THE MARMARA REGION
Istanbul embraces two continents, one arm reaching out to Asia, the other to Europe.
Through the city's heart, the Bosphorus strait, courses the waters of the Black Sea, the Sea of
Marmara and the Golden Horn. The former capital of three successive empires - Roman,
Byzantine and Ottoman - today Istanbul honors and preserves the legacy of its past while looking
forward to its modern future.
Indeed, it is Istanbul's variety that fascinates its visitors. The museums, churches, palaces, great
mosques, bazaars and sights of natural beauty seem inexhaustible. As you recline on the shores of
the Bosphorus at sunset, contemplating the red twilight reflected in the windows on the opposite
shore, you understand, suddenly and profoundly, why so many centuries ago settlers chose to
build on this remarkable site. At times such as these, you feel that Istanbul is truly one of the
most glorious cities in the world.
On a spot of land at the confluence of the Bosphorus, the Golden Horn and the Marmara
Sea, stands Topkapi Palace, a maze of buildings at the center of the Ottoman Empire between
the l5th and l9th centuries. In these opulent surroundings the sultans and their court lived and
governed. A magnificent wooded garden fills the outer, or first, court. To the right of the second
court, shaded by cypress and plane trees, stand the palace kitchens, now galleries exhibiting the
imperial collections of crystal, silver and Chinese porcelain. To the left, the Harem, the secluded
quarters of the wives, concubines and children of the sultan, charms visitors with echoes of a
centuries old intrigue. Today, the third court holds the Hall of Audience, the Library of Ahmet
III, an exhibition of imperial costumes worn by the sultans and their families, the famous jewels
of the treasury and a priceless collection of miniatures from medieval manuscripts. In the center
of this innermost sanctuary, the Pavilion of the Holy Mantle enshrines the relics of the Prophet
Mohammed brought to Istanbul when the Ottomans assumed the caliphate of Islam. (Open every
day except Tuesday.)
Built in the mid-l9th century by Sultan Abdülmecit I, the facade of Dolmabahçe Palace stretches
for 600 meters along the European shore of the Bosphorus. The vast reception salon, with 56
columns, and a huge crystal chandelier weighing four and a half tons and lit by 750 lights never
fails to astonish visitors: At one time, birds from all over the world were kept in the Bird Pavilion
for the delight of the palace's privileged residents. Atatürk, founder of the Turkish Republic,
died in Dolmabahçe on November 10,1938. (Open every day except Monday and Thursday)
In the 19th century, Sultan Abdülaziz built the Beylerbeyi Palace, a fantasy in white marble amid
magnolia filled gardens, on the Bosphorus's Aegean Shore. Used as the Sultan's summer
residence, it was offered to the most distinguished foreign dignitaries during their visits. Empress
Eugenie of France was among its residents. (open everyday except Monday and Thursday.)
In addition to the State Pavilions at Yildiz Palace, the compound includes a series of pavilions
and a mosque. It was completed by Abdülhamit II at the end of the 19th century. The ?ale, the
largest and most exquisite of the buildings, reveals the luxury in which the sultans lived and
entertained. Set in a huge park of flowers, shrubs and trees gathered from every part of the world,
the palace grounds offer one of the most beautiful panoramic views of the Bosphorus. Because of
restoration work, only the ?ale and park are open to the public. (Open every day except Monday
The Göksu Palace, also known as Küçüksu, takes its name from the streams which empty into
the Bosphorus near the tiny palace. Built by Abdülmecit I in the middle of the l9th century, it was
used as a summer residence. (Open every day except Monday and Thursday)
Originally built in the l8th century and later restored by various sultans, the Aynaly Kavak
Summer Pavilion assumed its name, Mirrored Poplar, when its famed mirrors, a gift from some
of the Venetian, were installed in 1718. This palace on the Golden Horn is one of the most
beautiful examples of traditional Turkish architecture. (Open every day except Monday and
The 19th century Ihlamur Pavilion is named after the linden trees that grow in its gardens. Now
in the heart of metropolitan Istanbul, when it was originally constructed, the pavilion lay in the
rolling countryside that surrounded the city. The Merasim Pavilion was used for official
ceremonies while the Maiyet Pavilion sheltered the sultan's entourage and on occasions, his
harem during their excursions out of the palace confines. (Open every day except Monday and
The Maslak Pavilion on a shady green hill was conceived by Sultan Abdülaziz as hunting lodges
and are superb examples of the late l9th century Ottoman decorative style. These are particularly
noteworthy. (Open every day except Monday and Thursday.)
The Florya Atatürk Sea Pavilion served as a summer residence for Turkish presidents. Situated
in a T-shaped design jutting out onto the Marmara Sea, this building constructed in 1935, serves
as a showcase for some of the loveliest examples of early 20th century furnishings. Atatürk was
the first president to stay here. (Open weekdays except Monday and Thursday.)
Facing St. Sophia stands the supremely elegant, six-minaret, imperial Sultanahmet Mosque.
Built between 1609 and 1616 by the architect Mehmet, the building is more familiarly known as
the Blue Mosque because its interior gleams with a magnificent paneling of blue and white Iznik
tiles. During the summer months an evening light and sound show both entertain and inform.
The cascading domes and four slender minarets of Süleymaniye Mosque dominate the skyline on
the Golden Horn's west bank. Considered the most beautiful of all imperial mosques in Istanbul,
it was built between 1550 and 1557 by Sinan, the renowned architect of the Ottoman golden age.
On the crest of a hill, the building is conspicuous by its great size,which the four minarets that
rise from each corner of the courtyard emphasize. Inside, the mihrab (prayer niche) and the
mimber (pulpit) are of finely carved white marble; fine stained glass windows color the incoming
streams of light. It was in the gardens of this complex that Süleyman and his wife Hürrem
Sultan, Roxelane, had their mausolea built, and near here also that Sinan built his own tomb.
The mosque complex also includes four medrese, or theological schools, a school of medicine, a
caravanserai, a Turkish bath, and a kitchen and hospice for the poor.
Another skillful accomplishment of the architect Sinan, the Rüstem Pasa Mosque was built in
1561 on the orders of Rüstem Pa?a, Grand Vizier and son-in-law of Süleyman the Magnificent.
Exquisite Iznik tiles panel the small and superbly proportioned interior.
The imperial Fatih Mosque, constructed between 1463 and 1470, bears the name of the Ottoman
conqueror of Istanbul, Fatih Sultan Mehmet, and is the site of his mausoleum. Standing atop
another of Istanbul's hills, its vast size and great complex of religious buildings; medreses,
hospices, baths, a hospital, a caravanserai and a library, make it well worth a visit. The great
Mosque of Eyüp lies outside the city walls, near the Golden Horn, at the supposed place where
Eyüp, the standard bearer of the Prophet Mohammed, died in the Islamic assault on
Constantinople in 670 A.D. The first mosque built after the Ottoman conquest of the city, this
greatly venerated shrine attracts many pilgrims.
Built between 1597 and 1663, the Yeni (New) Mosque hovers over the harbor at Eminönü,
greeting the incoming ferryboats and welcoming tourists to the old city. Today, its graceful
domes and arches shelter hundreds of pigeons who make this area their home. Marvelous Iznik
tiles decorate the sultan's balcony.
The l6th century Sokollu Mehmet Pasa Mosque built in an awkwardly shaped plot on a steeply
sloping hill near Sultanahmet is one of the most beautiful examples of classical Turkish
architecture and a masterpiece of the architect Sinan. Inside, breathtaking blues, greens, purples
and reds color the elegant designs of the Iznik tiles.
Walls of glass fill the four immense arches that support the central dome at the Mihrimah Sultan
Mosque inside the Edirne gate of the old city walls. One hundred and sixty-one windows
illuminate this mosque, built by Sinan for Mihrimah Sultana, the daughter of Süleyman the
Magnificent in 1555.
The Basilica of St. Sophia, now called the Ayasofya Museum, is unquestionably one of the finest
buildings of all time. Built by Constantine the Great and reconstructed by Justinian in the 6th
century, its immense dome rises 55 meters above the ground and its diameter spans 31 meters.
You should linger here to absorb the building's majestic serenity and to admire the fine Byzantine
mosaics. (Open every day except Monday.)
The Archaeological Museums are found just inside the first court of Topkapi Palace. Included
among the displays are the celebrated Alexander Sarcophagus among its treasures of antiquity.
The Museum of the Ancient Orient displays artifacts from the Sumerian, Babylonian, Assyrian,
Hatti and Hittite civilisations. (Open every day except Monday.)
Originally built as a kö?k or pavilion by Mehmet the Conqueror in the l5th century, the Çinili
Kösk, which houses the Museum of Turkish Ceramics, contains beautiful Iznik wares from the
l6th century and fine examples of Seljuk and Ottoman pottery and tiles. (Open every day except
Like the Ayasofya Museum, the St. Irene Museum was originally a church. It ranks, in fact, as
the first church built in Istanbul. Constantine commissioned it in the fourth century and Justinian
later had the church restored. Reputedly the building stands on the site of a pre-Christian temple.
(Open every day except Monday.)
The dark stone building that houses the Museum of Turkish and Islamic Art was built in 1524
by Ibrahim Pasa; Grand Vizier to Süleyman the Magnificent, as his residence. It was the grandest
private residence ever built in the Ottoman Empire . Today, it houses a superb collection of
ceramics, metalwork miniatures, calligraphy, textiles, and woodwork as well as some of the
oldest carpets in the world. (Open every day except Monday.)
Across the street from the Ibrahim Pasa Palace is the Museum of Turkish Carpets which
contains exquisite antique carpets and kilims gathered from all over Turkey. (Open every day
except Sunday and Monday.)
Near St. Sophia is the sixth century Byzantine cistem known as the Yerebatan Sarnici. Three
hundred and thirty-six massive Corinthian columns support the immense chamber's fine brick
vaulting. (Open every day except Tuesday.)
The Mosaic Museum preserves in situ exceptionally fine mosaic pavements of the fifth and sixth
centuries which remain from the Great Palace of the Byzantine emperors. (Open every day except
The Kariye Museum, the 11th century church of "St. Savior" in Chora, is, after St. Sophia, the
most important Byzantine monument in Istanbul. Unremarkable in its architecture, inside, the
walls are decorated with superb l4th century frescoes and mosaics. Illustrating scenes from the
life of Christ and the Virgin Mary, these brilliantly colored paintings embody the vigor of
Byzantine art. Restored wooden houses in the area surrounding the church offer tea and coffee in
a relaxed , atmosphere far removed from the city's hectic pace. (Open every day except Tuesday.)
The Aviation Museum in Yesilköy traces the development of air flight in Turkey. (Open every
day except Monday.)
The great field tents used by the Ottoman armies on campaigns are displayed in the Military
Museum. Other exhibits include Ottoman weapons and the accoutrements of war. The Mehter
Takimi (Ottoman military band) perform Ottoman martial music between 3:00 and 4:00 p.m.
(Open every day except Monday and Tuesday.)
The house in which Atatürk lived in Sisli now serves as the Atatürk Museum and displays his
personal effects. (Open every day except Saturday and Sunday.)
In the Besiktas district the Naval Museum displays the great imperial caiques in which the
sultans were rowed across the Bosphorus, as well as many other interesting exhibits of Ottoman
naval history (Open every day except Monday and Thursday.)
Also in Besiktas, the Museum of Fine Arts displays Turkish paintings and sculptures from the
end of the l9th century to the present day. (Open every day except Monday and Tuesday.)
Located within the gardens of Yildiz Palace, the City Museum preserves and documents the
history of Istanbul since the Ottoman conquest. (Open every day except Thursday.)
Also within the gardens are the Yildiz Palace, Theatre and the Historic Stage Costumes
Museum, with its richly decorated scenery and stage, and its exquisite costumes.
Rahmi Koç Industry Museum, in the suburb of Hasköy on the coast of the Golden Horn, an
Ottoman-period iron- and steel-works building formerly called Lengerhane, it houses industrial
development exhibits. (Open every day except Monday).
Up the Bosphorus in the picturesque suburb of Büyükdere, the collections of the Sadberk Hanim
Museum fill two charming l9th century wooden villas. A private museum which originally
displayed Turkish decorative arts, it has recently been expanded with a new collection of
archaeological finds. (Open every day except Wednesday.)
The ancient Hippodrome, the scene of chariot races and the center of Byzantine civic life, stood
in the open space in front of the Blue Mosque, an area now called Sultanahmet. Of the
monuments which once decorated it, only three remain: the Obelisk of Theodosius, the bronze
Serpentine Column and the Column of Constantine. Remains from the curved-end section of
the Hippodrome's wall can be seen on the southwest side of these three monuments. Today, the
square forms the center of Istanbul's historical, cultural and tourism activities. You should take
particular note of the surrounding wooden houses, particularly the l8th century ones on
Sogukçesme Street. Delightfully restored, they have new life as small hotels and one houses a
fascinating library of books on Istanbul.
The Ahmet III Fountain, built in 1729, stands at the entrance to Topkapy Palace. Deep
overhanging eaves shade the water spouts where the parched could stop for a cup of refreshing
water. This highly ornate, free-standing fountain is a superb example of the late Ottoman style.
Mahmut II built the Beyazit Tower (85 meters high) in 1828 as a fire tower. Today it stands
within the grounds of Istanbul University.
The Bozdogan-Valens Aqueduct, built in 368 A.D., supplied the Byzantine and later the
Ottoman palaces with water. Today part of the remaining 900 meters of double-tiered arches
straddle the major highway that runs through the old part of town.
The Istanbul land walls, once an impenetrable fortification, stretch seven kilometers from the
Sea of Marmara to the Golden Horn. Restored recently, and many times previously, these walls
date from the fifth century and the reign of Emperor Theodosius II. UNESCO has declared the
land walls and the area which they enclose to be one of the cultural heritages of the world.
The Galata Tower, a Genoese construction of 1348, rises 62 meters high over the Golden Horn.
From the top, you see a marvelous panorama of the Golden Horn and the Bosphorus. In the
evening, tourists enjoy its popular restaurant, nightclub and bar.
Rumeli Hisary, or the European Fortress, was built by Mehmet the Conqueror in 1452 prior to
his capture of Istanbul. Completed in only four months, it is one of the most beautiful works of
military architecture in the world. (Open every day except Mondays.)
Known as Leander's Tower, Kz Kulesi is one of the romantic symbols of Istanbul. First
constructed in the l2th century on a tiny island at the entrance to Istanbul's harbor, the present
building dates from the l8th century.
Istanbul Bogazi (Bosphorus)
A stay in Istanbul is not complete without the traditional and unforgettable boat excursion up the
Bosphorus, the winding strait that separates Europe and Asia. Its shores offer a delightful mixture
of past and present, grand splendor and simple beauty. Modern hotels stand next to yaly
(shorefront wooden villas), marble palaces abut rustic stone fortresses, and elegant compounds
neighbor small fishing villages. The best way to see the Bosphorus is to board one of the
passenger boats that regularly zigzag along the shores.
