridge. The bridge is named after Sultan Mehmed the Conqueror, a 15th-century Ottoman, who captured the Byzantine city of Constantinople (Istanbul) in 1453. It was the world’s fifth-longest suspension bridge span when it was finished in 1988.
- Rumeli Fortress (Rumelihisari): Fatih Sultan Mehmet constructed this Fortress during the conquest of Istanbul in 1952.
- Picturesque panoramic views of the Bosporus Strait
- More than 15,300 species of plants and trees
- Mini bridges and ponds
3. Princes’ Islands (Adalar) – A Chain of Nine Islands
The Princes’ Islands are a group of nine islands in the Sea of Marmara off the Asian shore of Istanbul. The name of these islands are Büyükada, Heybeliada, Burgazada, Kinaliada, Sedefada, Tavsan Adasi, Sivriada, Kasik Adasi, and Yassiada.
The first four islands are much popular amongst tourists. Sedefada is not that popular and has a very small settlement. The rest of the islands are not open to the public. The islands’ name originates from the Byzantine era when they were used to exile royal princes and empresses.
People love to visit the Princess Islands to get away from the urban frenetic atmosphere because motorized vehicles are prohibited, making the islands a haven of peace and tranquility. So, you have to rent a bicycle or walk through the paths of the islands to admire their beauty.
What To See?
- Büyükada: It is the largest island and the administrative headquarters of the Adalar district. Significant places to visit on this island are the Aya Yorgi Church and the hilltop, Island’s Museum, Naki Bey beach, and Yorukali beach.
- Heybeliada: It is the second biggest and popular island of the Princes’ Islands. Main attractions in this island are Aya Yorgi Cliff Church, Heybeliada Greek Boys’ High School, School of the Priests, Degirmenburnu beach, Aqua Green beach club, and Ada beach club.
- Burgazada: You can visit the historical Burgazada Mosque, the Hristos Monastery & Church, Bayraktepe hill, Madam Martha cove, Water Sports Club, Camakya beach, and Kalpazankaya beach on this island.
- Kinaliada: The smallest island of the Princes’ Islands which can be fully explored by walking for 20-25 minutes. You can enjoy the scenery at the Cinar, Tesvikiye, and Hristo hills, Hristo Monastery & Church, Kumluk beach, Kamos beach, and Teos beach club.
4. Kadıköy Neighborhood – The Heart of The Asian Side
Kadıköy is one of Istanbul’s 32 districts, located in the Asian part of the city and at the southern end of the Bosporus, which connects the city to the Marmara Sea. It has a long and interesting history. The Phoenicians, known as Harhadon, lived around Fikirtepe around BC 1000, according to historical records. Between the Moda Burnu and Yourtcu areas of modern Kadıköy, there was a second settlement called Chalcedon.
Between 1352 and 1353, Kadıköy was predominantly ruled by the Ottoman Empire. Mehmed the Conqueror, after conquering Constantinople, granted Chalcedon to Celalzade Hızır Bey, the first Istanbul kadi (judge). And that’s how Kadıköy got its name.
What To See?
- Sureyya Opera House: Sureyya Ilmen Pasa constructed Sureyya Opera House in 1927 as an opera, theater, and ballroom, but it was used as a cinema hall for many years.
- The Fighting Bull Statue
- Osman Aga Mosque
- Ayia Efimia Greek Orthodox Church at the Kadıköy Market Square
- Akmar Passage
- Haydarpasa Railway Station and Pier
- Selimiye Barracks ve Florence Nightingale Museum
- Baris Manco House Museum
- Romantika Fenerbahce Park
- Istanbul Toy Museum
5. Taksim Square – A Modern City Center
Taksim Square is Istanbul’s most well-known modern city center. The Independence Statue (Istiklal Aniti in Turkish), which stands at the start of İstiklal pedestrian street, is the most significant statue in Taksim Square. Pietro Canonica, an Italian sculptor, created the monument, which was officially launched in 1928. Following the Turkish War of Independence, the Republic of Turkey was founded in 1923, and the monument celebrates the 5th anniversary of that date.
What To See?
- Nightlife of Taksim: Taksim’s nightlife is quite magical, from the ambiance to the taverns, pubs, nightclubs, street performers, and more. Feel the quality nightlife of Taksim at the Mojo Bar, Nevi Bar, Babylon Concert Spot, Kara Kedi Bar, and Munferit Bar.
- The Galata Tower
- Monument of the Republic
- Cultural Centre
- Gezi Park
- Check in to Çiçek Pasaji
6. Grand Bazaar – One of the Oldest Markets in the World
The Grand Bazaar in Istanbul is one of the world’s oldest and biggest indoor markets. The massive commercial complex, which is widely referred to as one of the world’s first shopping malls, dates back to the 1400s. It was known as “Çarşu-yı Kebir” in Ottoman times.
It was historically a major crossroads for business in the Mediterranean, with several merchants carrying commodities from Europe and Asia passing by. There were no genuine shops in the crowded market until the 1800s; instead, traders used to sit at temporary stalls. The market now contains over 60 enclosed pathways and more than 4,000 stores.
What Is Famous There?
- You can buy Carpets and Kilims, Lamps and Lanterns, Ceramics, Turkish Metalware, Nargile, Jewelry, Hammam Accessories, Cushions, Pillows, etc.
- Suleymaniye Mosque
- Galata Köprüsü Bridge
- Eminonu Square
- Sehzade Mehmet Mosque
- Kapali Carsi
7. Dolmabahçe Palace – Largest Palace in Turkey
Dolmabahçe Palace, Istanbul’s first European-style palace, was constructed between 1842 and 1853 by Sultan Abdülmecid, at an expense of 5 million Ottoman gold pounds, or 35 tons of gold. Dolmabahçe is home to the world’s greatest collection of Bohemian and Baccarat crystal chandeliers.
The world’s largest Bohemian crystal chandelier, a gift from Queen Victoria, can be seen in the hall’s center. The chandelier weighs 4.5 tons and features 750 bulbs. Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, Turkey’s first president, spent his final years in this palace before dying in 1938. This room is currently a museum exhibit.
What To See?
- Dolmabahçe Mosque
- Clock Tower outside of the palace
- Two entrances: Treasury Gate and Imperial Gate
- Waterfront Façade (Marble)
- Ceremonial Hall (Muayede Salonu)
- State Rooms (Selamlık)
- Museum of Palace Collections
- Ataturk’s Room
Turkey has so many tourist spots to visit, amongst which I have mentioned the top 7 attractive places to visit in Turkey. It has some other famous travel destinations that I will cover in my next set of articles. Finally, Turkey is facing a lot of economic crisis which allows even more tourists to make inexpensive tour plans to the country.