Ancient Civilizations in Turkey
Study Ancient History in Turkey
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Welcome to Istanbul! Today we’ll get to know our guide and take a walk around the city to get acquainted. Istanbul is Europes most popular city. Practice your Turkish and learn a few greetings and basic phrases.
Our first full day in Turkey starts at the Istanbul Archaeology Museum. The museum is home to countless artifacts from civilizations that lived around the Mediterranean, including the Romans. This museum visit will help set the stage for our stops later in the trip. In the afternoon, we’ll head over to the famous Hagia Sophia. The building is famous for once being a Byzantine church and then becoming a mosque. Today, it’s a museum and a shining example of both Christian and Muslim architecture.
Today is another full day exploring a few of the magnificent buildings found in the heart of Istanbul. First up is Topkapi Palace, the place where sultans of the Ottoman Empire lived that now serves as a museum. Next is the Basilica Cistern, a water storage chamber underground that was built by the Byzantine Empire in 532. It features amazing raised ceilings and over 300 marble columns. The final stop is the Blue Mosque, another architectural marvel that dates back to the year 1616. The outside of the mosque is iconic, but the inside is just as gorgeous, featuring 20,000 ceramic tiles that were all handmade.
We wave goodbye to Istanbul and hop on a short flight to the city of Izmir in western Turkey. From there, it’s a short journey to Ephesus, one of the most amazing archaeological sites in Turkey. Ephesus holds a vital part of both Greek and Roman history. It’s also well known for being the site of Temple of Artemis, which was considered among the seven wonders of the ancient world.
Today we head to the coastal city of Bodrum in southwest Turkey. The top attraction here is the Castle of Bodrum, which is also referred to as the Castle of St. Peter. It’s another amazing piece of architecture that also happens to be six centuries old and still standing tall. Inside the castle is the Bodrum Museum of Underwater Archaeology, a unique collection of artifacts and relics that have been recovered from shipwrecks.
It’s time for a Turkish road trip! As mentioned, this is a big country, and today is your chance to experience the real Turkish countryside and see that we’re not kidding when we tell you that almost half the country is agricultural. We’ll arrive in Antalya, another coastal city on the Mediterranean. With any luck, we’ll arrive in time to spend a little time at the beach or check out some of the scenic waterfalls in Antalya.
We get back to business today by visiting the ancient city of Perge, which is located just east of Antalya. You will get a chance to walk around the ruins of one of the most important cities of the ancient world. Among the key points are a well-preserved Hellenistic Gate and a Roman amphitheater. In the afternoon, we’ll travel a little further east to the Aspendos Roman theater. This is one of the best-preserved Roman amphitheaters anywhere in the world and is still able to seat up to 15,000 people for concerts.
Turkey’s massive size never fails to amaze. Today we’ll hop on a plane for a short flight to Nevsehir, a landlocked city in the central part of Turkey. Upon arrival, we’ll explore the Red Valley, which is one of the most beautiful places to watch the sunset in all of Turkey.
After a good night’s rest in Nevsehir, we head to the Goreme Open Air Museum, a short walk from the city center. It was one of Turkey’s first UNESCO World Heritage sites and hardly feels like a museum since it’s outside. It’s the site of over two dozen churches, most of which have been around since the 12th century, if not earlier. In the afternoon, we’ll escape the hot Turkish sun and explore Derinkuyu Underground City, which features eight levels of tunnels in what was once an underground Byzantine city.
Sadly, all good things must come to an end. Even in 10 days, we’ve barely scratched the surface of what Turkey has to offer. However, we can leave Turkey knowing that we saw a number of the country’s ancient sites that briefly took us back in time.
Visiting Two Continents at the Same Time
With its unique position as the bridge between Europe and Asia, the nation of Turkey has long been an important location for human civilizations. At one time or another, several major civilizations have found their home within Turkey’s modern boundaries, including the Greeks. That fact makes the country a vital part of human history. It also means Turkey is filled with important landmarks that open a door to these ancient civilizations.
Join us as we travel throughout Turkey, exploring the history of the country and getting a first-hand look at what remains of the ancient civilizations that once existed in this part of the world.
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