Eminönü and stop alternately on the Asian and European sides of the strait. The round-trip
excursion, at a very reasonable cost, takes about six hours. If you wish a private voyage, you can
contact one of the agencies which specialize in organizing day or night mini-cruises.
During the journey, you pass in front of the magnificent Dolmabahçe Palace; farther along rise
the green parks and imperial pavilions of Yyldyz Palace. On the edge of this park, on the coast,
stands Çiragan Palace ,now restored as a grand hotel. Refurbished in 1874 by Sultan Abdülaziz, it
stretches for 300 meters along the Bosphorus shore, its ornate marble facades reflecting the
swiftly moving water. In Ortaköy, the next stop, artists gather every Sunday to exhibit their
works in a streetside gallery. The variety of people create a lively scene; sample a delicious bite
from one of the street vendors. In Ortaköy, there is a church, mosque and a synagogue that have
existed side by side for hundreds of years - a tribute to Turkish secularism and tolerance.
Overshadowing Istanbul's traditional architecture is the Bosphorus Bridge, one of the world's
largest suspension bridges linking Europe and Asia.
The beautiful Beylerbeyi Palace lies just past the bridge on the Asian side. Behind the palace
rises Çamlica Hill, the highest point of Istanbul. You can drive here to admire the magnificent
panorama of Istanbul as well as the beautiful landscaped gardens. On the opposite shore, the
wooden Ottoman villas of Arnavutköy contrast with the luxurious modern apartments of
neighboring Bebek. A few kilometers farther out, facing each other across the straits like sentries
guarding the city, stand the fortresses of Rumeli Hisari and Anadolu Hisari. The Göksu Palace,
sometimes known as Küçüksu Palace graces the Asian shore, next to Anadolu Hisari. The second
link between the two continents; the Fatih Sultan Mehmet Bridge straddles the waterway just past
the two fortresses.
From Duatepe Hill, on the European side, you can admire the magnificent panorama of the bridge
and the Bosphorus. Below Duatepe, beautiful Emirgan Park bursts with color when the tulips
bloom in spring. Opposite, on the Asian shore is Kanlica, a fishing village now a favored suburb
for wealthy Istanbulites. Crowds gather in the restaurants and cafes along its shores to sample its
famous yogurt. Shortly after Kanlica and Çubuklu is the Beykoz Korusu (Abraham Pasa Woods),
a popular retreat. In the cafes and restaurants you can enjoy the delightful views and clear fresh
air. On the European side, at Tarabya Bay, yachts seem to dance at their moorings. The coast
road bustles with taverns and fish restaurants from Tarabya to the charming suburbs of Sariyer
and Büyükdere. Sariyer has one of the largest fish markets in Istanbul and is also famous for its
delicious varieties of milk puddings and börek (pastries). A little further on past Sariyer, the
narrow strait widens and disappears into the Black Sea.
Haliç - The Golden Horn
This horn-shaped estuary, divides European Istanbul. One of the best natural harbors in the
world, the Byzantine and Ottoman navies and commercial shipping interests were centered here.
Today, lovely parks and promenades line the shores where the setting sun dyes the water a golden
color. In Fener and Balat, neighbourhoods midway up the Golden Horn, whole streets of old
wooden houses, churches, and synagogues date from Byzantine and Ottoman times. The
Orthodox Patriarchy resides here at Fener. Eyüp, a little further up, reflects the Ottoman style of
Cemeteries sprinkled with dark cypress trees cover the hillsides. Many pilgrims come to the tomb
of Eyüp in the hope that their prayers will be granted. The Pierre Loti Cafe, atop the hill
overlooking the shrine is a wonderful place to enjoy the tranquility of the view.
Yachting - Golf
Yachting is a popular activity in Istanbul. This is the only place in the world where you can enjoy
the beauty of a mystical landscape while sailing back through history to Roman, Byzantine and
Ottoman times, and view magnificent castles, palaces and mosques. From the North Sea through
the European interior, yachters can sail down the European channel system and the Rhine and
Danube Rivers into the Black Sea harbors and to the Istanbul-Bogazi and Istanbul marinas - a
safe and short way to get there. Sail on the Istanbul Bogazi under the enormous bridges spanning
two continents and around the Princes' Islands to their beautiful bays. You may anchor and enjoy
the serenity of this area. After enjoying all of the sights return to one of the two large marinas in
the area. Ataköy Marina is on the European side and Kalamis Marina is on the Asian side. Both
offer 24-hour service. International Offshore Yacht races are held in Istanbul every summer.
The Istanbul region offers lovely opportunities for golfing enthusiasts: The Klassis Golf and
Country Club, 65 km from Istanbul in Silivri, is the area's second-largest golf club, with an
18-hole course and a 9-hole course. The Kemer Golf and Country Club,18 km from Istanbul in
the Belgrad Forest near the town of Kemerburgaz, offers a formidable test of golf skill on its
9-hole course. The Istanbul Golf Club in the Ayazaga district of Istanbul has a 9-hole course.
Art, Culture and Entertainment
Istanbul is an international art and cultural center. The International Arts and Cultural Festival
is held each year in June and July with famous artists coming from all over the world. These
performances are held mostly in the Atatürk Cultural Center. Those enjoying classical music can
hear it at Cemal Resit Rey Hall. Operas, operettas, ballets, film, concerts, exhibitions and
conferences all share the cultural palette of the city. Istanbul also has a rich program of light
entertainment. Nightclubs provide splendid entertainment throughout dinner, ranging from a
selection of Turkish songs to the famous bellydance. Istanbul is an international gambling city
with many casinos.
Alongside these are modern discos, cabarets, and jazz clubs in the Taksim-Harbiye district.
In Sultanahmet, there are a number of restaurants in restored Byzantine and Ottoman buildings
which offer a unique setting for an evening out.
Kumkapi, with its many taverns, bars and fish restaurants, is another attractive district. People
have been meeting for years in Beyo?lu district's Çiçek Pasaji for snacks and seafood specialties.
Also in this district, the narrow Nevizede street, near Çiçek Pasaji, is the best place in Istanbul for
eating Turkish specialties and drinking raki.
On the Bosphorus, Ortaköy is the best place for nightlife in Istanbul, with its nightclubs, jazz
clubs, fine seafood restaurants and bars.
In Eminönü ,don't miss an opportunity to see the fishermen dressed in traditional Ottoman clothes
on their Ottoman-style boats where you may board and taste their famous delicious fried fish.
One could visit Istanbul for the shopping alone. The Kapali Çarsi, or Covered Bazaar, in the old
city is the logical place to start. This labyrinth of streets and passages houses more than 4,000
shops. The names recall the days when each trade had its own quarter: Goldsmiths' street, Carpet
sellers' street, Skullcap makers. Still the commercial center of the old city, the bazaar is the
original shopping mall with something to suit every taste and pocket.
Turkish crafts, the world-renowned carpets, brilliant handpainted ceramics, copper, brassware,
and meerschaum pipes make charming souvenirs and gifts. The gold jewelry in brilliantly lit
cases blinds passersby. Leather and suede goods of excellent quality make a relatively
inexpensive purchase. The Old Bedesten, in the heart of the bazaar, offers a curious assortment of
antiques. It is worth poking through the clutter of decades in the hope of finding a treasure.
The Misir Çarsisi or Spice Bazaar, next to Yeni Mosque in Eminönü, transports you to fantasies
of the mystical East. The enticing aromas of cinnamon, caraway, saffron, mint, thyme and every
other conceivable herb and spice fill the air. Sultanahmet has become another shopping mecca in
the old city. The Istanbul Sanatlari Çarsisi (Bazaar of Istanbul Arts) in the l8th century Mehmet
Efendi Medresesi, and the nearby l6th century Caferaga Medrese, built by Sinan, offer a chance
to see craftsmen at work and to purchase their wares. In the Arasta (old bazaar) of the
Sultanahmet Mosque, a thriving shopping arcade makes shopping and sightseeing very
The sophisticated shops of the Taksim-Nisantasi-Sisli districts contrast with the chaos of the
bazaars. On Istiklal Avenue, Cumhuriyet Avenue and Rumeli Avenue, you can browse peacefully
in the most fashionable shops that sell elegant fashions made from Turkey's high quality textiles.
Exquisite jewelry as well as finely designed handbags and shoes can also be found. The Ataköy
Galleria Mall in Ataköy and Akmerkez Mall in Etiler have branches of Istanbul's most elegant
shops. Bahariye Avenue, Bagdat Avenue, and Capitol Mall on the Asian side, offer the same
In Istanbul's busy flea markets you can find an astonishing assortment of goods, both old and
new. Everyday offers a new opportunity to poke about the Sahaflar Çarsisi and Çinaralti in the
Beyazyt district. On Sundays, in a flea market between the Sahaflar and the Covered Bazaar,
vendors uncover their wares on carts and blankets. The Horhor Çarsisi is a collection of shops
that sell furniture of varying age and quality. The flea market in the Topkapi district, on
Çukurcuma Sokak in Cihangir, on Büyük Hamam Sokak in Üsküdar, in the Kadiköy Çarsi
Duragi area, and between Eminönü and Tahtakale, are open daily. After a Sunday drive up the
Bosphorus, stop between Büyükdere and Sariyer to wander through another lively market.
The Environs of Istanbul
The Princes' Islands, an archipelago of nine islands in the Sea of Marmara, were places of exile
for Byzantine princes. Today, during the summer months, Istanbul's wealthy, escape to their cool
sea breezes, and elegant l9th century houses. Büyükada is the largest of the islands. Here you can
enjoy a ride in a horse-drawn phaeton (carriage) among the pine trees, or relax on a beach in one
of the numerous coves that ring the island. The other popular islands are Kinali, Sedef, Burgaz
and Heybeliada. Regular ferry boats connect the islands with both the European and Asian
shores. A faster sea bus service operates from Kabatas in the summer.
On the European side of the Black Sea coast, 25 km from the outskirts of Istanbul, Kilyos's long,
broad sandy beaches draw crowds of Istanbul residents in the summer months.
The Belgrad Forest, inland from the Black Sea on the European side, is the largest forest around
Istanbul . On weekends, Istanbulites drive out to its shade for family picnics and barbecues.
Seven ancient reservoirs and a number of natural springs refresh the air. The Ottoman aqueducts,
of which the l6th Century Moglova Aqueduct built by Sinan is the most splendid, lend a majesty
to the natural surroundings. Overshadowing the entrance to Kemer Golf and Country Club is the
800-meter-long Sultan Süleyman Aqueduct, also built by Sinan; it is one of the longest in Turkey.
The 500-stable Equestrian Center offers trail riding.
On the Asian side, Polonezköy, 25 km from Istanbul, was founded in the l9th century by Polish
immigrants. Istanbul residents come to its pastoral landscape for walks, horseback riding and to
enjoy the traditional Polish food served by descendants of the original settlers. On the Black Sea,
70 km from Üsküdar, Sile's sandy beaches, fish restaurants and hotels make it one of the most
delightful holiday places near Istanbul. Sile bezi, cool cotton clothing, popular with tourists, is
The Bayramoglu-Darica Bird's Paradise and Botanic Park, 38 km from Istanbul, is a unique
rest area; many species of birds and plants from all over the world can be seen in this huge park,
which also has restaurants and a promenade for pedestrians.
The charming fishing town of Eskihisar, southeast of Istanbul, boasts a marina where yachtsmen
can moor their boats after a day out in the Sea of Marmara. In town, the house of Osman Hamdi
Bey, Turkey's great l9th century painter, has been converted into a museum. Neighboring sites
include the tomb of Hannibal between Eskihisar and Gebze, and a Byzantine castle.
Many Istanbulites have summer homes near Silivri, the popular vacation area about 65 km from
Istanbul. A large holiday resort, it offers everything from casinos to sporting, health and fitness
facilities, including the Klassis Country and Golf Club, to excellent dining. The conference center
attracts business people who escape the city's fast pace for a working holiday. A regular sea bus
service connects Istanbul to Silivri.
Other Cities of Marmara Region
A fast highway connects Istanbul with Izmit, the capital of the Kocaeli province. An important
city in Roman times when it was known as Nicomedela, it is now a prosperous industrial center.
The Saatçi Efendi Konak, a restored typical l8th century Ottoman mansion, now serves as the
Ethnography Museum. Pismaniye, the local sweet, consists of thousands of thin layers of
Hereke, west of Izmit, is a major carpet making center. Renowned throughout the world for their
beauty and quality, these carpets fetch the highest prices in Istanbul's bazaars. On the Black Sea
coast, north of Izmit, particularly at Kerpe, Kefken and Kovanagzy, sandy beaches and
comfortable guest houses attract vacationers.
East of Izmit, Sakarya is the provincial capital of Adapazari, an important agricultural and
industrial region. The Sakarya (Sangarius) River irrigates this fertile land which abounds with
fruit trees and fields of vegetables. In the city of Adapazari itself, the Atatürk and Ethnography
Museum displays personal effects of the founder of the Turkish Republic as well as regional
artifacts. The Besköprü Bridge, built by the Byzantine emperor Justinian in 553, stretches for 429
meters across the river. Eight arches connect the two shores.
A few kilometers away at Lake Sapanca, quiet restaurants, hotels, and summer residences line the
lakeshore. Istanbulites escape to this retreat in the Saman Mountain basin throughout the year.
The Arifiye Forest on the highlands of Lake Sapanca has nice camping and picnic areas and an
excellent panoramic view of the lake below.
The Akgöl Lake lies just inland from the Black Sea Karasu holiday center; both places offer
scenic surroundings. At Tarakly you can wander through a town that preserves many of its old
The province of Bilecik lies southeast of Iznik in the verdant and fertile Sakarya River Valley. In
the old quarter of the city stands the mausoleum of Seyh Edebali, who was an important influence
in the founding of the Ottoman Empire. Every September, a commemorative ceremony and a
culture festival are held here in his honor. The Orhan Gazi Mosque is near his tomb.
Set amid the numerous willows which give Sögüt its name, a detour to this town is well worth the
effort. The migrating Kayi Turks first settled here, and the tomb of their leader Ertugrul Gazi
stands in the town. In September, a commemorative ceremony is held in his honor. Other tourist
attractions include the life-size busts of famous figures from Turkish history and the Ethnography
Museum which traces, through its displays, the history of Turkey.
Seventeen kilometers west of Yalova, the relaxing resort area of Çinarcik has lovely beaches and
modem holiday complexes.
Helenapolis was the ancient name of Yalova which honored the memory of Emperor
Constantine's mother Helena who designed the entire city of Yalova. Today, Yalova is an
important port city, famous for its thermal baths. Termal, in the southwestern part of the city is
the thermal district center and the best place in Turkey to take the curative thermal bath waters. In
Termal, there's a wonderful panoramic view of the entire Termal district center from the top of a
hill overlooking the city. The Atatürk Mansion, now a museum is located in Yalova, (open to the
public weekdays except Monday and Thursday) . Built in 1929, Atatürk's former summer
residence displays original furnishings from the early 20th century.
