Turkey Things to Do Tips by al2401
Turkey Things to Do: 1,139 reviews and 1,885 photos
Celsus Library - Ephesus
Ephesus; a city of importance in both the Pagan and Christian worlds. It is listed in importance only after Athens and Jerusalem. Once a centre for the worhip of Artemis, it was converted to Christianity by the preaching of St Paul and St John. In the middle ages it was still an important town due to the position of its port.
I found Ephesus impressive not only for the well preserved ruins of a once great city but for the significance of walking in the steps of St Paul for a practising Christian.
Pillar tombs - Xanthos
Xanthos was the name of a city in ancient Lycia and was the centre of culture and commerce for the Lycians and in turn for the Persians, Macedonians, Greeks and Romans.
It is probably best known for the mass suicide of its citizens after the army was defeated by the Persians. The Lycian army destroyed their acropolis, then killed their wives, children and slaves before engaging in an impossible battle with the mightier Persains troops.
The tragedy was later repeated against the Romans in 42 BC.
The sarcophagi on pillars are unique to this area. The Xanthian Obelisk, covered by the longest writing in the Lycian script, has been of importance in the interpretation of the Lycian language.
The site has been inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1988.
Simena and Fortress
The history of this village goes back to 4th century BC. It was once a city of Lycia - there is actually a sarcophagus out in the bay and a necropolis on the hill. There are the ruins of a medieval fortress on the top of a hill behind the town. Within these ruins can be found the remains of an ancient temple. There is also a small Lycian theatre.
Simena is situated on a beautiful and safe natural harbour and is best approached by boat from Ucagiz (where the yacht harbour is situated). You can spend hours wandering the twisting streets or climb to the top of the fortress (care must be taken as you reach the top). The views are spectacular - even on a rainy day! A trip to Kekova is also warranted.
The area is best seen as a day trip from Kas.
Simena is the name for the ancient town. The modern name is Kaleköy but it is commonly referred to as Simena.
Address: Ucagaiz, Kas
Directions: You can drive overland from Demre Cayagzi or hire a boat from Kas or Ucagiz.
Kekova Island is across the bay from Simena and Ucagiz. Here you can see the sunken ruins of a residential part of old Simena which was submerged by an earthquake in the 2nd century.
These are best seen as part of a boat trip around the bay - either a day trip or or a longer stay. Boats can be rented from Kas, Ucagiz or Simena.
Address: Kekova via Simena
Kas is a lovely town with beautiful bays and inlets. The houses are painted white and have colourful flowers such as Bougainvillea hanging from their balconies which contrast well with the blue of the sea. Being in the centre of the ancient Lyicia there are Lycian sarcophagi in the middle of the streets.
The Greek island of Megisti is only 4 miles away.
Kas is a great place to make your base for visits to Myra, Kekova, Simena and Ucagiz.
This is not a 'Things to do' but more of an explanation of a thing that you see. The following information was sent to me by VT member 'Sirvictor' to contribute to Gallipoli page. I thought it deserved a page of its own.
If you enter the Strait of Dardanelles from Aegean Sea you will see on the right the Hills of Canakkale and on the left the Gallipoli Peninsula.
On the Hills of Canakkale you will notice a warning in capital letters coloured with white chalk " Halt Traveller!" This warns all people who desire to enter the Dardanelles without permission.
In March 18th 1915 British and French tried to enter the Dardanelles without permission and paid their desire with blood and heavy losses.
After that bloody fight a Turkish poet called Necmettin Halil Onan wrote the following poem. The poem is translated into English by Tanwir Wasti. published by the March 18th University Magazine 2003
To a Traveller
Stop wayfarer! Unbeknownst to you this ground
You come and tread on, is where an epoch lies;
Bend down and lend your ear, for this silent mound
Is the place where the heart of a nation sighs
To the left of this deserted shadeless lane
The Anatolian slope now observe you well;
For liberty and honor, it is, in pain,
Where wounded Mehmet laid down his and fell
This very mound, when violently shook the land,
When the last bit of earth passed from hand to hand,
And when Mehmet drowned the enemy in flood,
Is the spot where he added his own pure blood.
Think, the consecrated blood and flesh and bone
That make up this mould, is where a whole nation,
After a harsh and pitiless war, alone,
Tasted the joy of freedom with elation.
Ballooning over Goreme
The countryside around Goreme is fascinating and even more so when seen from the high in the air or down among the weird shapes. Dawn is always the best time for ballooning and the 'firing up' of the burner is more spectacular in the half light.
There are many companies offering flights - with or without breakfast, champagne or other wise but the view is the same for all. I went up with Kapadokia Balloons who give excellent service. We only had our celebratory breakfast when we had all helped to deflate and store the balloon - which is an experience in itself.
Directions: see www.kapadokiaballoons.com
Other Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
During the Byzantine era there were not enough sources of water inside the city walls. Water from sources in the forests of Belgrade was directed into some sixty cisterns built in Istanbul. The Yerebatan Cistern is the biggest of these, holding about 80 megalitres of water which was delivered through the Valens Aquaduct.
It was used until the 16th century and restored in the mid 19th century. The restoration work was completed in 1987 and the cistern was opened to the public. At the back of the cistern there are two Medusa heads used as bases to columns. One is upside down, the other sideways.
Scenes from the James Bond movie 'From Russia with Love' were filmed here.
Address: Sultanahmet, Istanbul
Directions: Between the Hagia Sophia and Sultanahmet Mosque at the the end of the Hippodrome
Yerebatan Caddesi No: 13, Sultanahmet
Hagia Sophia from Sultanahmet Park
The present Hagia Sophia is built on the site of a great church built by the Byzantine Emperor Constantine in 360 AD. It was destroyed by fire in 404 AD and a stronger building was opened in 416 AD. This building was destroyed by anti-imperial rebels in 532 and the present structure was completed in 537.
Mosaics of religious scenes and people were removed in the Iconoclastic Era (726 AD) and replaced with simple cross shapes. When this era ended in 843 Hagia Sophia was redecorated with frescoes and mosaics, many with golden tiles, only for them to be covered over with lime when the building became a mosque in the 1450's. This actually preserved the works of art until they were restored by Mustafa Kemal Ataturk and the building opened as a museum in 1935.
An amazing building - definitely a must see.
Address: Sultanahmet, Istanbul
3rd Courtyard - Topkapi Palace
Topkapi Palace was the administration centre of the Ottoman Empire for nearly 400 years. It was constructed by the Sultan Fatih Sultan Mehmet between 1475-1478 and was enlarged and enriched by successive Sultans until it was abandoned in the 19th century. It is now a museum.
As well as the architecture and decoration there are many museum sections - the Harem (you need a separate ticket), Kitchen and Porcelain collection, the Exhibition of Armory, the Imperial Treasury and the Costume Display are but a few.
There are extensive gardens in which to wander and there are great views across the Sea of Marmara, the Bosphorus and the Golden Horn. There is a cafe and book/gift shop.
It is open every day except Tuesday from 9am - 5pm (tickets close 4pm) and the Harem from 9am - 4pm (tickets close 3.30pm)
Address: Istanbul - Old City
Directions: It is the big palace behind Hagia Sophia.
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