by Brent Lindeque - @thegoodthingsguy
So many words come to mind when you see the beauty of Turkey. Not only beautiful but also the uniqueness, not only sights but unforgettable experiences. This is what a vacation in Turkey is. Turkey offers nothing less than a good life with happy memories.
It’s tried and tested as the team plan the actual route way in advance with a fully loaded, jam-packed itinerary that we try our absolute hardest to stick too and then we try even harder to fit even more in… you know, to give you the best idea of what a city has to offer.
So… thanks to Turkish Airlines – we spent a weekend in beautiful Turkey and have compiled a list of 10 things we love about Turkey. Plus we’ve added links to get you there at a REALLY good price!
Tip: When packing, layout all of your clothes and all of your money on the bed. Then, pack half of the clothes and take all of the money...
Hagia Sophia is the one of the most visited museums and most prominent monuments in the world in terms of art and the history of architecture. It has also been called “the eighth wonder of the world” by East Roman Philon as far back as the 6th century. The current Hagia Sophia is the third construction, done in a different architectural style, even though it occupies the same location as the previous two. The original building was constructed by the most important architects of the period (527-565), Anthemios (Tralles) and Isidoros (Miletus), under the order of Emperor Justinianos.
It was used as a church for 916 years but, following the conquest of Istanbul by Fatih Sultan Mehmed, the Hagia Sophia was converted into mosque. Afterwards, it was used as a mosque for 482 years.
One of the magnificent ancient buildings of İstanbul is the Basilica Cistern located in the southwest of Hagia Sofia. Constructed for Justinianus I, the Byzantium Emperor (527-565), this big underground water reservoir is called as “Yerebatan Cistern” among the public because of the underground marble columns. As there used to be a basilica in the place of the cistern, it is also called Basilica Cistern.
The cistern is 140 m long, and 70 m wide, and covers a rectangular area as a giant structure. Accessible with 52-step staircase, the Cistern shelters 336 columns, each of which is 9 m high. This mysterious venue is an integral part of the Istanbul itineraries
The cascading domes and six slender minarets of the Sultanahmet Mosque (better known as the “Blue Mosque”) dominate the skyline of Istanbul. In the 17th century, Sultan Ahmet I wished to build an Islamic place of worship that would be even better than the Hagia Sophia, and the mosque named for him is the result.
The two great architectural achievements now stand next to each other in Istanbul’s main square, and it is up to visitors to decide which is more impressive. Derinkuyu Underground City.
There are 36 underground cities in Cappadocia and the deepest one is Derinkuyu underground city. There are about 600 outside doors to the city, hidden in the courtyards of surface dwellings.
The underground city is approximately 85m deep. It contains all the usual rooms found in an underground city (stables, cellars, storage rooms, refectories, churches, wineries etc.) Derinkuyu contains at least 15,000 ventilation ducts that provide fresh air deep within the underground city.
The Derinkuyu Underground City was opened to visitors in 1965. The tour requires around 2 hours to really get a feel for the underground city. Dolmabahçe Palace
Dolmabahce Palace, built in 19th century, is one of the most glamorous palaces in the world. It was the administrative center of the late Ottoman Empire with the last of Ottoman Sultans was residing there. The palace has 285 rooms, 44 halls, 68 toilets and 6 Turkish baths.
14 tons of gold were used to decorate ceilings in gold leaves and there is crystal chandelier that was sent by Queen Victoria of England as a gift to the palace. It is the largest chandelier in the world with its 750 bulbs and weights 4.5 tons. Göreme Open-Air Museum
One of Turkey’s Unesco World Heritage Sites, the Göreme Open-Air Museum is an essential stop on any Cappadocian itinerary and deserves a two-hour visit.
It stands at the center of the region with easy access from all directions. It contains the finest of the rock-cut churches, with beautiful frescoes (wall paintings) whose colors still retain all their original freshness. Most of the churches in Goreme Open Air Museum belong to the 10th, 11th and 12th centuries.
The trails that loop around Güllüdere Vadısı (Rose Valley) are easily accessible to all levels of walkers and provide some of the finest fairy chimney–strewn vistas in Cappadocia. Of all the valleys to hike through, this is the one to do!
It is the most breathtaking and beautiful valley of all!
Cappadocia is a landscape that you will have never witnessed before in your lifetime. This makes it one of the most popular spots in the world to go up in a Hot Air Balloon.
As you take off for sunrise you will start to be hypnotised by the spectacular and surreal landscape that lies below you. You will gently drift over the fairy chimneys, through valleys scattered with pigeon houses, over orchards and vineyards. The different colours of the diversified landscape will leave you breathless. An activity not to be missed.
After the conquest of Istanbul by Mehmed the Conqueror at 1453, construction of the Topkapı Palace was started at the year 1460 and completed at 1478. TjhePalace was built upon a 700.000 squaremeters area on an Eastern Roman Acropolis located at the Istanbul Peninsula between Sea of Marmara, Bosphorus and the Golden Horn.
Topkapı is the subject of more colourful stories than most of the world’s museums put together. Libidinous sultans, ambitious courtiers, a beautiful history that you need to see to believe.And now that we’re done with the culturally amazing sights and sounds… the night life of Turkey needs to be addressed too.
The nightlife in Istanbul is something else… one of my fondest memories is having dinner on a boat before heading into the city to dance the night away while waiting for the sun to come up on a new day. Do yourselves a favour and make sure you plan to see and experience the nightlife of Istanbul.
The city, the sights & the people took a piece of me which I gladly left, just so that I have a reason to go back again to find it.