Formerly known as Nicaea, Iznik lies at the eastern tip of Lake Iznik, south of Izmit. Originally
an important Roman and Byzantine town, it fell to the Seljuks in 1078 and subsequently to the
Ottomans in 1331. Still a small town, it does not seem to have exceeded its original Roman walls.
The four gates which allowed access to the city still stand. In the town center the ruins of the St.
Sophia Cathedral, the seat of the first Ecumenical Council of 325, evoke images of convening
bishops and clergy. In the l6th and 17th centuries, Iznik was the center of exquisite ceramic ware
production which has made such an important decorative contribution to mosques and palaces
throughout Turkey. A museum displays finds from nearby excavations. Among the important
Islamic buildings in town, be sure to visit the turquoise tiled Yesil Mosque and the Nilüfer Hatun
Imareti. After exploring the sights, the lakeside fish restaurants provide delicious food and a
Yenisehir, on the road to Bursa, is filled with many interesting and lovely old Turkish houses.
The l8th century Semaki Mansion, now restored as a museum, welcomes visitors. The city of
Bursa, southeast of the Sea of Marmara, lies on the lower slopes of Uludag (Mt. Olympos of
Mysia, 2,443 meters). The city derives its name from its founder Prusias, King of Bithynia. It
subsequently came under Roman, then Byzantine rule before falling to Orhan Gazi in 1326 ,
becoming the first capital of the Ottoman Empire. Many important Ottoman buildings remain.
Known as "Green Bursa", the city is filled with gardens and parks and overlooks a verdant plain.
It is at the centre of an important fruit growing region. Bursa was, and is still, famous for its silk
trade, towel manufacture and thermal springs. You must taste locally invented Iskender Kebab, a
dish of bread, tomato sauce, strips of grilled meat, melted butter and yogurt. Candied chestnuts
are another regional specialty.
A tour of the city begins in the eastern section at the Yesil Türbe (Green Mausoleum). Set in a
garden and distinguished by its paneling of blue tiles, the mausoleum holds the tiled cenotaph of
Sultan Mehmet I. Across the street, the Yesil Mosque of 1424 reflects the new Ottoman, as
opposed to the Seljuk, aesthetic. A medrese nearby completes the complex, which is also home to
the Ethnography Museum. Before exploring this area, stop for a glass of tea in one of the
traditional tea houses. Uphill, to the east, you pass by the Emir Sultan Mosque in its delightful
setting, and after walking through a district of old houses you reach the Yildirim Beyazyt Mosque
Now make your way to Cumhuriyet Square (known locally as Heykel) and stroll along Atatürk
Avenue to Koza Park where outdoor cafes are set among flowers and fountains. At the back of
the park, a long building, the Koza Han (1490), houses the trade in silk cocoons. From here you
proceed to the covered bazaar area, with its narrow streets, caravanserais and bedesten. On the
other side of Koza Park stands the Orhan Gazi Mosque, built in 1413, and one of Bursa's oldest
religious buildings. Nearby, the large Ulu Mosque was constructed in the Seljuk style. A finely
carved walnut mimber and impressive calligraphic panels decorate the mosque. The Sadirvan
(ablutions fountain) lies amazingly within the mosque itself under the ceiling of twenty domes.
Walking west from Ulu Mosque you arrive at Hisar, an old and picturesque quarter of Bursa. In
the park that overlooks the valley are the mausoleums of Osman, the founder of the Ottoman
Empire, and his son Orhan Gazi, who commanded the army that conquered Bursa. The cafes of
Tophane offer a good place to stop for refreshment. In nearby Ressamlar Sokak (Painters' Street),
local artists work in the open air. At the Yildiz Park, Tea Gardens in the Muradiye quarter, you
get a superb view of the Muradiye Complex. The compound, in a tranquil park-like setting,
contains the Mosque of Sultan Murat II (1426) built in the style of the Yesil Mosque and the
tombs of Murat II, Cem and Sehzade Mustafa. These contain some of the loveliest decoration and
tile work. The nearby Ottoman House Museum in a restored l7th century dwelling provides an
interesting glimpse into the lives of wealthy Ottomans.
A tour of the city begins in the eastern section at the Yesil Türbe (Green Mausoleum). Set in a
garden and distinguished by its paneling of blue tiles, the mausoleum holds the tiled cenotaph of
Sultan Mehmet I. Across the street, the Yesil Mosque of 1424 reflects the new Ottoman, as
opposed to the Seljuk, aesthetic. A medrese nearby completes the complex, which is also home to
the Ethnography Museum. Before exploring this area, stop for a glass of tea in one of the
traditional tea houses. Uphill, to the east, you pass by the Emir Sultan Mosque in its delightful
setting, and after walking through a district of old houses you reach the Yildirim Beyazit (1391).
Other places of interest in Bursa include the Culture Park with the Bursa Archaeological
Museum, and the Atatürk Museum on the road to Çekirge.
The western suburb of Çekirge has been known since Roman times for its warm, mineral rich
springs. Many modem hotels have thermal bath facilities and you can also visit the old hamams.
Yeni Kaplica (New Spring) was built by Süleyman the Magnificent Grand Vizier, Rüstem Pasa,
in 1552. The Eski Kaplica (Old Spring), built on the site of the original Byzantine baths, is the
oldest bath. The Karamustafa Pasa baths are reputed to have the best hot mineral water in Bursa.
Buildings of interest in Çekirge include the Mosque and Mausoleum of Murat I and the tomb of
Süleyman Çelebi, a religious poet. The monument to Karagöz commemorates the character
whose humorous antics are immortalized in Turkish shadow puppet theater.
Uludag is the largest winter sports center in Turkey and offers a variety of activities,
accommodations and entertainment. Thirty-six kilometers from Bursa, the slopes are easily
reached by car or cable car (skylift). December to May is the best time for skiing, although the
area, which is a national park, is well worth a visit at any time of the year, for the lovely views
and wonderful fresh air.
A seaside resort town 25 km from Bursa, Mudanya's fine fish restaurants and nightclubs are
popular with the residents of Bursa. The Armistice Museum is worth a visit. Just 12 km from
Mudanya, Zeytinbagi (Tirilye) exemplifies the architecture and layout of a typical Turkish town.
The Gulf of Gemlik, 29 km from Bursa has wide sandy beaches; Armutlu and Kumla are the
favorites. The province of Balikesir borders both the Marmara and Aegean regions. In the capital
of Balikesir, nature and interesting historical sites blend in harmony. The mid-l4th century
Yildirim Mosque, built by Beyazit I, is the city's oldest mosque. Of Zagnos Pasa Mosque, built in
1461 by Mehmet the Conqueror's Grand Vizier Zagnos Pasa, and once part of a great complex,
only the mosque and bath remain today. The Saat Kulesi (Clock Tower) built in 1827 by Mehmet
Pasa imitates the Genoese Galata Tower on a smaller scale. The Karesi Bey Mausoleum of 1336
contains the cenotaphs of Karesi Bey and his five sons.
Once known as ancient Erteka, Erdek is just 14 km northwest of Bandirma. One of the Sea of
Marmara's oldest and most famous resort areas, it offers pristine beaches and every type of
Marmara Island, formerly known as Prokonessos, rose to prominence in the Roman period and
retained its importance in the Byzantine and Ottoman periods, because of its marble quarries,
which supplied the luxurious stone for the extravagant imperial building programs. Near Saraylar
village, Marble Beach derives its name from the natural marble that lies just off the water's edge.
In town, an open-air museum displays artifacts which date back to Roman and Byzantine times,
and the marble quarry, where tourists can see every step of the quarrying process.
Türkeli (Avsa) is another holiday island that boasts of spectacular beaches and clear water as well
as famous vineyards and wine cellars. In the Manastir district stands the Byzantine Meryem Ana
Fifty-five kilometers southwest of Bandirma, Gönen is Turkey's most important thermal resort.
The springs were used even in Roman times and a fifth century mosaic remains from what was
originally a Roman bath. These waters come from 500 meters below the ground and emerge
heated at approximately 82oC. Another 30 km to the northwest, Denizkent is a nice vacation spot
with lovely beaches.
Sindirgi lies at the base of the Alaçam Mountains amid beautiful forests and meadows in a region
known for the weaving of superb Turkish carpets. The rugs of Yagcibedir are among the most
prized in the country and grow more lovely the older they become.
Around the Gulf of Edremit, also in Balikesir province, are some of the most beautiful coastlines
in the country where the clear waters meet sandy beaches encircled by the silvery green of olive
groves. Ayvalik, Burhaniye, Ören, Edremit, Akçay and Altinoluk are all holiday towns which
attract vacationers interested in a relaxing holiday , with beautiful scenery, and a wealth of
historical and archaeological sites.
The beautiful Degirmen Bogazi, an area ten kilometers from Balikesir towards Bursa lies
between two hills. Families flock to this scenic spot and its restaurants during weekends and
holidays. At Karakol village , photographers can capture the three picturesque windmills on film.
Ancient Penderamus, now called Bandirma, is today an important commercial and industrial
harbor second only to Istanbul. You can spend a pleasant afternoon in the town's restaurants and
cafes. Belkis (Kyzikos) lies ten kilometers west of Bandirma. In this ancient city on the Kapidag
Peninsula's isthmus, the Temple of Hadrian, a theater and aqueducts still stand, captivating
visitors. The Kus Cenneti National Park near Lake Manyas is an ornithological site where 239
different species of birds Nourish. Every year, over three million birds fly through this preserve.
April and May are the best months to enjoy the wildlife. Thirteen kilometers southeast of
Bandirma in Karacabey, horse farms breed magnificent specimens of this beloved animal.
The city of Çanakkale lies at the narrow,1,200 meter entrance to the Çanakkale Strait that
connects the Sea of Marmara and the Aegean whose shores touch both Europe and Asia.
Passenger and car ferries run daily between Çanakkale on the Asian side; Eceabat and Kilitbahir
on the European side. Yachts navigating the straits stop at the well-equipped Çanakkale Marina
to allow tourists more time in the area. Hotels, restaurants and cafes along the promenade, offer a
place to enjoy the comings and goings of the harbor, and view of the Kilitbahir Fortress and the
Çanakkale Archaeological Museum.
In 1451, Sultan Mehmet II, later the conqueror of Istanbul, built one fortress on the European side
of the Çanakkale Strait at Kilitbahir and one on the opposite shore at Çimenlik to control the
passage of ships through the strait. Today the Çimenlik fortress serves as a military museum
dedicated to the Çanakkale Battle.
Gelibolu Peninsula Historical National Park was established to honor the 500,000 soldiers who
gave their lives on Gelibolu also known as Gallipoli. In 1915, Mustafa Kemal, commander of the
Turkish army, led a successful campaign to drive out the allied powers from the area. The park
includes memorials, monuments, cemeteries, the natural beauty of the Aryburnu Cliffs and Tuz
Gölü (Salt Lake). The beauty of the green hills, sandy beaches and blue waters provides an
honored resting place for the soldiers who bravely fought and died in this historic battle. You
cannot help but sense the heart of the Turkish nation in the special spirit of this place.
The largest of the Turkish islands, Gökçeada is ringed with pristine bays. Its hills, covered in the
contrasting greens of pines and olive trees are dotted with sacred springs and monasteries.
Regularly scheduled ferry boats make the trip from Çanakkale and Kabatepe. In August,
islanders and tourists gather for colorful local fairs.
As you approach Bozcaada Island, the Venetian castle commands your attention. Then your eyes
are drawn to the glistening white houses and the restaurants and cafes which line the promenade.
Wine seems as plentiful as water on this island; a circuit reveals many vineyards and wine cellars.
There are good sandy beaches at Ayazma, Poyraz and Igdelik.
Homer immortalized Truva (Troy) in the stories of King Priamus, Hector, Paris and the beautiful
Helen. Archaeological excavations have revealed nine separate periods of settlement and the
ruins of city walls, house foundations, a temple and a theatre. A symbolic wooden Trojan horse
commemorates the legendary war. The ancient harbor of Alexandria-Troas was built in the 3rd
century B.C. St. Paul visited here twice, and on his third missionary journey, he continued from
here to Assos.
The acropolis of Assos (Behramkale) is 238 meters above sea level and the Temple of Athena
was constructed on this site in the 6th century B.C. This Doric temple is being restored to its
former glory and role as guardian of the Biga Peninsula and
Edremit Gulf. Linger to see the moonlight scattered through the temple ruins, or rise early for the
gentle awakening of dawn over the acropolis, from the top of which you can take in the
magnificent vista of the Gulf of Edremit; and you will appreciate why this heavenly location was
chosen. On the terraces descending to the sea are agoras, a gymnasium and a theatre. From the
northern corner of the acropolis, you can see a mosque, a bridge and fortress, all built in the l4th
century by the Ottoman Sultan Murat I. Below lies a tiny and idyllic ancient harbor. Assos has
gained the reputation of being the center of the Turkish art community with its lively, friendly
and bohemian atmosphere. This may be the holiday you will remember for years to come. 25 km
west of Behramkale, in the village of Gülpinar is the ancient city of Chryse where the 2nd
century B.C: temple of Apollon Smintheus is located. 15 km west of Gülpinar on an unmarked
road along the jagged coastline lies Babakale, a scenic village of houses terraced on a cliff which
drops to the sea.
The town of Biga has lent its name to its entire peninsula. A town of parks, it is a good place to
see houses built in a traditional style. The closest beaches are at Karabiga and Sahmelek, where
you will find reasonably priced accommodations. Karabiga was known in ancient times as
Priapos, after the god, and thus has cult and fertility associations. Çan is well known for its
ceramics and sulphur springs, said to be helpful in various disorders of the liver, intestine and
urinary tract. There are two other hot springs at nearby Külcüler and Kirazli.
Kaz Dagi (Mt. Ida, 1774 meters) is situated at the southern tip of Çanakkale by the beautiful Kaz
Dagi National Park with magnificent landscapes, peaceful green areas and several hot springs.
At the northern entrance, via Bayramiç and Evciler, to the Kaz Dagi National Park are the main
day-camping facilities. In Bayramiç, 60 km from Çanakkale is the beautiful 18th century
Hadimogullari Mansion (Ottoman House) with its ethnography museum.
On the opposite, northern shore of the Sea of Marmara, Tekirdag is an important commercial
harbor. From both sides of this modem city of lovely promenades, stretch beautiful sandy
beaches. A happy mixture of sunflower fields and vineyards cover the surrounding area. The
most important architectural monument is the Sinan-designed Rüstem Pasa Mosque, built by
Süleyman the Magnificent's Grand Vizier in 1554. The Archaeology and Ethnography Museum
displays an extensive collection of artifacts from the area. The Rakoczy Museum occupies the
house where the Hungarian prince, Rakoczy Ferench II (1676-1735), who fought for his people's
liberation, lived out the last years of his life. The Namik Kemal Memorial (1840-1888) honors
the birthplace of the Turkish national poet. Sixty kilometers west of Tekirdag, the holiday center
of Sarköy ve Mürefte is a renowned winetasting region; beautiful vineyards cover the entire area,
and the city hosts a wine festival every year.
