Turkey is located between the continent of Asia and Europe, its location is considered strategic, and it is bordered by the seas in three directions. In the north, there is the Black Sea, in the south is the Mediterranean Sea, in the west is the Aegean Sea, and in the east, there is the Sea of Marmara. There are also many countries surrounding Turkey, including:
- In the east: Iran, Armenia, Georgia, and Azerbaijan.
- In the west: Bulgaria and Greece.
- In the north: Russia and Ukraine.
- In the south: Syria and Iraq.
Turkey was known in the past as the land of Anatolia or Asia Minor until it was ruled by the Roman Emperor Constantine I, then the Ottomans took the capital, Istanbul, as their headquarters, to witness after that Turkey’s prosperity, strength, and urbanisation.
Turkey is considered a peninsula surrounded by a group of seas, as we explained before. Its lands are formed from plains, with an average height ranging between 1000 to 1500 metres above sea level, and there are also rivers flowing in the middle of the plains to pour into the seas.
There are many plains in the country, the most famous of which are the plains of the Mediterranean Sea and the Black Sea, and many tourist cities have been built on these plains. There are many activities to do, such as mountain climbing, exploring sea caves, horse riding, fishing, and yacht trips.
Important Cities in Turkey
- Ankara: It is the capital of Turkey, considered the second-largest Turkish city after Istanbul. It is a centre of commerce and industry in Turkey, and it is located in the centre of the country.
- Istanbul: It is the largest city in Europe, the 8th largest city in the world, and the largest city in Turkey. The city is distinguished as an economic, commercial, and cultural centre due to its strategic location between the Black Sea and the Mediterranean Sea. It is one of the most famous cities in the world in terms of tourism, as it is visited by many tourists from all over the world.
- Antalya: It is one of the most beautiful Turkish cities, and it is located on the Mediterranean coast in southwest Turkey. It is also one of the cities that Europeans and Turks go to for holidays and relaxation.
- Izmir: It is the third-largest city in Turkey and is located in western Turkey on the coast of the Aegean Sea. The city is distinguished by being one of the most beautiful Turkish cities with beautiful nature and a mild climate, and it has the second-largest Turkish port after the port of Istanbul.
- Bursa City: The city is located in the northwest of the country and is one of the most active cities in the field of industry. It is located between the city of Ankara and Istanbul, it is called the Green Bursa due to its green nature, surrounded by forests, gardens, and parks, and it is considered a historical and archaeological area.
Transportation in Turkey
Transportation has developed over the past years in Turkey, it varies from the minibus to the subway, and there are also about 56 airports across the country.
There is also a railway linking all Turkish cities, which facilitated access and saved time, and the distance between cities became only an hour or two.
Weather in Turkey
Turkey’s climate is characterised by being diverse due to the large area and the diversity of its nature. Its climate is hot and dry in summer. On the other hand, it’s cold and humid in winter. July and August are considered the driest months in Turkey, but the coastal cities are characterised by a mild climate.
Rain usually falls on the Turkish coast of the Black Sea, and it is the only region in Turkey that has a high rate of rainfall. Temperatures in the summer reach between 20 and 30 degrees, and in the winter, the temperature can reach zero, and some areas reach -15 degrees, which is freezing cold.
Things to do in Turkey
Turkey is one of the most famous countries rich in cultural, historical, and religious arenas, and occupies an advanced rank among the best tourist destinations in the world. Turkey enjoys being inclusive of many civilisations, and this is what distinguishes it from the Stone Age, Byzantine, Roman, and Greek eras until the Ottoman era.
It is also characterised by the presence of 4 coasts on its borders: the Mediterranean coast, the Sea of Marmara, the Aegean Sea, and the Black Sea. Istanbul is often the first stop for tourists and has the most important tourist attractions, such as forests, beaches, and archaeological landmarks.
Millions of tourists come to Turkey every year to enjoy the many places that exist there from nature, which is the most characteristic of Turkey, Ottoman mosques, Roman castles, Byzantine churches, and Greek buildings.
After knowing a lot of information about Turkey, it’s time now to get to know more about its popular places that you can visit, places to stay in, things that you can do there, and also the activities you can try in Turkey, so let’s start our journey.
Hagia Sophia or Aya Sophia Mosque
Hagia Sophia Mosque is considered one of the most famous mosques not just in Turkey but also in the whole world. It was also rewarded as the most beautiful building in the world, and it was built in the Byzantine era.
