From Istanbul to Troy: time-traveling in Turkey
Turkey today is a modern state with an impressive economic growth and growing prosperity for the Turkish people. One of the helpful factors for that is tourism, which has been steadily growing since the Eighties. Like neighboring Greece Turkey has a stunning Mediterranean coastline with crystal clear blue water, beautiful landscapes and tons of historic monuments. Chances are you start this adventure in Istanbul, biggest city of Turkey and world famous for a lot of good reasons. Founded by Roman Emperor Constantine and named to his honor Constantinople, the city was the center of the east Roman Empire, later called Byzantium. From this 1000 year period you can still see great monuments like the Hagia Sophia, the monumental church of Emperor Justinian, which is a museum today. Parts of the byzantine city walls are still visible, and they clearly show why it took until 1453 to overcome them. Even the old racetrack for horse chariot races, the Hippodrom, can be visited. The powerful Sultans of Turkey added great mosques and the central Topkapi Palace, where they lived and ruled their empire for hundreds of years. Be sure to visit the Great Bazaar, the ancient predecessor of today’s shopping malls.
After all the excitement of the big city it’s time to hit the beaches, but which one? The so called Turkish Riviera has it all, from highly developed tourist destinations around Antalya to small villages with untouched bays and fine beaches. This area was once settled by Greek colonies. The most famous was Ephesos, which housed the Temple of Artemis, one of the original Seven Wonders of the World. While you’re in the area, another of those wonders stood nearby in modern day Bodrum: the tomb of King Maussolos, which gave us the name Mausoleum for large burial houses. If you travel further north up the coast, where the entrance to the Black Sea is near, you can also visit the ruins of Troy, famous for the Trojan War described by Homer.
If this is not ancient enough for you, go to central Anatolia, where you can visit the ruins of Hattusa, once center of the Hittite culture that ruled a vast empire around 1500 BC. Really ancient, dating to 7000 B.C., is Çatalhöyük, the first known city of mankind. Even older is Göbekli Tepe, a neolithic site 12.000 years old, with massive stone circle monuments. Some speculate that in this area agriculture was invented around that time.
After having travelled back to the beginnings of modern mankind, try the other seaside of Turkey, on the shores of the Black Sea, spanning from Bulgaria to Georgia. Places like Sile, Amasra, Inebolu or Sinop are not yet discovered by mass tourism, so you can enjoy a peaceful time on the beach and undiluted Turkish lifestyle. Book your flight to Turkey with Lufthansa and go on a trip back in time and forward to fun in the sun.
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