North of Tekirdag on the border between Greece and Turkey, Edirne was for some years the
Ottoman capital, and in the l8th century one of the seven largest cities in Europe. On a verdant
plain of poplar trees near the junction of the Tunca and Meriç Rivers, this graceful historical city
welcomes visitors as they make their way to Istanbul and other points east. The people of the
Edirne area trace their origins beyond the rule of the Macedonians. The Roman emperor Hadrian
rebuilt the city and renamed it Hadrianople after himself. With the division of the Roman Empire,
the Byzantines claimed Edirne and in 1361, Sultan Murat I added it to his empire.
Its position for almost 100 years as capital of the Ottoman Empire accounts for its many
historically and architecturally important buildings. With its mosques, religious complexes,
bridges, old bazaars, caravanserais and palaces, Edirne is a living museum.
The Sinan Mosque is the city's focal point. Occupying the top of a hill, Sinan's design reflects the
classical Ottoman style. Built on the orders of Sultan Selim II, (1569-1575) it attests to the
technological abilities of the day and the genius of the Ottoman's master architect.
Built between 1403 and 1414 by Mehmet I, the Eski Mosque is the oldest Ottoman structure in
Edirne. The white marble of its portal contrasts with the building's cut stone and brick masonry.
Calligraphic inscriptions of Koranic verses decorate the interior.
The Üç Serefeli Mosque, built between 1438 and 1447 by Murat I, presages the great period of
Ottoman mosque architecture under Sinan and embodies both a new freedom from restraint and
advances in engineering. The northwest minaret has three galleries, hence the mosque's name,
and was the highest minaret until those of the Selimiye Mosque eclipsed it.
Towards the end of the l5th century, Beyazyt II commissioned the architect Hayrettin to build
him a complex in Edirne which includes a mosque, Darüssifa (hospital), medrese, kitchen and
store rooms. The mosque is square in plan and covered with a deep dome; over 100 domes roof
the remainder. The most important of the other buildings is the Darüssifa which stood out in its
time as a modern hospital with a unique and humane architectural design.
Little has changed in the Kaleiçi section of Edirne since the Middle Ages. Narrow streets lined
with houses wind through the area. The number of small restaurants arid cafes reflect the district's
Sinan built several of the famous baths in Edirne including the Sokollu, Tahtakale, Mezit Bey,
Beylerbeyi and Gazi Mihal hamams. His work is also seen in the Ahmet Pasa Caravanserai and
the Rüstem Pasa Caravanserai of 1561. The latter has been renovated and serves as a charming
hotel. The old bedesten of the early l5th century still functions as Edirne's main market. As you
drive around the area you will notice many lovely Ottoman bridges gracing the Tunca and Meriç
Edirne has retained many of its colorful traditions and customs. Every summer, where the Tunca
River divides, an emerald green meadow is created, called Sarayiçi, where the Kirkpinar Greased
Wrestling Contests are held. Shiny, slippery bodies grapple to determine who will emerge as
As you walk through the city and peer into the corners of the grocery stores, you see blocks of
white feta cheese, a local specialty. Hardaliye, another of the city's delicacies, is a grape drink
mixed with mustard and marzipan. Scented soaps, earthenware pots and straw baskets from
Edirne make good souvenirs. You will find it difficult to resist the beautiful embroidery work of
the local women.
The Archaeology and Ethnography Museum traces the history of the area from prehistoric to
Byzantine times and exhibits clothing from the late Ottoman period. At the Turkish Islamic Art
Museum examples of Ottoman architectural details, calligraphy, manuscripts, Korans, weapons,
glass and an imperial tent used on military campaigns are displayed.
On the way to the Saroz Gulf in the Aegean Sea, you can stop at Uzunkõprü to see an interesting
bridge spanning the Ergene River, built by Murat II in 1444. Its 174 arches, the highest of which
is 12.28 meters, make up its 1,354 meter length. The mild climate and beautiful surroundings on
the Saroz Gulf invite holiday makers for a break of relaxation. On the northern point of the gulf
are the lovely Ibrice and Erikli beaches. Here the hotel and guest-house facilities are plentiful and
Enez (Ainos) was an important port in ancient times, today it lies 3.5 km. inland. Its origins can
be traced to the l2th century B.C. and was an important settlement during the Hellenic, Roman,
Byzantine and Ottoman periods. Currently, it remains an open-air museum and was built by the
Kyle people and was known as a colony of western Anatolian civilisation. Enez Castle has been
restored several times throughout history and is well worth a visit. There is also a church dating
from the 6th century B.C., some carved tombs and a beach with clear water. The people here are
quite hospitable and Enez makes an interesting stopover.
The Yildiz (Istranca) Mountains divide the province of Kirklareli. Lush mountainous landscape
dotted with quaint houses transport you to an idyllic and tranquil frame of mind. The city of
Kirklareli's oldest mosque, the Hizirbey Mosque, was built in 1383. The mosque complex
includes a bazaar. Nearby stands a hamam also built under Hizir Bey's patronage. The l4th
century Kirklar Memorial with its impressive 18 columns stands on Kirklar Hill honoring the site
where 40 soldiers lost their lives when the Ottomans conquered this area neighboring town of
Babaeski also boasts a Sinan building in the Cedi Ali Pasa Mosque.
Vize (Byzia), an important Byzantine center, houses the Küçük Ayasofya church and a castle,
both dating from the Byzantine period. under the command of Murat I. The Archaeological
Museum exhibits finds from local excavations.
Kyrklareli's Black Sea Coast is another place to enjoy beaches and good fish restaurants. I?neada,
98 km east of Kyrklareli, lies squeezed between its sandy shores and the Yyldyz Mountains.
Kyyyköy (Midye) is another holiday resort town with good accommodations and picturesque
dwellings from the Middle Ages; the town and its land walls date from the Byzantine period.
The Sokollu Mosque in Lüleburgaz, on the Edirne-Istanbul road, is an exquisite work of Sinan's
that dates from 1570. The If you are travelling north to Bulgaria, linger for a few hours in the
peaceful and green town of Dereköy, the last stop before the border.
THE BLACK SEA COAST
The vibrant green of Turkey's lush, humid Black Sea Coast surprises those who imagine the
country to be nothing but barren steppe. From the European border with Bulgaria to the Georgian
border, dense pine forests cover the mountaintops while lush vegetation and bountiful crops grow
in the lower elevations and valleys. Along the coastline, mile after mile of beautiful uncrowded
beaches offer sun, swimming and relaxation. In the springtime, delicate wild-flower blossoms
carpet the rolling meadows of the eastern hills. The wooden houses in
fishing villages and mountain hamlets alike preserve indigenous and traditional architectural
styles. The humid climate and fertile soil encourage cultivation of a variety of crops including
tea, tobacco, corn and hazelnuts. The magic of such a diverse landscape proves irresistible to any
friend of nature, whether hiker or mountain climber or canoe enthusiast; whether you go in by
mountain bike or by jeep safari.
Archaeological excavations from the early Bronze Age settlements at Ikiztepe in Samsun
Province have uncovered evidence of the region's earliest inhabitants. The Hittites, Miletians,
Phrygians and, according to Homer, the Amazons all colonised parts of the coast. Alexander the
Great in his world conquest also brought the region under his sovereignty. Eventually, it was
incorporated into the Roman and then the Byzantine Empire. The 15th century saw the greater
part of the area come under the Ottoman rule of Sultan Mehmet II.
The Black Sea is easily accessible to tourists and provides a wide range of hotels and restaurants
at a variety of prices.
The Western Black Sea Coast
The Eastern Black Sea Coast
The Western Black Sea Coast
The Yildiz (Istranca) Mountains bisect the province of Kirklareli. Lush mountainous landscape
dotted with quaint houses transport you to an idyllic and tranquil reverie. In the city of Kirklareli
the oldest mosque is the
Hizirbey Mosque, built in 1383. The mosque complex includes a bazaar. Nearby stands a hamam
(bath) also built under the patronage of Hizir Bey. The 14th-century Kirklar Memorial with its
impressive 18 columns stands on Kirklar Hill honouring the site where 40 soldiers lost their lives
when the Ottomans conquered this area under the command of Murat I. The Archaeology
Museum exhibits finds from local excavations.
The Sokollu Mosque in Lüleburgaz, on the Edirne-Istanbul road, is an exquisite work of Sinan
that dates from 1570. The neighbouring town of Babaeski also boasts a Sinan building in the
Cedid Ali Pasa Mosque.
Vize (Byzia), an important Byzantine center, houses the Küçük Ayasofya church and a castle,
both dating from the Byzantine period.
If you are travelling north to Bulgaria, linger for a few hours in the peaceful and green town of
Dereköy, the last stop before the border.
Kirklareli's Black Sea Coast is another place to enjoy beaches and good fish restaurants. Igneada,
98 km east of Kirklareli, lies sandwiched between sandy shores and the Yildiz Mountains.
Kiyiköy (Midye) is another holiday
resort town with good accommodation and picturesque dwellings from the Middle Ages. The
town and its walls date from the Byzantine period. The best site to visit in Midye is the historic
St. Nicholas Rock Monastery.
Also on the European Black Sea coast, only 35 km from Istanbul, are the sandy beaches, and
hotels, motels and camping facilities of Kilyos.
Across the Bosphorus, on the Asian shore, Sile's (71 km from Istanbul) long sandy beaches,
overlooked by the remains of a Genoese Castle, attract many visitors. The excellent restaurants
and nightlife make it a popular weekend retreat for Istanbul residents. Cotton blouses and shirts
(Sile Bezi) are sewn and embroidered here.
Originally founded by a Polish prince as a home for Polish exiles, Polonezköy (25 km from
Istanbul) has been transformed into a relaxing resort with guest houses and restaurants serving a
delicious selection of fresh local produce. Inland from the coast, the rolling hills and peaceful
woods make an excellent area for horseback riding.
Agva (50 km east of Sile), on the banks of a river as well as on the shores of the Black Sea, is
surrounded by lovely scenery, ideal for a camping holiday. Kerpe, Kefken and Karasu are three
quaint fishing villages east of Agva. Delightful restaurants and limpid water draw a constant
stream of visitors.
Inland, between Ankara and Istanbul, is Bolu (262 km from Istanbul and 192 km from Ankara),
an important provincial center with an impressive 14th century Ulu Mosque and modern thermal
facilities close at hand. The Bolu Archaeology and Ethnography Museum has artifacts from the
Hittite, Roman, Byzantine, Seljuk and Ottoman periods. Southwest of Bolu is the popular and
relaxing Lake Abant resort, set in lovely alpine surroundings at an altitude of 1,500 meters.
Istanbul dwellers often escape to the lake for a weekend of fresh air and exercise.
In the Köroglu Mountains is Kartalkaya, one of Turkey's major ski resorts. In the summer you
can stop for a picnic at Gölcük Lake. The breathtakingly beautiful Yedi Göller (Seven Lakes)
National Park lies north of Bolu. Nearby, the town of Mengen has a reputation for its good
cooks and holds the annual Chefs' Festival of in August, featuring traditional Turkish
The sites around Konuralp (53 km from Bolu) the ancient Prusa ad Hypium, continue to yield
artifacts from both the Roman and Byzantine periods, which are on display in the local museum.
Among the ruins, the Roman theatre is not to be missed.
Back on the coast, the lovely beach and comfortable guest houses and hotels at Akçakoca ensure
that it remains a popular holiday resort. Near the town, you can explore the remains of a Genoese
castle now set amid hazelnut groves.
Alapli is an ideal place for water sports, especially sailing and surfing. Long sandy beaches
stretch both east and west on both sides of the town.
Eregli, whose ancient name was Heraklea ad Pontus, stands on a hill adjacent to a Byzantine
castle. In the spring the aroma of strawberries, some of the sweetest grown in Turkey, fills the air,
making a visit a mouthwatering experience. Eregli derives its name from the mythological
demi-god, Hercules, who, in the 11th century caught the three-headed dog, Cerberus, guardian of
the gates of hell. According to Xenophon, Cerberus resided in the cave Cehennemagzi (Entrance
to Hell), outside of Eregli near Kavakderesi.
Zonguldak is a major center of coal production and an important Black Sea port. The scenic road
on the east side of town leads to the areas of Kopuz and Uzunkum, where tea gardens and
restaurants beckon tourists to spend a leisurely afternoon.
Connoisseurs of fine handcrafted wood, travel to Devrek, a pretty town, 50 km southeast of
Zonguldak, to purchase its renowned wooden canes.
Karabük, situated 10 km southeast of Safranbolu is the most important industrial center in
Turkey, known for its iron and steel industry. Not far from Karabük lies the charming park of
Çamlik, the perfect place for rest and relaxation. The entire area is dotted with pine forests and
there is a lovely tea garden and restaurant in a nice place to enjoy nature.
Also inland and further to the east is charming Safranbolu. Step back in time in the lovely "old
world" style of the town to see some of the most beautiful traditional old houses, unique in
Turkey for their outstanding design and construction. The most interesting of these include:
Kaymakamlar House, Aygiroglu House, and Asmazlar Havuzlu Konak which has
been restored and is now used as a hotel operated by the Turkish Touring Automobile Club. The
Mektepçiler House is also noteworthy as is the Haci Memisler House. Pasa House is also
restored and has been converted into a lovely cafe and pension as well. The castle on the hill
offers a vista of the town. Be sure to see the Cinci Inn and Hamam (17th-century Turkish bath),
the Izzet Mehmet Pasa Mosque and Library (18th-century), and the Köprülü Mosque which also
dates from the 17th century. Also worth seeing are the Dagdelen Mosque (18th-century) and
Kaçak Mosque (19th-century). UNESCO has named Safranbolu as an international cultural area.
Safranbolu originally takes its name from the saffron fields that dotted the area in the 19th
century. Today, saffron fields abound in the village of Davutobasi, 20 km away, where a thriving
saffron business continues. Before leaving, be sure not to miss the Arasta (Old Bazaar) where you
can watch craftsmen at work and bargain with them for their goods. The "lokum" (Turkish
Delight) is also a special treat, unique among lokum connoisseurs and a must to sample.
About 36 km. south of Karabük is Eskipazar, where the old Ömer Beyler Mansion is located. It
is now restored and famous for its ornately decorated ceilings.
Bartin (80 km east of Zonguldak) is a pretty city of timbered houses that holds a strawberry
festival every year in the spring. The remains of a Roman road dating back to the reign of the
Emperor Claudius can still be seen. A boat trip on the Bartin river makes for a delightful
excursion. Nearby Inkum has been developed into a holiday village with a sandy beach,
restaurant and guest houses.
Amasra (17 km from Bartin), one of the most beautiful towns on the Black Sea coast, was called
Sesamos in ancient times, when it was founded by the Miletians in the sixth century B.C. It
stands on a peninsula made by two inlets. The eastern side enjoys a reputation for good
swimming. On a rocky promontory rise the ramparts of a Byzantine citadel, inside of which is an
old church, now the Fatih Mosque. The necropolis dates from the Roman period. Remnants from
Amasra's entire history are displayed in the Archaeology Museum. You can purchase a lovely
handcarved wooden souvenir on Çekiciler street. Continuing eastward along the coast, you arrive
at Çakraz (15 km east of Amasra) a typical fishing village with excellent beaches, friendly
accommodation and fine restaurants. The winding road between Çakraz and Inebolu has steep
mountainsides and offers a spectacular panoramic view.