The place was built by the Byzantine Emperor Justinian in 537 CE. It was one of the Byzantine Empire’s greatest architectural achievements, and it stayed the largest church for about 1,000 years. It was converted into a mosque after the Ottoman forces conquered Constantinople, then it was converted into a museum in the 20th century, and then in 2020, it worked again as a mosque.
When you visit the mosque, you will see the exterior decorated with delicate minarets that were added after the Ottoman conquest.
Istanbul Archaeology Museum
Another famous spot that you can visit in Istanbul is Istanbul Archaeology Museum. It is a large complex including many collections from Turkey and the Middle East throughout history until now. When you visit the museum, you will find it contains about 3 different sections, and each section is more beautiful than the other.
The first section is the Museum of Ancient Orient, which includes collections of pre-Islamic art and heritage from the Middle East. The main museum includes tombs and famed sarcophaguses from Sidon and Lebanon, and you will also find an exhibit that contains things about Istanbul throughout the ages. The third building is the Tiled Pavilion which includes a large collection of ceramic art, and it was built by Mehmet the Conquer.
Topkapi Palace is a beautiful place to visit, where you will feel how sultans in the Ottoman era lived in the period of the 15th and 16th centuries. It was the place where sultans of the Ottoman era made the orders to extend up into Europe and through Africa and the Middle East.
When you visit the palace, you can see the beauty of its interior with the lavish jewelled décor that shows the power of the Ottomans during that period. You can also see the Imperial Council building that was built by Grand Vizier, and it includes many collections like miniature paintings and also dazzling Harem rooms.
Taksim Square in Istanbul
It is one of the best tourist places in Turkey for those who love nightlife. When you visit the square, you will find that it doesn’t sleep and teems with life for 24 hours.
There are restaurants and bars scattered around the place overlooking the Bosphorus, giving you a stunning view. You can also take historical and recreational tours in the area, including the memorial. At the square, you will find a shopping centre, antiques, and gift shops.
Ephesus is one of the historical ruins of cities where you can experience how life was during the golden age of the Roman Empire. It was built in the 10th century BC, and it was a commercial centre in the period of the Romans.
There you can find that the city includes the Library of Celsus, a terraced house complex with frescoes and mosaic floors that decorated the villas, and Great Theatre that can seat up to 25,000 people, the Temple of Hadrian, and all that shows how important the place was at the period of the Romans.
Balloon Ride over Cappadocia
The balloon ride is one of the top things to do in Turkey. Cappadocia is one of the best destinations in the world to do that, and it gives you a wonderful view from the top of the area with beautiful rock formations.
The balloons are allowed to fly near the ground due to the rare wildlife there, and the journey starts after sunset. The trip starts with getting picked up from the hotel, then the tour takes from 45 minutes to an hour, and you can also have a private trip if you want.
The Castle and the Old Quarter of Ankara
The castle is one of the most important tourist places in Ankara; it is one of the oldest forts dating back to the Roman and then Ottoman eras. After you finish your tour of the castle, you can visit the old neighbourhood, where you can see the wooden houses in the Ottoman style, and you can buy souvenirs from the handicrafts that the city is famous for.
Ataturk’s Mausoleum in Ankara
This is another famous spot that is located in Ankara, which is visited by thousands of tourists. It is a symbol of Turkish development and civilisation and the mausoleum of the first republican ruler in the country, Mustafa Kamel Ataturk. The mausoleum is also called Anit Kabir, and the building appears with magnificent architectural ruins of limestone and marble.
Bursa Grand Mosque
The mosques in Turkey are famous places to visit. Bursa Grand Mosque is one of these mosques, and it is located in the city’s central market area. The mosque was built in 1399 in the Ottoman era, in a Seljuk style, which was inspired by Persian mosques.
The roof of the mosque is very unique with about 20 domes located on top of it. It was built by Sultan Beyazit I, who wanted to build 20 mosques but instead he installed 20 domes in one mosque.
Bursa Citadel is located in the centre of Bursa City, where the well-preserved walls of the citadel surround the oldest part of the city. It was the defensive wall of the city in the past, and now there are only a few parts of it.
