Turkey is Tops for Tourists

A country that has a presence in both Europe and Asia and one that is arguably the birthplace of modern civilisation, Turkey is a destination that is full of surprises.

According to World Tourism Organisation figures, Turkey is the seventh most visited country in the world, attracting about 30 million visitors a year. It is a country that is a crossroad between the East and the West; it has a society which embraces contemporary life but which respects the remains of structures left by ancient civilisations.

Surrounded on three sides by different seas, the Mediterranean, Aegean and Black Seas, Turkey has a diverse coastline of bays, beaches, coves and peninsulas which offer an abundant variety of activities in a climate that is quite kind. To explore those seas, you have a choice of sailing an ancient gulet, cruising on a luxury ship and island hopping by modern ferry.

The capital, Istanbul, is one of the world’s greatest cities which was, for centuries under its former name Constantinople, one of the most powerful and beautiful cities in the world. The remnants of the Byzantine and Ottoman empires can be visited here, including some fascinating examples of Christian and Islamic architecture including the magnificent Hagia Sophia, the Sultan Ahmed Mosque, which is also called the “Blue” Mosque. The Topkapi Palace, which overlooks the Bosphorus and was the home of the Ottoman Sultans is definitely worth a visit. As for shopping, the Grand Bazaar should not be missed. A giant covered market, its 61 streets are home to 3,000 shops where bartering is the accepted method of trading.

Outside of Istanbul, near the Dardanelles is Gallipolli, the scene of one of the allies greatest defeats in World War I, and a place that is considered to be quite sacred by Australians and New Zealanders for the sacrifice their troops made there.

Beachgoers flock to the Turkish Riviera on the coast of Antalya and Mugla, and area so beautiful it is rumoured that Marc Antony gave if to Cleopatra as his wedding gift. It is certainly beautiful, and the coastline was also strategic, being where you can visit the ancient ruins of Ephesus, Troy and Pergamon.

Inland you can see the amazing and quite eerie landscapes of Cappadocia with its famous fairy chimneys near the town of Goreme, and caves that have been hewn into the rock and which have been lived in for centuries.

Turkey has attractions to suit every taste, be it the desire to relax by a beach or lounge around in a luxury resort; or to experience the excitement of Istanbul and enjoy a visit to its famous market. There is also plenty to occupy the mind for those seeking more cultural pursuits, such as appreciation Istanbul’s magnificent public buildings, or roaming around the ruins of ancient and once great civilisations.

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