Beyond Çakraz is Kurucasile, a town known for its fishing boat manufacturing. Cide, 28 km
farther, has good hotels and a pleasant beach, providing comfort and relaxation. Gideros Bay will
make you think a dream has come true.
Inebolu ( 100 km east of Cide) is a typical Black Sea town set in lush greenery displaying many
fine examples of traditional Turkish architecture. East of Inebolu is Abana, another good holiday
center. Situated inland amid beautiful forests, the provincial center of Kastamonu (90 km south of
Inebolu) also dasts several important monuments: the 12th-century Byzantine castle, the
13th-century Atabey Mosque and the Ibni Neccar Mosque of 1356. The Archaeology and
Ethnography Museum displays artifacts found in the region and the Liva Pasa Mansion
Museum also has local ethnographical artifacts. Near the town is Evkaya, a rock tomb dating
from the sixth century B.C. In the village of Kasaba, the 14th century Mahmut Bey Mosque
retains some of the finest wood carvings found anywhere in Turkey. About 41 km west of
Kastamonu via Daday, Çömlekçiler village has traditional timber houses and farms offering
country horseback riding tours.
Then, 63 km south of Kastamonu is Ilgaz National Park, a delightful protected area in the Ilgaz
Mountains, in which also is a ski center and good accommodation. East of the park by the Devrez
and Kizilirmak rivers, is Tosya where extensive rice fields cover the landscape.
Ilgarini Cave, in the region of Pinarbasi (northwest of Kastamonu), is one of the largest caves in
Turkey. It is a wonderful place for trekking and exploration off the beaten path.
The Eastern Black Sea Coast
Sinop (192 km northeast of Kastamonu) is one on the most beautiful natural harbours of the
Black Sea. It was founded in the seventh century by Miletian colonists and was the birthplace of
the third-century philosopher, Diogenes the Cynic. The town's citadel and the foundations of a
temple dedicated to Serapis date from that period. The Archaeology Museum exhibits several
beautiful golden icons and the 18th-century Aslan Torunlar Mansion Museum displays
ethnographical artifacts. Other important monuments include the 13th-century Alaeddin Mosque
and the Alaiye Medrese.
Excellent fish restaurants along the charming fisherman's wharf serve tasty meals while brightly
coloured boats bobbing in the water complete the picturesque setting. Sinop is also known for its
traditional nautical wooden carvings. Seaside hotels and holiday villages provide accommodation
in all price ranges. Some 35 km to the southwest, high in the mountains, lie the yaylas (mountain
plateaus) of Güzfindik and Bozarmut. At an elevation of 1,350 meters, these green pastures with
their summer residents offer a glimpse into a traditional way of life.
Gerze is situated on a peninsula 40 km east along the coast and is surrounded by parks and
beaches. Farther along the coastal road, you arrive at Yakakent, a fishing village with clean,
sandy beaches. Çamgölü, a large forest which slopes to the sea, has camping sites, guest facilities
Turning inland, the road takes you to Bafra (30 km east of Yakakent) a town famous for its
tobacco, caviar and thermal springs. Its 13th-century hamam
and 15th-century mosque-medrese complex are sights worth seeing. Ikiztepe, 7 km northeast of
Bafra is an archaeological site from the early Bronze Age that uncovers much of Black Sea
regional history. The artifacts, including jewellery, which is especially important, can be seen in
the Samsun museum.
Samsun (418 km northeast of Ankara) is a modern industrial city that has served as a major port
for centuries. Products from all over the region are exported from this city, which annually hosts
the Samsun Trade and Industrial Fair. Samsun found itself at the center of the Turkish War of
Independence on May 19,1919, when Atatürk landed here to organise the defence of Anatolia.
The Atatürk Museum houses many objects and documents relating to the war. An equestrian
statue honouring the founder of the Republic stands in a prominent place in the city park. The
14th-century Pazar Mosque and the 19th-century Büyük Mosque reflect two different Turkish
architectural styles and are interesting to compare. The Archaeology Museum not only displays
the fends from Ikiztepe but also artifacts from Dündartepe and Amisos, as Samsun was known in
The charming little port of Ünye (93 km east of Samsun) is one of the nicest holiday towns on the
eastern Black Sea and justly boasts of its excellent beaches and camping facilities. Do not miss
the extraordinary 18th century town hall. Within easy reach of Ünye is the beautiful Çamlik
After Fatsa (22 km east of Ünye), another holiday town on the road to Ordu, the ruins of the
Byzantine Jason Church, now a museum, stand on the Çamburnu promontory. Legend has it that
the Argonauts landed here on their quest for the Golden Fleece. Fish restaurants serving the finest
tea found in the region dot the 50 km of scenic road to Ordu. Sea snails, a regional speciality, are
particularly delicious at Yaliköy.
Returning from the Babylonian campaign, the survivors of "Xenophon's Ten Thousand" left
Anatolia from Ordu in their retreat to Greece. Today, it is a beautiful port situated at the foot of a
forested hill. In the Pasaoglu Konak (mansion), now the Ethnographical Museum, see how a
rich and influential 19th century family lived. Hazelnut production centres around Ordu
and every September the town hosts the Golden Hazelnut Festival. Be sure to sample the
delicious chocolate nut candy. It is worth spending some time at an 18th-century church, 2 km of
town, and the pretty beach of Güzelyali is worth visiting. 58 km further south, at an altitude of
1,250 meters, lies the yayla (plateau) of Çambasi offering beautiful mountain views. The yayla of
Keyfalan, at 2,000 meters, is another popular summer destination for local residents.
The ruins of a Byzantine fortress offer a wonderful panorama of Giresun. It was from this city,
ancient Cerasos, that the Roman general Lucullus exported the first cherry trees to Europe. An
18th century church (now a museum) makes a short visit worthwhile. Outside of town, Giresun
Adasi (Giresun Island) is said to have once belonged to the Amazons. A ruined temple supports
this theory. The Aksu Art and Culture Festival is a yearly event in May. To get off the beaten
track, take an excursion to the high mountain yaylas of Bektas or Kümbet.
Between Giresun and Trabzon, are the quaint coastal towns of Kesap, Tirebolu, Görele,
Vakfikebir and Akçaabat squeezed between wooded mountains and the Black Sea waters. Stop at
Görele for delicious, submarine-shaped meat and cheese 'pitas', at Vakfikebir for the best butter
and at Akçaabat to sample the best köfte (meat rolls).
Trabzon, the major city of the region, was founded in the 7th century B.C. by Miletian colonists,
and was later at the center of the Comnene Empire established after the fall of Byzantine Istanbul.
The exiled Byzantine court ruled until 1461 when the Ottomans conquered the area. The jewel of
Trabzon's monuments is the restored 13th-century Byzantine church, used for centuries as a
mosque and now as the Ayasofya Museum. Splendid frescoes, some of the finest examples of
Byzantine painting, cover every one of the interior church walls. Several other churches were
converted to mosques, two becoming the Fatih Mosque and the Yeni Cuma Mosque. The
Ottoman Gülbahar Mosque, a typical provincial style building, is set in a lovely tea garden.
Wooden houses fill the old quarter nestled in the ancient fortifications, which still retain the spirit
of a medieval town. The house in which Atatürk stayed has been made into a museum.
On the hills above Trabzon, Boztepe Park offers a beautiful view of the city and coastline. On the
western slopes of Boztepe Hill stands the Irene Tower, built by Empress Irene of Trabzon in
1340. Just east of the city, the village of Sürmene has an impressive 19th-century mansion
known as the Kastel. Near Trabzon, south of Akçaabat, the lovely highland meadows of Karadag,
Hidirnebi and Erikbeli are ideal for hiking and picnics. The road inland from Trabzon winds
through spectacular mountain landscape before reaching the Zigana Tunnel, the longest in
Turkey. Nearby Hamsiköy is a charming mountain village, that has gained a national reputation
for its excellent cuisine (including the best rice pudding), and is also conveniently near the
Zigana Ski Center. The beautiful meadows and highland pastures of Gürgenagaç Yaylasi, Kirazli
Yaylasi and Solma Yaylasi are ideal sites for outdoor activities. The traditional Kadirga Festival
celebrates the annual summer migration to the high mountain pastures.
Altindere National Park provides a magnificent setting for the 14th century Sümela Monastery,
perched high on a cliff face 270 meters above a deep gorge. Surrounded by the ruins of the
monks' quarters, is a church covered inside and out with brilliant frescoes. Southeast of Trabzon
is lake Uzungöl, a lovely alpine lake surrounded by mountains and meadows, excellent for
camping, hiking and fishing. The restaurants there also make it the best place for eating river
Gümüshane (88 km east of Trabzon), on the ancient trade route between Trabzon and Iran was
once of considerable importance. Many elegant buildings still remain. Set amid fruit groves and
wild roses, the town is a natural stopping point between Trabzon and Erzurum. Take the
opportunity to try the local rosehip syrup and marmalade.
Bayburt (77 km from Gümüshane), is situated on the banks of the Çoruh River and lies on what
was once known as the Silk Road. Marco Polo and the inveterate Turkish traveller Evliya Çelebi
both passed through this city. The remains of a Byzantine castle, as well as major mosques,
Turkish baths and fascinating carved tombstones are among the significant sites. Two of the most
important monuments in Bayburt are Ulu Mosque (18th century) and the Clock Tower in the city
center which dates from the republican period. Also worth seeing are the twin mauseoleums of
Sehit Osman and his sister which are situated on the hillsides at the southern entrance to the city.
Osman Park on the Çoruh River has wonderful scenery and is a lovely place to relax.
Rize (75 km east of Trabzon) is built on a mountain slope covered with tea bushes that look like
puffy green pillows. Be sure to see this typical Black Sea city's 16th-century Islam Pasa Mosque
and the remains of a Genoese castle. From Ziraat Park you can take in a splendid panorama of
whole area. A lightweight summer cloth of good quality and printed with colorful patterns comes
from the Rize area. During the Summer Tea Festival you can purchase the best blend of Black
Sea tea. Mehmet Mataraci Mansion is now an Atatürk Museum that displays his personal
belongings as well as ethnographical artifacts from the region.
Turning inland after Ardesen off the road going east from Rize, you come to the beautiful little
town of Çamlihemsin straddling a rushing stream. Nearby is the Firtina Vadisi (Valley of
Storms) - ideal for canoeing, and the beautiful Zir Castle, and stone bridges from Byzantine
times. After walking around Ayder's rolling meadows, you can relax in one of the many hot
springs. For those who like mountain climbing, this is the best starting point for scaling the
Kaçkar Mountains. This emerald range is one of the best and the most challenging for climbers
in Turkey. The whole of the Kaçkar Range constitutes the beautiful Kaçkar Daglari National
Park. In the mountains south of Rize, Anzer village offers the world-famous and nutritious Anzer
honey and is a nice area for hiking and for its botany. Ikizdere Canyon, between Anzer and
Ikizdere Plateaus, is a great spot for hang-gliding. At the same time you get a bird's-eye view of
the area. Near Rize, the towns of Çayeli, Pazar, Ardesen, Of and Findikli all enjoy a subtropical
climate, lush green settings and boast traditional chalets. The Çamburnu coast is covered with
golden pine trees where many species of migrating birds stop and it is a lovely area for resting
and picture taking.
Hopa, an attractive town at the foot of a forested mountain, is the last port before the
Turkish-Georgian border. The international boundary actually divides the village of Sarp. 27 km
northeast of the town of Borçka on the way to Artvin there is the wonderful alpine lake of
Karagöl, with various pine trees, as well as other flora and fauna. The road to Artvin traverses the
Cankurtaran mountain pass, where verdant landscape changes to barren rocks. Hatilla Valley
National Park, about 25 km in length, is 10 km from Artvin, between the confluence of the
Çoruh River and the Hatilla stream in the east, and Mt. Nathali (2,923 m) in the west. Canyons
with sheer cliffs and vertical drops can be seen throughout the park. Both Mediterranean and
Black Sea flora flourish together in the park along with bears, deer, wolves, foxes and eagles.
Special houses on top of wooden stilts are home to the park bees who produce the famous
A winding drive midway up a mountainside takes you to Artvin, the capital of the province. At
the foot of the escarpment, a ruined 16th-century castle crowns a rocky outcrop. Artvin is a
charming city with beautiful old Turkish houses, typical of the region. The area's mild climate
makes summer visits delightfully refreshing and every June, crowds of tourists, as well as
brightly-clad locals, throng to the Kafkasör festival, where the spectacle of fighting bulls
highlights the celebration. The adventurous might like to attempt white-water rafting on the wild,
romantic Çoruh river.
During the Middle Ages the Artvin area came under Georgian sovereignty, which makes it the
best place for touring remains of the Georgian past. Its wonderfully scenic roads lead to the
ruined churches and settlements that stand as a legacy of this period. The best-preserved of these
are at Barhal and Ishan, in the majestic Kaçkar Mountains. Barhal also offers some of
the best country horseback riding. Several other churches in Bagbasi and Çamliyamaç are just off
the road to Erzurum, passing by the Tortum Waterfalls and the pristine Tortum Lake. Other
Georgian churches and settlements near Yusufeli are Dörtkilise, Köprügören, and Tekkale.
Yusufeli itself boasts wonderful possibilities for nature lovers and hiking at 4000 meters. East of
Artvin is the former Georgian capital Ardanuç, with its famous castle, which overlooks the
longest canyon in the region.
55 km east of Artvin is Savsat, an alpine village surrounded by meadows of wild flowers and
butterflies, rushing streams and quaint chalets. The local womens' organisation has established a
training center for weaving in an attempt to keep the indigenous carpet and kilim traditions alive.
Karagöl - Sahara National Park, 17 km from Savsat on the way to Ardahan, has one of the most
beautiful Karagöl alpine lakes as well as the widely-known Sahara plateau. The lake is 45 km
northeast of Savsat via Veliköy Village, another typical authentic village. The area around the
lake is covered with a variety of pine trees and also has picnic facilities. Wildlife, including bears,
is plentiful. The Sahara plateau itself is also covered with beautiful mineral and fresh springs. On
the plateau is Kocabey Kislagi Village where you can see traditional wooden houses with their
friendly residents. Another important plateau and popular summer residence in the region is
Bilbilan whose people are also exceptionally welcoming and helpful. Generally, in all the
national parks you can see wonderful examples of birds and butterflies.
The central Anatolian plateau, ochre-hued, cleft by ravines and dominated by volcanic peaks,
forms the heart[and of Turkey. Covered with wheat fields and outlined with ranks of poplars the
boldly contoured steppe has a solitary majesty.