It is located in the Tophane neighbourhood. When you are at the top, you will find a park, and from there you can have a magnificent view of the Bursa Grand Mosque and a bazaar area. The park includes an old clock tower, which is famous in the country, and besides that, the tombs of Ozman and Orhan Gazi, the founders of the Ottoman Empire.
Turkish Bath (Hammam)
It is one of the things that you would love to experience in Turkey, where you will find a mixture of history and culture together, and these baths were once a part of life in the Ottoman period. The Turkish bath is now a top attraction for many tourists to experience when they visit the country.
When you visit the bath, you will have a steam bath, then cold water will be poured on your body before having a soap wash, and all that includes a short massage. Also, the baths offer many other services, such as oil massages, facials, and manicures. The most famous Turkish baths are located in Istanbul, with lavish marble interiors like Cagaloglu Hamam, which was built in 1741.
Cable Cars are generally famous in Turkey, but two cable cars are particularly popular: Bursa Teleferik, which goes up to the Uludağ, and the Olympos Teleferik in Kemer.
The Bursa Teleferik is considered the largest cable car ride in the world. A ride takes about 25 minutes and 9 km up to the ski hotels, and it is often used in winter. The Olympos Teleferik in Kemer is located 50 km away from Antalya; it gives you a beautiful view of the mountains of Beydaglari National Park.
It is a wonderful activity to do in Turkey, specifically in Kas. You will see many beautiful spots while you are having your tours in places like the Kekova Island area and the underwater Sunken City ruins. These tours are great for beginners, and kayaking is the only way to see the ruins, since swimming is not allowed there.
The tour will start from the village of Ucagiz from the harbour, where it starts by going to Kekova Island to see the ruins and then go to the village of Kalekoy to see the ruins of ancient Simena and then go back to Ucagiz.
The Dolmabahce Palace is located in Istanbul. It was built by Sultan Abdulmecid I in 1854, and it became the main residence of the sultans replacing the Topkapi Palace. It was also used as an official residence at the time of the foundation of the Turkish Republic, and the gardens are full of fountains, blooming flowers, and ornamental basins.
When you enter the palace, you will see a mixture of Rococo, Ottoman, Neoclassical, and Baroque elements with crystal chandeliers, French-style furnishings, and also many other things.
The Galata Tower has been known as the tallest building in Istanbul for centuries. It was built in the 14th century by the Genoese, and it was restored many times over the years because of being damaged by storms or fires. At the top of the tower, you will find a restaurant that gives you a magnificent view of the central old city.
Ski on Uludağ
It is easy to reach there from Bursa or even Istanbul. It is also known as a famous ski resort in Turkey, and the resort reaches an area of 2,322 metres above sea level, with 28 km of slopes. It is a great place for beginners and intermediate skiers. The main area includes mid-range and luxury hotels, cafes, and restaurants. Hire shops are available to borrow equipment if you don’t own one.
Fatih Mosque is located in the Fatih neighbourhood, on the hilltop of the first mosque built in the city by Sultan Mehmet the Conqueror. The first mosque was damaged in the 15th century by an earthquake, and it was replaced by the current one now, which is full of multiple domes built in the 18th century.
Whirling Dervish Ceremony
There are many places where you can enjoy the whirling dervish ceremony in Turkey. It is also called Sema, and you can see it in Konya, Istanbul, and Bursa.
Konya is known as the birthplace of the Mevlevi order, and it hosts the ceremony every Saturday evening throughout the year at the Mevlana Culture Centre. In Istanbul, you can watch the ceremony at the Galata Mevlevi House Museum.
Hiking the Lycian Way
Hiking is one of the activities that you can try in Turkey, with this long walking trail that is about 540 km long along the Mediterranean Coast from Fethiye to Antalya. On your way, you will be able to see some of the Lycian city ruins, such as Xanthos and Letoon, which are considered UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
While your walk you will see magnificent views, and walking the entire trail will take about 29 days, so most people just take some parts of it.
Cruise the Bosphorus Gorge
It is a must-do when you visit Turkey to take a cruise and admire the beautiful things while having your tour on the Bosphorus, which connects the Black Sea with the Sea of Marmara.
You will just sit and relax while watching the lovely attractions on your tour. The most popular ferry tour there is the Long Bosphorus Tour, which leaves from the Eminonu ferry dock to the village at Anadolu Kavagi, and it takes two hours for a one-way tour then stops for three hours in Anadolu Kavagi.