Turkey, which is at the crossroads of Europe and Asia (popularly called Eurasia), is a unique land by itself. This country with its rich history, varied culture and natural attractions is a veritable paradise for millions of tourists from world over. Why not plan a vacation to Turkey now and get a fascinating insight into this land of constant contrasts where East meets the West? Visiting Turkey will undoubtedly turn out to be an indeed memorable experience for you.
Istanbul – Home to iconic attractions
Istanbul, the capital city of Turkey, is a treasured wonderland. It is home to many iconic attractions. The Aya Sofia and the Sultanahmet are the two most attractive ancient mosques in the world. These huge architectural marvels stand on the either side of the Sultanahmet Park and are at the core of Istanbul's ancient city. Hearing the call to prayer is a mesmerizing and unforgettable experience. The Aya Sofia or Hagia Sophia has now been converted to a museum. The converted religious symbols from the past and uncovered frescoes in this incredible monument offers a glimpse into its past as a Christian Cathedral and later on converting to a mosque and finally to a museum. However, another iconic attraction the Sultanahmet mosque is still functional. It is popularly known as the Blue Mosque because of the blue hued tiles covering the interiors of the enormous building. Tourists are permitted free entry only after removing shoes and women covering their heads.
Apart from these two religious places, the Topkapi Palace is a must-visit place in Istanbul. It has a rich history. Here you can see the sprawling grounds and immaculately preserved harems. The palace offers a glimpse into the lavish lives of the Ottoman emperors and how the sultan used to live with his concubines. The Topkapi Palace is one of the greatest examples of Ottoman architecture, where you will find many ornate artifacts. All these historic sites are situated close by and can be accessed quite easily.
Ottoman era comes alive at Safranbolu town
A visit to the beautiful small tourist town of Safranbolu would seem as though you are walking down the memory lane into a massive working historic park. The town, which fell into a state of decay and disrepair in the 1970s, was recognized by the Turkish government as a cultural and architectural gem, and finally became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1994. Strolling down the narrow cobblestone streets between red roofed buildings brings alive the former Ottoman era glory and offers a fascinating glimpse into the country's rich history.
The historic Safranbolu town looks simply amazing. You will find artisans working in small shops still practicing Ottoman era trades. You can also relive the ancient city's cultural past by relishing Ottoman era food, which are available throughout the town. Many of the Ottoman era's wealthy mansions can also be found, which have now been converted into guesthouses and hotels. In fact, the town's rich history and splendid architecture is aptly reflected in its shops and outdoor market.
Turkey is replete with historic and cultural wonders. These are only amongst the important few described here. You need to at least visit this beautiful country once to enjoy and experience its varied attractions.