Incredible Turkey … the location at the middle between East and West influences. Cappadocia’s underground cities first began to be chiseled out of the ground in the Bronze Age Hittite era, but they are most famous for their early Byzantine history (6th and 7th centuries), when the region’s Christians took to living underground for long periods to escape from Arab and Persian invaders. Kaymakli Underground City is Cappadocia’s largest example, with a labyrinth of rooms connected by tunnels that extends for eight levels. Four of these levels can be explored by visitors.Heading underground into the mazy network of tunnels is a fascinating experience, but those with claustrophobia should be aware that some of the tunnels are exceedingly narrow.
At 14 kilometers (9 miles), Patara is one of the longest stretches of sandy beach found anywhere in the Mediterranean. The beach is backed only by ancient Lycian and Roman ruins and swooping dunes with no buildings visible except of a small cafe. Patara Beach is also the breeding ground of the endangered Loggerhead turtle. The nearby village of Patara was the birthplace of St Nicholas, the 4th-century Byzantine bishop who later passed into legend as Santa Claus.
One of Turkey’s most famous natural wonders, the pure white travertine terraces of Pamukkale (“Cotton Castle” in English) cascade down the slope looking like an out-of-place snowfield amid the green landscape. Although the travertines are themselves a highlight of a Turkey trip, the vast and rambling ruins of Roman Hierapolis, an ancient spa town, lie on the top of this calcite hill, providing another reason to visit. For the best photographs, come at dusk when the travertines glow as the sun sinks below the horizon.
An imposing tourist attraction in one of Turkey’s most popular resorts, Bodrum Castle has provided many a visitor with an afternoon of exploration when a break from the sun lounger is required. This impressive 15th century citadel was originally built by Christian knights. Today, Bodrum Castle is open to the public and houses the world renowned Museum of Underwater Archaeology founded in 1962.
A Cappadocia balloon ride is a fantastic way to explore the rolling stone and rippling of the cliffs with their green landscape that was formed by the volcanic eruptions, the vegetable plots and vineyards that are tended to by the local farmers. Many tours of Cappadocia will show you the hermit hideouts carved into the soft volcanic rock. Read more about Cappadocia hot air balloon ride.
Travelers who love to shop shouldn’t miss out on a visit to the Grand Bazaar, with 5,000 shops making it one of the largest indoor marketplaces in the world. Receiving more than a quarter-million visitors a day, the bazaar features such items as jewelry, carpets that may or may not fly, spices, antiques and hand-painted ceramics. The bazaar dates back to 1461 and today is home to two mosques, four fountains, two hammams or steam baths, and the Cevahir Bedesten, where the rarest and most valuable items have been found traditionally. Here is where shoppers will find old coins, jewelry with precious gems, inlaid weapons and antique furniture.