This plateau was one of the cradles of human civilisation. At Çatalhöyük remains of settlements
from as early as the eighth millennium B.C. have been unearthed. The homeland of many people
and the historic battleground of East and West, here the Hattis, Hittites, Phrygians, Galatians,
Romans, Byzantines, Seljuks and Ottomans all fought for their sovereignty and established their
rule. In the 11th century the migrating Turks from the east made the plateau their own. During its
turbulent history Central Anatolia has endured invasion by great conquerors such as Alexander
the Great and Tamerlane. In the course of ten millennia of habitation the denizens of the area
have reflected in their art - from the vigorous paintings of Çatalhöyük to the confident lines of
Seljuk architecture, to, more recently, the impressive modern form of Atatürk's mausoleum - the
dramatic contours of the surrounding landscape.
West of Ankara
North of Ankara
Northeast and East of Ankara
Southeast of Ankara
South of Ankara
The seat of Turkey's government in the strategic heart of central Anatolia, Ankara is the city
selected by Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the republic's founder, to house the capital of the newly
politically defined country. Though thoroughly modern in appearance Ankara's history and that
of the surrounding area dates back to the Bronze Age and the Hatti civilisation. In the second
millennium B.C. the Hittites followed as lords of the land and were succeeded in turn by the
Phrygians, Lydians and Persians. In the third century B.C., the Galatians, a Celtic race, made
Ankara their capital. It was then known as Ancyra, meaning anchor. The Romans and then the
Byzantines held this strategic expanse of land until 1073 when the Seljuk Turks commanded by
Alpaslan conquered it. Just over three centuries later in 1402, the city, then but a small outpost,
passed into the hands of the Ottomans led by Beyazit I.
After the first World War, Ankara assumed a prominent position at the center of Atatürk's
national resistance, and the War of Independence that liberated the Turkish homeland from the
domination of foreign powers. On the 13th of October, 1923, Ankara was declared the capital of
the new Republic of Turkey. Dominating the modern part of the city, much of it constructed since
Ankara's rise to prominence, is the imposing limestone Anitkabir, the mausoleum of Mustafa
Kemal Atatürk. Completed in 1953, this fusion of ancient and modern architectural concepts
testifies to the power and grace of Turkish architecture. A museum at Anitkabir displays some of
Atatürk's personal items and documents. His house in Çankaya, next to the Presidential Palace, is
open on Sunday afternoons. The oldest parts of the city surround the ancient hisar or citadel.
Within the walls, the 12th century Alaeddin Mosque although much rebuilt by the Ottomans, still
boasts fine Seljuk woodwork. Many interesting traditional Turkish houses have been restored in
the area, and some have found new life as art galleries or attractive restaurants serving local
dishes. Close to the gate, Hisar Kapisi, the beautifully restored bedestan (covered bazaar), houses
the Museum of Anatolian Civilisations with its priceless collection of Paleolithic, Neolithic,
Hatti, Hittite; Phrygian; Urartian and Roman artifacts. It is open every day except Monday.
Outside the citadel the 13th century Arslanhane Mosque and the 14th century Ahi Elvan
Mosque are worth visiting. The legacy of Roman times - the third century A.D. public baths, the
fourth century Julian Column and the second century Corinthian style, Temple of Augustus - is
all located in an area below the citadel, near Ulus Meydani (Nation Square). The sole surviving
"Political Testament of Augustus", a statement detailing the achievements of the Emperor
Augustus, remains inscribed on the wall of his temple in Ankara. At one time every temple
dedicated to him throughout the Roman Empire bore this document; this is the only complete
copy in existence today. In the fifth century the Byzantines converted the temple into a church.
Near the citadel excavations of a Roman theatre continue. In the same vicinity stands the 15th
century Mosque and Mausoleum of Haci Bayram.
From Ulus Meydani, with its equestrian statue of Atatürk, continue down Atatürk Boulevard to
the Ethnographical Museum which houses magnificent Seljuk doors of carved wood, and other
artifacts of daily life. Nearby the Sculpture and Painting Museum illustrates the history of the
Turkish fine arts. The biggest mosque in Ankara graces the Kocatepe quarter. Kocatepe Mosque
was built between 1976 and 1987, and is in the Ottoman architectural style. Ankara has an active
artistic and cultural life with world class performances of ballet, theatre, opera and folk dancing.
The city is especially well-known for its Philharmonic Orchestra which attracts a loyal
following. Ankara hosts two international festivals in April: "The Arts and Music Festival", and
the world-famous "April 23rd International Children's Festival".
Visitors to the city usually like to browse through the old shops in Çikrikçilar Yokusu near Ulus.
On the street of coppersmiths, Bakircilar Çarsisi, you can find many interesting old and new
items, not only of copper but jewellery, carpets, costumes, antiquities and embroidery. A walk up
the hill to the Citadel Gate takes you past many interesting stalls and vendors selling spices, dried
fruits, nuts and all manner of produce. Modern shopping areas are mostly found in Kizilay, on
Tunali Hilmi Avenue and in the recently completed Atakule Tower in Çankaya. The top of
Atakule, at 125 meters, offers a magnificent view over the whole city. Its excellent revolving
restaurant allows you to enjoy the complete view in a leisurely fashion. In the new Karum
shopping mall, in Kavaklidere, some of Turkey's most chic clothing stores tempt the passer-by.
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West of Ankara
The most important Phrygian sites in Anatolia are to be found in the provinces of Ankara,
Eskisehir and Afyon. Yassihöyük (Gordion) was the capital of Phrygia and the place were
Alexander the Great cut the Gordion Knot to gain the key to Asia. The tumulus of King Midas,
who turned whatever he touched to gold, can be visited here. Nearby, the remains of the ancient
city Gordion, still under excavation, and a small museum are worth a quick tour.
Off the same Ankara-Eskisehir road is Ballihisar (Pessinus), an important Phrygian religious cult
center. The most important remains are those of a temple to Cybele, the mother goddess whose
worship was at the heart of the Phrygian culture. The small open air museum has some interesting
sculptures and tombstones. At Midas Sehri two enormous facades cut into a rocky promontory
once held cult statues for the worship of Cybele in their niches. Throughout the area rock tombs -
cave-like openings - pierce the sand coloured stone. A recently discovered underground passage
leads from the site to the valley below.
Aslantas and Aslankaya were both centres of cult worship in Phrygian times. The former, 34 km
north of Afyon, has two monumental lion reliefs; the latter, 52 km from Afyon, comprises a
temple and a lion relief. Other Phrygian monuments can be explored at Doganlikale, Kümbet and
Eskisehir was founded in the first millennium B.C. on the banks of the Porsuk River by the
Phrygians. Significant architectural monuments include the 13th century Alaeddin Mosque and
16th century Kursunlu Complex. All three of the city's museums are worth visiting: the
Archaeological Museum has Phrygian objects and sculptures from the area; the Ottoman House
Museum; a fine example of 19th century domestic architecture, houses a collection of local
ethnographical items; and the Atatürk Culture Museum has a photographic exhibition of
Atatürk's life, a number of personal effects and a display of items made of meerschaum. The
world's best meerschaum, a soft white stone, comes from mines in the area surrounding
Eskisehir. Pipes and other objects can be purchased in the town's souvenir shops. A spring-fed
lake Sakaryabasi, surrounded by beautiful parkland, draws many visitors who want to enjoy the
fresh air and eat in one of the fresh fish restaurants.
Sivrihisar's charm derives from its many typical Ottoman houses which imbue the town with a
faded elegance. The 13th century Ulu Mosque, formerly a caravanserai; and the Alemsah
Mausoleum are very interesting and worth a visit. Connoisseurs of carpets will know that kilims
from Sivrihisar are particularly prized.
On the hillside above Seyyit Battal Gazi stands the imposing 13th century mosque and tomb
complex built in memory of the warrior of Islam, Seyyit Battal.
Yunus Emre Köyü (Sariköy) is the burial place of Yunus Emre, the great 13th century poet. His
poetry lives today, its message of love and humanity as relevant as ever. Commemorative
celebrations are held in the town every May. In addition to his grave, visitors can see a small
museum dedicated to his life and works.
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North of Ankara
In the third century B.C. the Galatian settlement in Çankiri was called Gangrea, a name which
evolved into Kangri. The ruins of an 11th century fortress overlook the city. In town the Ulu
Mosque, built by Turkey's greatest architect, Sinan, in the 16th century, recalls the years of
Ottoman culture. Tas Mescit, a medieval hospital built in 1235, lies just outside the city. North of
Çankiri is the beautiful Ilgaz National Park and Ski Center.
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Northeast and East of Ankara
Kirikkale is a rapidly expanding industrial center on the major highway that leads east out of
Ankara and to the Black Sea. The Kizilirmak River, known in ancient times as Halys, passes by
Kirikkale. You can spend a pleasant afternoon relaxing in one of the good restaurants surrounded
by the pastoral landscape. After the highway divides, the eastern fork leads to Yozgat, 217 km
from Ankara. Founded in the 18th century by the Ottomans the city has two important buildings
from this period - the Çapanoglu Mosque, and the adjoining Süleyman Bey Mosque. The 19th
century Nizamoglu Mansion, an attractive example of Turkish domestic architecture, now houses
ethnographical exhibits. Çamlik National Park is a few kilometres south of the city.
All the major early Hittite sites lie in the province of Çorum in Bogazkale National Park,
between Yozgat and the city of Çorum. Impressive double walls, in which are set the Royal Gate,
the Lion Gate and the Yer Kapi (an underground tunnel), ring the Hittite city of Hattusas, known
today as Bogazkale. This city, the Hittite religious center, was known as the City of Temples
because over 70 temples stood there. The largest ruins are those of the great temple of the storm
god Tesup. The Acropolis contained government buildings, the Imperial Palace and the archives
of the Hittite Empire. In 1180 B.C. the Phrygians devastated the city. After thorough excavations
at the site the city walls are now being extensively restored.
Yazilikaya, an open air rock pantheon dating from the 13th century B.C., contains fine reliefs of
all the Hittite gods and goddesses. Alacahöyük, north of Bogazkale on the road to Çorum, was
the center of the flourishing Hattian culture during the Bronze Age. The magnificent Hattian gold
and bronze objects in the Museum of Anatolian Civilisation in Ankara were found in the Royal
Tombs of this period. All the standing remains at Alacahöyük, however, such as the Sphinx Gate,
date from the Hittite period.
Çorum, an important city on the road from central Anatolia to the Black Sea, is known to grow
the finest chickpeas in Turkey. Significant historical buildings include the 13th century Ulu
Mosque and the 19th century clock tower.
The small town of Merzifon, between Çorum and Amasya, has several Ottoman monuments
including the Çelebi Sultan Mehmet Medrese (theological college) and the Kara Mustafa Pasa
Mosque. Set in a narrow gorge of the Yesilirmak (Iris) River, Amasya dates from the third
century B.C. The ruins of the citadel - inside of which an Ottoman Palace and a secret
underground passageway remain - rise from the craggy rock. Hewn into rock above the city
impressive Roman rock tombs are lit at night creating a spectacular image. The beauty of
Amasya's natural surroundings and its splendid architectural legacy have combined to endow the
city with the accolade of one of the most beautiful cities in Turkey. Among the sights of interest
to visitors the 13th century Seljuk Burmali Minare Mosque, the Torumtay Tomb and Gök
Medrese, the 14th century Ilhanid Hospital with lovely reliefs around its portal, the 15th century
Beyazit I Mosque complex and the unusual octagonal Kapi Aga Medrese should not be missed.
Traditional wooden Turkish mansions, or konaks, on the north bank of the Yesilirmak River in
the Hatuniye quarter (Yali Boyu), have been restored to their old splendour, and some of these
have been turned into guest houses. The restored 19th century Hazeranlar Konagi, one of the
loveliest, now houses an art gallery on the first floor and the Ethnographical Museum on the
second. The Archaeological Museum has an interesting collection of regional artifacts including
the mummies of the Mongol Ilhanid rulers of Amasya. Cafes, restaurants, tea gardens and parks
line the riverside and provide tranquil spots from which to enjoy the city's romantic atmosphere.
From the top of Çakallar Hill you have a beautiful view of the city. Just 50 km northeast of
Amasya amid magnificent mountain scenery, Borabay Lake is a popular place for a day trip.
Tokat, also on the Yesilirmak river, has many Seljuk and Ottoman monuments which lend a
picturesque yet solemn aesthetic to the cityscape. Among the main historical buildings are the
ruins of a 28 towered castle, the 11th century Garipler Mosque and a Seljuk bridge. The 13th
century Pervane Bey Darüssifasi (Gök Medrese), one of Tokat's finest buildings, is now the
Archaeological Museum. A regional commercial center, Tokat has retained many of its hans, or
commercial warehouses, including the Tashan, Suluhan, Yagcioglu Hani and Gazi Emir
(Yazmacilar) Hani. A walk down Sulu Sokak in the city center, a street lined with hans,
mausoleums, bazaars and baths, provides an excellent overview of Tokat's architecture. In the
Gazi Emir (Yazmacilar) Hani you can find many examples of the block printed cloth - a
300-year-old tradition - for which Tokat is famous.
A tradition of carved and painted wood decoration and painted murals give Tokat's konaks a
particular elegance. The 19th century Madimagin Celalin Konak and the Latifoglu Konak have
been restored to their former splendour and give a picture of wealthy life in rural Turkey 100
Sixty-nine kilometres northeast of Tokat, Niksar, once a capital of the Danismend Emirs, has a
well preserved citadel and early Turkish monuments, including the Çöregi Büyük Mosque which
has a very fine 12th century carved stone portal. It was in Zile, south of Amasya and west of
Tokat that Julius Caesar, after a particularly speedy battle, declared his famous "Veni, vidi, vici".
Beneath the citadel which guards the city stands the restored Ulu Mosque of 1269.
Sivas, an important commercial center stood, during the Middle Ages, at the junction of the
caravan routes to Persia and Baghdad. Between 1142 and 1171 it was the capital of the
Danismend Emirs and a vitally important urban center during Seljuk rule. The remaining
architectural monuments reflect Sivas's former prominent position. The Ulu Mosque dates from
the Danismend Emirate but the Seljuk buildings: the 13th century Izzeddin Keykavus Sifahanesi
- a hospital and a medical school - the beautifully decorated Gök Medrese, the twin minarets of
the Çifte Minare Medrese as well as the Buruciye Medrese all testify to the exciting aesthetic of
the Seljuk period.
In 1919, the decision to liberate Turkey from the occupying foreign powers was made by the
National Congress which had convened in Sivas. Today the 19th century building where the
congress was held has been restored as the Atatürk and Congress Museum, with a display about
the War of Independence as well as an ethnographical exhibit. In town there are excellent Sivas
carpets for sale; the city has long had a reputation for fine weaving. Kangal, 68 km south of
Sivas, is the home of Turkey's most famous breed of dog - the Kangal. Used as sheep dogs, these
golden haired animals have also proven themselves in police and security work. Twelve
kilometres northeast of Kangal is the famous spa, Balikli Kaplica, where scores of tiny fish swim
in hot spring waters and aid, it is said, in the cure of skin complaints.
