Every year millions of people visit Turkey, some come for a simple holiday to spend their day by the pool or to explore a country they have not seen before; others visit to commemorate the past either ancient or modern memory while some like to come and spend every day doing something different. No matter where you visit in this huge country there is always an activity for everyone.
The ancient capital of the Ottoman Empire and modern Turkey’s largest city is a great destination for those who love the city life as well as history as this city has both. Istanbul or Constantinople has been the leading city for different empires and cultures giving the city a wealth of buildings that were born for the need of the peoples at the time.
A famous icon is Topkapi Palace, this palace was built in 1459 following the conquest of Constantinople as the new palace of the city. It was built for the royalty of the reign of Mehmed the Conqueror and his descendants, over the years it was used as a court of the sultan and his residence. Over the years it was expanded but eventually fell into disuse as different sultans built their own palaces and opted to live in them, only holding court here. In the 1800’s the rest of the royal uses for the palace were moved to the new Dolmabahce Palace on the Bosphorus. The Ottoman’s military offices, treasury, royal library and mint were all that was left working, however following the collapse of the Ottoman empire the palace was transformed into a museum to show the history of the city and the empire so that all may learn.
The Bosphorus splits the city of Istanbul and is the crossing point for Asia and Europe. As this body of water has played a huge role in separating the two continents and both aiding and defending the conquering of the city there are many different types of buildings all along both banks. Rumeli Fortress was a landing point for an Ottoman siege to take the city from the Byzantium control.
Many of these iconic destinations like these two can be understood and seen better from the waters which leads to many different day and night tour from the water. Giving access to wonderful views of the lit up city and the historic wonders.
Ancient cities do not always survive the test of time; natural disasters, war, or the decline of the ability to sustain a population. These cities are taken apart to be used as building materials long before they are protected as important landmarks of history and some are left to stand and survive nature attempting to reclaim the land. Olympos is an ancient Lycian city that was greatly admired for their willingness to build their cities on mountainous terrain as maintain them well, while also being visually stunning. The city did have links to the coastline which is still used today, however, the harbour town of Demre now acts as the link to other ports on the coastline. Alaturka Cruises offer one way to experience how travellers would have reached this ancient town, although the modern cruises offer comforts and luxury that were not available during those times.
The city flourished for generations, this is seen by that they started to produce their own coins despite being part of the Lycian Federation which produced coins for general use. In the Middle Ages, two fortresses were built along the coast and the city of Olympos was found to be abandoned by the 15th century. Today the city is again filled with people however not in the same way it once was.
Today tourist comes to the city to visit the many temples to different deities including one that was less often worshipped, Hephaestus the god of blacksmithing, jewellery and art. This god had his temple here due to the ever-burning fire of the Chimera that is found on the mountain above the city.
Whether visitors chose to explore modern cities, sail Turkey or ancient cities and monuments, Turkey has something for everyone to see and do.