Extraordinary Turkey … the land at the center between East and West influences. The ancient Hippodrome was begun by Septimius Severus in AD 203 and completed by Constantine the Great in AD 330. This was the center of Byzantine public life and the scene of splendid games and chariot races but also factional conflicts. Today, there isn’t much of the Hippodrome left to see, except for a small section of the gallery walls on the southern side, but the At Meydani (park), which now stands on the site is home to a variety of monuments. On the northwest side is a fountain, presented to the Ottoman sultan by the German Emperor William II in 1898. Then, heading southwest are three ancient monuments: a 20-meter high Egyptian obelisk (from Heliopolis); the Serpent Column brought here from Delphi by Constantine; and a stone obelisk that originally was clad in gold-covered bronze plating until they were stolen by the soldiers of the 4th Crusade in 1204.
The ruins of Ephesus are a popular tourist attraction on the west coast. The city of Ephesus was once famed for the Temple of Artemis, one of the seven wonders of the ancient world, which was destroyed by a mob led by the archbishop of Constantinople in 401 AD. Some of the structures can still be seen however including the Great Theater and the Library of Celsus. The library was built around 125 AD to store 12,000 scrolls and to serve as a monumental tomb for Celsus, the governor of Asia. The facade was carefully reconstructed in the 1970s to its present splendid state from the original pieces.
The derelict buildings of the powerful Silk Road city of Ani sit abandoned on the plains close to Turkey’s modern border with Armenia. Once the Armenian capital, Ani’s golden age came to an end in the 14th century after Mongol raids, earthquake destruction, and trade route tussling all played their part in the city’s decline. The beautiful red brick buildings still crumbling away amid the steppe grass have a mesmerising effect on all who visit. Don’t miss the Church of the Redeemer or the Church of St. Gregory, with their elaborate stone masonry and fresco remnants still visible.
Turkey is awash with ancient cities, making it tough to select just one for this list. However, the most popular of these attractions is Ephesus near modern Selcuk. It contains some of the best preserved Greek and Roman ruins in the world and remains a well-trodden part of the tourist trail from nearby resorts such as Kusadasi and Izmir. Some of the most impressive attractions at Ephesus include the Library of Celsus, the Temple of Hadrian and the ancient theatre. Many visitors will explore this city in combination tours with Miletus, Didyma and Priene.
Istanbul experiences hot summers and cold winters so the ideal time to visit the city would be from late March till May and from September till mid-November. During Spring, the weather becomes warm during the day and cooler at night, with less rain. You can expect high temperatures between 18 and 27 degree Celsius. Istanbul guided tours in Spring will show you the colourful Tulips blossom, which plays a significant role in Turkish culture and history. Before booking any Istanbul tours or whipping out our spreadsheets to figure out a daily budget. The cost of your trip to Istanbul will vary depending on your individual needs. The cost of food and drink can be very little if you want to try some of the street food your money will go a long way. The transport costs are reasonable, everyone should try the tram that runs through Istanbul’s Istiklal Street and is very cheap at less than a Euro. More details on Istanbul private tours.
Luxurious, plush and beautiful are just some of the adjectives used to describe the Dolmabahce Palace, which has been compared to the Palace of Versailles. Built in the 19th century using 14 tons of gold leaf, Turkey’s most glamorous palace blends traditional Ottoman architecture with the European styles of Neoclassical, Baroque and Rococo. Home to six sultans from 1856 to 1924, it also is home to the world’s largest Bohemian crystal chandelier, a gift from Queen Victoria. The Dolmabahce Palace’s setting is stunning: It was built along the Bosphorus coastline.