Once a Byzantine outpost, Divrigi became the capital of the Turkish Mengücek Emirs in the 12th
and 13th centuries. Although very much off the beaten track, visitors come to Divrigi to see the
Ulu Mosque and Medrese of 1229. Seljuk stonework reached its most exuberant in the animal
and vegetal carvings of the portals. UNESCO declared this site one of the world's most important
back to top
Southeast of Ankara
Founded in ancient times Kirsehir became, in the Middle Ages, the center of the Ahi
Brotherhood, a Moslem sect whose moral and social ideals played an important role in the
spiritual and political life of Anatolian towns. Among Kirsehir's many fine Seljuk buildings are
the Cacabey Mosque of 1272 (a former astrological observatory), the Alaeddin Mosque of 1230,
and the Ahi Evran Mosque beside which is the tomb of the founder of the Ahi sect. Out of town,
on the road toward Kayseri, is the attractive Asik Pasa Mausoleum which was built during the
period of Mongol rule, in 1333.
The road to Nevsehir and Cappadocia passes through Hacibektas, the town where Haci Bektas
Veli settled and established his Bektas Sufi order in the 14th century. The dervishes who
followed the sect's tenets of love and humanism were housed in the monastery which includes a
mausoleum and mosque. The complex is now a museum open to the public. Onyx, plentiful in the
region, was used by the disciples of this order and has come to be called Hacibektas stone. In
town there are many onyx souvenirs for sale. It is worth stopping to wander through the
interesting Archaeological and Ethnographical Museum.
Nevsehir, a provincial capital, is the gateway to Cappadocia. In the town itself the hilltop Seljuk
castle, perched on the highest point in the city, and the Kursunlu Mosque, built for the Grand
Vizier Damat Ibrahim Pasha, are among the remaining historical buildings. The mosque forms
part of a complex of buildings which includes a medrese, a hospice and a library. An ablution
fountain in the courtyard still bears its original inscription. The Nevsehir Museum displays local
Violent eruptions of the volcanoes Mt. Erciyes (3916 meters) and Mt. Hasan (3268 meters) three
million years ago covered the plateau surrounding Nevsehir with tufa, a soft stone comprised of
lava, ash and mud. The wind and rain have eroded this brittle rock and created a spectacular
surrealist landscape of rock cones, capped pinnacles and fretted ravines, in colours that range
from warm reds and golds to cool greens and greys. Göreme, known in Roman times as
Cappadocia, is one of those rare regions in the world where the works of man blend
unobtrusively into the natural surroundings. Dwellings have been hewn from the rock as far back
as 4,000 B.C. During Byzantine times chapels and monasteries
were hollowed out of the rock, their ochre-toned frescoes reflecting the hues of the surrounding
landscape. Even today troglodyte dwellings in rock cones and village houses of volcanic tufa
merge harmoniously into the landscape.
Ürgüp, a lively tourist center at the foot of a rock riddled with old dwellings, serves as an
excellent base from which to tour the sights of Cappadocia. In Ürgüp itself you can still see how
people once lived in homes cut into the rocks. If you wish to buy carpets and kilims, there is a
wide selection available from the town's many carpet dealers. These characters are as colorful as
their carpets, offering tea, coffee or a glass of wine to their customers and
engaging in friendly conversation. If 'sightseeing and shopping haven't exhausted you, the disco
welcomes you to another kind of entertainment. At the center of a successful wine producing
region, Ürgüp hosts an annual International Wine Festival in October. Leaving Ürgüp and
heading to the south, you reach the lovely isolated Pancarlik Valley where you can stop to see
the 12th century church with its splendid frescoes, and the Kepez church which dates from the
tenth century. Continuing on to the typical village of Mustafapasa (Sinasos), the traditional stone
houses with carved and decorated facades evoke another age. Still travelling in a southerly
direction, just past the village of Cemil, a footpath on the west side of the road leads to Keslik
Valley where you will find a monastery complex and the Kara Kilise and Meyvali churches, both
of which are decorated with frescoes. Back on the main road you come to the village of
Taskinpasa where the 14th century Karamanid Mosque and Mausoleum Complex, and the
remains of a medrese portal on the edge of town, make for a pleasant diversion. The next village
is Sahinefendi where the 12th century Kirksehitler church, with beautiful frescoes, stands at the
end of a footpath 500 meters east of the village.
Soganli, 50 km south of Ürgüp, is a picturesque valley of innumerable chapels, churches, halls,
houses and tombs. The frescoes, from the 8th to the 13th century, trace the development of
Four kilometres north of Ürgüp is the wonderful Devrent Valley where the weather has eroded
the stone into peaks, cones and obelisks called fairy chimneys.
Two kilometres to the west, in the Çatalkaya Valley, the fairy chimneys have a peculiar
mushroom-like shape, which has been adopted as a symbol of the town.
The Göreme Open-Air Museum, a monastic complex of rock churches and chapels covered with
frescoes, is one of the best known sites in central Turkey. Most of the chapels date from the 10th
to the 13th century, the Byzantine and Seljuk periods, and many of them are built on an inscribed
cross plan with a central cupola supported by four columns. In the narthexes of several churches
are rock cut tombs. Among the most famous of the Göreme churches are the Elmali Kilise, the
smallest and newest of the group; the Yilanli Kilise with fascinating frescoes of the damned in
serpent coils; the Barbara Kilisesi; and the Çarikli Kilise. A short way from the main group; the
Tokali Kilise, or Buckle Church, has beautiful frescoes depicting scenes from the New
Testament. The town of Göreme itself is set right in the middle of a valley of cones and fairy
chimneys. Some of the cafes, restaurants and guest houses are carved into the rock. For shoppers,
rugs and kilims are plentiful.
Continuing on the road out of Göreme, you enter one of the most beautiful valleys in the area.
Rock formations seemingly out of a fantasy rise up before you at every turn and entice you to
look longer and wonder at their creation. For those who climb the steps to the top of the Uçhisar
Fortress the whole region unfolds below. Rugs and kilims, and popular souvenirs can easily be
purchased from the shops which line Uçhisar's narrow streets.
At Çavusin, on the road leading north out of Göreme, you will find a triple apse church and the
monastery of St. John the Baptist. In the town are chapels and churches, and some of the rock
houses are still inhabited. From Çavusin to Zelve fairy chimneys line the road. Unfortunately, it
is dangerous to visit the churches in the valley because erosion has undermined solid footing.
The charming town of Avanos, on the banks of the Kizilirmak River, displays attractive
vernacular architecture and is known for its handicrafts. Every August the town hosts an Art and
Tourism Festival where a creative and friendly atmosphere pervades. Pottery is the most popular
handicraft and it is usually possible to try your hand at making a pot in one of the many studios.
Rug weaving and knotting is also making a revival. Leaving Avanos in a southerly direction you
come to an interesting Seljuk caravanserai. On the Nevsehir - Ürgüp road you can't miss
Ortahisar and its rock carved fortress. The churches in the Balkan Valley are some of the oldest
in the Göreme region. In the neighbouring Hallaç Valley, the Hallaç Monastery displays
decorations from the 10th and the 11th centuries. North of Ortahisar, the Kizilçukur Valley is
breathtakingly beautiful especially at sunset. In the valley is the 9th century Üzümlü church.
The underground cities of Kaymakli, Mazi, Derinkuyu and Özkonak were all used by the
Christians of the seventh century as places of retreat in order to escape persecution. They fled
from the iconoclastic strife of Byzantium as well as other invasions in these safe and well hidden
metropolises. A complete environment, these cities included rooms for grain storage, stables,
sleeping chambers, kitchens and air shafts. Today they are well lit and an essential and
fascinating part of a Cappadocian tour.
West of Avanos, Gülsehir has Hittite rock inscriptions, and nearby, at Gökçetepe, there is a
bas-relief of Zeus. South on the Nevsehir road brings you to the 13th century church of St. John,
and farther along is Açiksaray where the carved rocks hold churches and chapels.
West of Cappadocia, over the mountains, lies Kayseri, known as Caesarea in Roman times. The
city spreads out at the foot of Mt. Erciyes (3916 meters), an extinct volcano. In the winter months
the ski center has excellent runs for downhill skiers. Close to the Byzantine fortress the 13th
century Huant Mosque and Medrese and the Mahperi Hatun Mausoleum comprise the first
Seljuk complex in Anatolia. South of the complex stand the beautifully decorated Döner Kümbet
of 1276, the Archaeological Museum and the Kösk Medrese, a Mongol building of classic
simplicity. A major Seljuk city, Kayseri was an important center of learning and consequently
there are many medreses among the remaining historical buildings. Those interested in this
particular architectural form should see the Çifte Medrese, the first medieval school of anatomy
and the lovely Sahabiye Medrese. Near the city's bedestan is the restored 12th century Ulu
Mosque. The Haci Kiliç Mosque, north of the Çifte Medrese, dates from 1249. Rugs woven in
finely knotted floral patterns continue a centuries old tradition. Local production can be
purchased in any of the town's carpet shops. South of Kayseri, in Develi, stand three more
important Seljuk buildings: the Ulu Mosque, the Seyid-i Serif Tomb and the Develi Tomb.
Nearby, the Sultan Marshes, the habitat of many species of bird, are of interest both to
ornithologists and nature lovers. North of Kayseri, Kültepe, known in ancient times as Kanesh or
Karum was one of the earliest Hittite commercial trade cities. Today, however, only the
foundations remain. Many of the finds can be examined in the Kültepe Museum as well as in the
Kayseri Archaeological Museum.
On the same road is Sultan Han, a caravanserai built by the Seljuk Sultan Alaeddin Keykubat in
the early 13th century and a favourite stop for tourists.
Nigde, the Nahita of Hittite times, lies in a valley flanked by volcanic peaks and commands the
ancient trade route from Anatolia to the Mediterranean. Nigde's castle owes its present form to
the Seljuks, and the elegant Alaeddin Mosque dates from the same period. From the 14th century
era of Mongol rule are the Sungur Bey Mosque and the Hüdavend Hatun Mausoleum. an
excellent example of the Anatolian tomb tower. The 15th century Ak Medrese now houses the
Ten kilometres out of town is Eskigümüs, a Byzantine monastery and church with massive
columns and frescoes. These frescoes, which date from the 10th and the 11th centuries, are
among the best preserved in the region.
Bor, south of Nigde, was once a Hittite settlement. The town's historical buildings include the
Seljuk Alaeddin Mosque and the Ottoman bedestan. Farther on, in the same direction,
Kemerhisar is the site of the important Roman city of Tyana. A few more kilometres brings you
to some Hittite ruins and a Roman aqueduct.
Most of the historical buildings in Aksaray, west of Nigde and south of Cappadocia, such as the
Ulu Mosque, date from the 14th century. The Kizil Minaret is noted for its attractive decorative
brickwork. Two of the most famous caravanserais from the Seljuk period remain in the environs.
Just 40 km west of the city is the well preserved Sultanhan Caravanserai built by the Seljuk
Sultan Alaeddin Keykubat, and 15 km towards Nevsehir is the Agizkarahan Caravanserai. The
Melendiz River, at Ihlara, has eroded the banks into an impressive canyon. Byzantine rock
chapels covered with frescoes pierce the canyon walls. Some of the best known are the Agaçalti
(Daniel) Church, the Yilanli (Apocalypse) Church and the Sümbüllü (Hyacinth) Church.
Güzelyurt is another valley with dwellings dating from prehistoric times. You can see the
beautiful silhouette of Mt. Hasan rising like a crown above the town. The valley's underground
cities, buildings carved into the rock, interesting vernacular architecture, churches, chapels and
mosques embody all of the characteristics of Cappadocia and give visitors a sense of historical
continuity. A popular tourist destination, Güzelyurt's hospitable residents, extensive
accommodation and restaurants ensure a pleasant stay.
South of Ankara
Konya, one of Turkey's oldest continuously inhabited cities was known as Iconium in Roman
times. The capital of the Seljuk Turks from the 12th to the 13th century, it ranks as one of the
great cultural centres of Turkey. During this period of artistic, political and religious growth, the
mystic Mevlana Celaleddin Rumi founded a Sufi Order known in the West as the Whirling
Dervishes. The striking green tiled mausoleum of Mevlana is Konya's most famous building.
Attached to the mausoleum the former dervish seminary serves now as a museum devoted to
manuscripts of Mevlana's works and various artifacts related to the mysticism of the sect.. Every
year, in the first half of December, this still active religious order holds a ceremony
commemorating the Whirling Dervishes. The controlled, almost trance-like turning of the white
robed men creates a mystical experience for the viewer.
Alaeddin Mosque, built on the site of the ancient citadel in 1220 during the reign of the great
Seljuk sultan Alaeddin Keykubat, commands Konya's skyline. To one side of the mosque are the
scant remains of the Seljuk Imperial Palace. The Karatay Medrese, now a museum, displays bald
and striking Seljuk ceramics. On the other side of the mosque the Ince Minareli Medrese of 1258
is remarkable for its marvellous baroque Seljuk portal. Other Seljuk works include the Sirçali
Medrese and the Sahip Ata Complex.
Visitors find Konya's Archaeological Museum of exceptional interest. The collection of the
Koyunoglu Museum is a varied one, and among its displays one is devoted to natural history
while another to old kilims. Within the museum complex the restored Izzettin Koyunoglu house
illustrates the way of life of a prosperous Konya family.
Sille, 10 km north of Konya, has a Byzantine church and several rock chapels with frescoes.
Aksehir, to the northwest, is known throughout Turkey as the birthplace of the 13th century
humorist Nasrettin Hoca, whose mausoleum stands in the town. The 13th century Ulu Mosque
and the Altinkale Mescidi are other monuments worth seeing; the Sahip Ata Mausoleum has
been converted into the town's museum.
On the way south to Beysehir stop at Eflatun Pinar next to the lake to see this unusual Hittite
monumental fountain. Several interesting Seljuk buildings are scattered around lovely Beysehir,
on the shores of Turkey's third largest lake, Beysehir Lake. Among the monuments are the
Esrefoglu Mosque and Medrese, and the Kubad-Abad Summer Palace across the lake. Another
medieval palace stands on Kizkalesi Island, opposite the Kubad-Abad palace.
Çatalhöyük, 45 km south of Konya, is a fascinating Neolithic site dating from the eight
millennium B.C., which makes it one of the world's oldest towns. Archaeologists have
determined that holes in the roofs of the mud houses were the entrance doors. Ankara's Museum
of Anatolian Civilisations displays the famous temple, mother-goddess figures and Neolithic
frescoes from the site. At Ivriz, a Hittite site 168 km east of Konya, you can see one of Turkey's
finest neo-Hittite reliefs of a king and fertility god. Karaman, once the capital of the Karamanid
Emirate, was the first Turkish state to use Turkish, not Persian, as the official language. Fittingly,
Yunus Emre, the first great poet to write in Turkish, lived here in the 13th century. The
surrounding fortresses date from Seljuk times, although the town's most significant buildings, the
Araboglu, Yunus Emre and Aktekke Mosques and the Hatuniye Medrese, were all built during
the Karamanid reign.
