A hot melting point of many cultures, Turkey is an amazing holiday destination. At first, the Hittites settled here, then the Greeks invaded, which made the Romans come, explore the place and do some conquering of their own kind. Whereas, the Christianity came and spread with the missionaries whom arrived and set up shop here. At the end, the Ottomans took over the country and finally made it an Islamic nation. However, each of the civilization left an ineradicable mark on this country’s culture and heritage. Right from ancient Greek columns to underground churches to Hittite relics and nunneries, and last but not the least exquisite dome-shaped monuments, Turkey is dotted with heritage treasures. These all come together to form a glittery historical tapestry of vibrant shapes, colors and textures. If you are planning a tour to Turkey, then read on to know more about the popular tourist attractions which you must pay a visit to.
This city was named Byzantium after King Byzas of the Greeks and the Romans called it Constantinople after Emperor Constantine, however, the Ottomans named it to its present name “Istanbul”. Therefore, this city portrays a charming blend of all these cultures. The most tourist-friendly as well as oldest region of Istanbul is Sultanahmet. It is like the recognizable land of milk and honey. You get an amazing mixture of historical, exotic or simply beautiful architectures belonging to different cultures. So, don’t miss a chance to enjoy a joyful day in Istanbul while exploring its vibrant culture.
The Blue Mosque
Amongst all, the most iconic landmark of Istanbul is the “Blue Mosque”. Also named as the Sultanahmet Mosque, this monument is located very close to the Hippodrome. It used to be a horse racing arena during the days of yore, and is now a great place to sit, drink a cuppa and enjoy the beauty of monument. The Blue Mosque is lined with about 20,000 hand-made blue-coloured tiles (after which it is named), various chandeliers for candles and over 200 stained glass windows. This Mosque is just fantastic which you must visit.
Hagia Sophia (Hey-yah Soh-Fee-ah)
The Blue Mosque revels in its captivating simplicity, the second most famous monument, Hagia Sophia is enchantingly complex. Built as the largest cathedral in the world (in its time) was converted into a Mosque, when the Ottomons invaded the Christian-run Byzantium, but when Turkey became a republic, the archaeologists discovered various iconic things such as ancient biblical mosaic paintings which were plastered over with Islamic designs. Thus, Hagia Sophia became a monument which displays a harmonious blend of two diverse, sparring cultures. Another attraction of this monument is the weeping column – a golden disk with a hole in the centre set within a column.
Apart from these, Topkapi Palace, Dolmabahçe (Dolma-bah-che) Palace, the Grand Bazaar, Spice Bazaar (aka Egyptian bazaar) and Taksim (TAK-shim) square are some of the other famous places which you must visit while travelling to Turkey.
What to Eat
Lahmacun: A special type of Turkish pizza, except that it is less the shape of pizza and a delicious oven-baked flatbread with meat, onions, tomatoes, and greens.
Kebab: Another special dish of Turkey is Kebabs. Whether it is Doner-kebab, iskender-kebab, shish-kebab, or scrumptious adana kebab, these delicious snacks will surely make you fall in love with them.
Hunkar Begendi: Eggplant is a favorite vegetable among the Turkish and this special dish is made of mashed eggplant with a cream cheese sauce, tomato-flavoured lamb with mint.