Near Taskale, 48 km east of Karaman, on the rocky northern slope of Yesildere Valley, are the
remains of the fascinating, historical city of Manazan. Built during Byzantine times, the entire
city of narrow lanes, houses, squares, storage facilities, chapels and cemeteries (occupying an
area approximately three kilometres long and five stories high) was carved into the rocky hillside
of the valley. Today parts of the city are still used for wheat storage. South of Karaman up a steep
narrow road are the remains of a beautiful Byzantine monastery, Alahan. Much still stands, and
there is some fine stone carving to admire. This magnificent location offers a breathtaking view.
THE AEGEAN COAST
Turkey's Aegean shores are among the loveliest landscapes in the country. The magnificent
coastline, lapped by the clear waters of the Aegean Sea, abounds in vast and pristine beaches
surrounded by olive groves, rocky crags and pine woods. Dotted with idyllic fishing harbours,
popular holiday villages and the remains of ancient civilisations attesting to the inheritance of
more than 5,000 years of history, culture and mythology, this region. offers a holiday with
something for everyone - nature lovers, sun worshippers, photographers, sports-enthusiasts,
sailors and archaeologists. Along the whole length of the coast, accommodations to suit every
taste and price range can be found.
The Northern Aegean Region
The Interior Aegean Region
The Southern Aegean Region
Izmir - Birth Place of Homer
Known in Turkish as "Beautiful Izmir", the city lies at the head of a long and narrow gulf
furrowed by ships and yachts. The climate is mild and in the summer the constant and refreshing
sea breezes temper the sun's heat. Behind the palm-lined promenades and avenues which follow
the shoreline, the city, in horizontal terraces, gently ascends the slopes of the surrounding
mountains. The third largest city in Turkey, Izmir's port is second only to Istanbul's. A
cosmopolitan and lively city all year round, during the International Arts Festival (June/July) and
the International Fair (August/Sept), Izmir bursts with an added vibrancy.
The original city was established in the third millennium B.C. (at present day Bayrakli), and at
that time shared, with Troy, the most advanced culture in Western Anatolia. By 1500 B.C. it had
fallen under the influence of Central Anatolia's Hittite Empire. In the first millennium B.C. Izmir,
then known as Smyrna, ranked as one of the important cities of the lonian Federation; during this
period - one of the city's most brilliant - it is believed that Homer resided here. The Lydian
conquest of the city, around 600 B.C., brought this period to an end, and Izmir remained little
more than a village throughout the Lydian and the subsequent 6th century B.C. Persian rule. In
the fourth century B.C. a new city was built at the instigation of Alexander the Great on the
slopes of Mt. Pagos (Kadifekale). Izmir's Roman period, from the first century B.C., gave birth to
its second great era. Byzantine rule followed in the fourth century and lasted until the Seljuk
conquest in the 11th century. In t415, under Sultan Mehmet Çelebi; Izmir became part of the
Places of Interest
Art, Culture and Entertainment
Environs of Izmir
Places of Interest
The Archaeological Museum , near Konak Square, houses a superb collection of antiquities
including the statues of Poseidon and Demeter which, in ancient times, stood in the Agora.
Neighbouring the Archaeology Museum, the collection in the Ethnography Museum contains
folkloric artifacts, which includes a fine collection of Bergama and Gördes carpets, traditional
costumes and camel bridles.
Situated on Atatürk Caddesi, in an old Izmir house used by the founder of the Turkish Republic,
the Atatürk Museum exhibits photographs of the leader as well as some of his personal effects.
The Fine Arts Museum, located in Konak, displays the works of famous Turkish painters.
The Selçuk Yasar Art Museum is a private museum on Cumhuriyet Bulvari with a collection of
20th-century Turkish art. The Natural History Museum in Bornova attracts as a natural reserve of
the Aegean Region landscapes' historical preservation.
The Ödemis Archaeological Museum is about 60 km east of Izmir and displays regional
artifacts. The Tire Archaeological Museum is about 50 km east of Izmir.
Historical Sites and Monuments
The excavations at Bayrakli have unearthed a temple dedicated to Athena, and the wall of the
lonian city which flourished here between the seventh and fifth centuries B.C. Pottery dating to
the third millennium B.C. has also been uncovered.
On Kadifekale, Mt. Pagos, stands the impressive ruins of a castle and its walls, built by
Lysimachus in the reign of Alexander the Great, which still dominate Izmir today. The castle
offers an excellent vantage point to enjoy the magnificent view over the Gulf of Izmir.
The Agora, or marketplace, in the Namazgah Quarter was originally constructed during the rule
of Alexander the Great. What remains today, however, dates from the rebuilding under Marcus
Aurelius after a devastating earthquake in 178 A.D. The Sirinyer and Yesildere Aqueducts , two
examples of Roman engineering which span the Meles River, supplied Izmir's water throughout
the Byzantine and Ottoman eras. me Saint Polycrap Church remains are of the oldest church in
Izmir, and symbolise the Seven Churches of the Apocalypse community. Saint Polycarpo was
martyred at Kadifekale by the Romans in 155 A.D. According to legend, when they tried to bum
him, the flames wouldn't touch him and they finally stabbed him to death. The church was
reconstructed in 1620 by Süleyman the Magnificent.
An 18th century Ottoman inn, the Kizlaragasi Han, a fine example of the architecture of the
period, is being restored to its former glory.
The symbol of Izmir, the Saat Kulesi, or Clock Tower, stands in Konak Square - the heart of the
city. A gift from the Sultan Abdülhamid, and built in 1901, it is decorated in an elaborate;
Restored old houses fill the old Asansör quarter, also known as the Jewish quarter. In this quarter,
Dario Moreno Sokagi is the main pedestrian street to the Asansör, an elevator from the 19th
century which is fifty-one meters in height, and provides access between the lower and upper
streets. Situated on the upper side, the Asansör restaurant offers a beautiful view of Izmir.
If you find yourself on Havra Sokak in Kemeralti, notice the old buildings and synagogues.
In the center of Cumhuriyet Meydani, or Republic Square, stands the Atatürk Monument, an
impressive statue of Atatürk sitting on a horse and facing the sea. Erected in 1933, the Monument
commemorates the liberation of the city by Turkish Forces.
Standing in Karsiyaka, The Flying Dolphins is a monument that symbolises friendship and
Hisar Mosque is the largest and oldest in Izmir. Built in the 16th century, with restorations in the
19th century, it has a delightful interior with an interesting mimber (pulpit) and mihrab (attar).
Other mosques in Izmir are Salepçioglu (20th century), Sadirvan (17th century with 19th-century
restorations) and Kemeralti (17th century); all are situated close to the Kemeralti Quarter.
Kültürpark, the main park of the city, offers many different activities. ft is the site for the
International Izmir Fair and contains an amusement park, zoo, restaurant and quiet gardens.
Olaf Palme Park, situated in Karsiyaka, is a relaxing place to stop. It also offers some sports
facilities. Next door, Adnan Saygun Park, a center for artistic activities, contains an amphitheatre
for concerts and theatrical productions, and also the Open-Air Museum Park, which has statues
scattered throughout the grounds.
Insan Haklari (Human Rights) Park has lovely modem statues, including the huge Flying
Dolphin Monument. Muammer Aksoy Park is a lovely seaside park with a nice view of Izmir
Turgut Özal Recreation Park, located in Bayrakli, offers a number of recreational and sporting
Art, Culture and Entertainment
Izmir has for many years enjoyed a reputation as a cosmopolitan and cultural city. The Izmir
Cultural Center hosts performances of opera, ballet and musical concerts, and the city is home to
the Aegean Philharmonic Orchestra as well as a thriving theatrical scene. During the annual Izmir
International Festival, international and Turkish artists perform at various venues in the city and
surrounding area, including the theatre at Ephesus. Alsancak (Punta), with traditional restored
houses, has been converted into a pedestrian entertainment walkway, with bars, cafes and
Izmir International Fair, which is an international amusement and industry show, opens each
year in August.
Take a horse-drawn carriage along the promenade during the day; afterwards spend the evening
absorbing the lively atmosphere of the bars and cafes around Passport Pier.
In the streets of the Kemeralti Market area, it is possible to find fascinating antiques, both fine
and fun jewellery, a great variety of clothing, and the dried figs and sultanas for which Izmir is
famous. The fish restaurants in this colorful area serve up local specialities; trança and çipura,
two types of sea bream. The best modern and most elegant shops line the Kordon Promenades in
Alsancak, Karsiyaka and Cumhuriyet Avenue.
Environs of Izmir
Balçova, on the road to Çesme, is one of Turkey's largest thermal spas, with excellent facilities
Çamalti, 15 km west of Karsiyaka, is an area of coastal marshes and salt fields that is preserved
as an important bird sanctuary - the Izmir Bird Paradise. Enthusiasts can spot many species,
including flamingos and pelicans.
The Yamanlar Çamligi, a pine forest near the lovely Karagöl Lake, 40 km northeast of
Karsiyaka, is a popular picnic spot that also provides restaurants and a swimming pool.
A Hittite bas-relief is carved into the rock at Kemalpasa (20 km from Izmir) which lies in the
On the highest point above Izmir, Belkahve overlooks the Gulf of Izmir and is a relaxing spot to
enjoy a cup of Turkish coffee. A favourite haunt of Atatürk's, it is now the site of the largest
statue in his honour.
The Seven Churches of the Apocalypse, mentioned by St. John in the Book of Revelations,
formed separate and distinct communities, and are all found in Turkey : Izmir (Smyrna), Efes
(Ephesus), Eskihisar (Laodicea), Alasehir (Philadelphia), Sart (Sardis), Akhisar (Thyatira),
and Bergama (Pergamum). Tours of one to four days can be arranged to see several or all of the
The Çesme Peninsula, lapped by the waters of the Aegean Sea, lies west of Izmir. The name
'Çesme', meaning fountain, refers to the many springs found in the area during the 18th and 19th
centuries. It is one of Turkey's most beautiful stretches - surrounded by clear blue sea, with
landscapes of cultivated fields of aniseed, sesame and artichokes dotted with fig and gum trees. In
the unspoiled bays you can swim in absolute peace. Visitors will find excellent holiday
accommodations, restaurants, sports and entertainment facilities.
A 14th century Genoese fortress, restored and enlarged by the Ottomans in the 16th century,
dominates the small port of .Çesme, 80 km from Izmir. Today the town is a popular holiday '
resort with excellent accommodations and restaurants. The 16th century caravanserai near the
fortress, built by Süleyman the Magnificent, has been converted into a hotel, while the 19th
century Church of Hagios Haralambos has been restored as the Emir Çaka art gallery. Thermal
baths offer a health-oriented escape from modern life. Excellent shopping - the finest quality
carpets, leather goods, as well as souvenir items are available. At night, a lively, fun atmosphere
pervades, especially in the restaurants, cafes, bars and discos along the promenade.
Yachts can be hired to explore the Peninsula's splendid coastline. Çesme hosts an annual
International Song Contest in the summer. Also, weekly ferry lines run from Çesme to Venice. ··
The very popular holiday centre of Ilica boasts an excellent white, sandy beach, and the
outstanding facilities of the Altin Yunus Marina and Holiday Complex. The bay here is ideal for
water sports, especially windsurfing and sailing. The thermal baths around Ilica are very popular;
the best being located on ?ifne Bay; Paça Limani has a campsite which offers campers
comfortable facilities. In Ilica Bay, the colorful International Çakabey Optimist Yacht race is held
every year in July.
Ildiri, a quiet seaside village 20 km northeast of Çesme, was ancient Erythrai. Those who climb
up to the Acropolis at dusk are rewarded with beautiful views as the sun sinks over the bay and
islands. Nearby Gerence Gulf is a pristine inlet northeast of the Çesme Peninsula which can be
reached by yacht or car.
The natural surroundings offer relaxation while the bay is ideal for water sports. In Dalyan, a
fishing village built on a sheltered deep water inlet just north of Çesme, some of the region's best
fish restaurants border the quay of the lively marina. Tourists are attracted by the variety of
Çiftlik's accommodations, and by a long, sandy beach (Pirlanta Plaj), just outside of town to the
southwest. Camping facilities are available to the south, and nearby stretches one of the area's
best beaches, the Altinkum Plaj (Golden Beach).
Windmills, some of which have been converted into attractive restaurants, dot the hill above
Alaçati, a delightful and typical Aegean town. Alaçati lies to the south inland from Ilica and the
coast; a couple of kilometres to the south is a good beach. Many lovely bays, accessible only by
yacht, are to be found along the coast southeast of the town and ensure peaceful and relaxing
anchorage in this popular sailing region.
Known in ancient times as Clazomenae, Urla Iskelesi offers a marina as well as plentiful
accommodation in all price ranges. Restaurants on the top of Güvendik hill afford a marvellous
view of the bay and its islands.
The prosperous little fishing village of Çesmealti is notable for its simple yet excellent fish
As you drive along the panoramic Karaburun Peninsula coast road you pass several peaceful
bays and quaint fishing villages: Balikliova, Mordogan and Karaburun. At Karaburun, pleasant
hotels, tea gardens and fish restaurants sit between the beautiful mountain backdrop and the clear,
clean water. From Manastir Mountain, you can enjoy an unforgettable view of the Karaburun
coast, the Foça coastline opposite, and the entrance to the Gulf of Izmir.
On the southern side of the Çesme Peninsula, near the town of Seferihisar, is the small
picturesque marina of Sigacik. This important yachting centre is surrounded by fortifications
dating from the Genoese period and is a good point from which to visit the Temple of Dionysus
at the antique site of Teos as well as the lovely Akkum beach.
Gümüldür has excellent tourist facilities - beautiful beaches, restaurants and hotels. Near
Ahmetbeyli (Claros) to the east, stands the Apollo Temple and the remains of the colossal statue
of Apollo; here you can also enjoy a good fish meal or a swim at the town's wide beach. A
winding panoramic coastal road leads from Ahmetbeyli south to Pamucak beach.
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The Northern Aegean Region
The Gulf of Edremit
The ancient Phocaea, Foça once formed part of the lonian Federation. Today it is a modern,
lively holiday town on two deep bays. The pleasant accommodations, clean beaches and inviting
restaurants make it an attractive holiday spot. Those seeking the perfect tan can find it on the
natural rock terraces of Siren Islands.
Bergama (Pergamon), once a great center of culture, survives as one of Turkey's finest
archaeological sites. In the Acropolis, on a hill above the modern town, are the remains of the
celebrated library, a steep and impressive theatre, the temples of Trajan and Dionysus, the
monumental altar of Zeus, the sanctuary of Demeter, a gymnasium laid out on three terraces and
the Agora. The Asclepion, located to the southwest of the lower city, was a sanctuary dedicated
to the god of health, Asclepios. In town, visit the Archaeological and Ethnographical Museum;
nearby, is the site of a temple dedicated to Serapis, becoming one of the Seven Churches of the
Apocalypse, and subsequently converted by the Byzantines into a basilica.
Dikili, frequented by cruise liners bringing visitors to Pergamon, is Bergama's harbour town. It
offers a relaxing atmosphere with many pleasant restaurants lining the Kordon Promenade. A
stop at the little port of Çandarli, the ancient Pitane, is recommended in order to see the Genoese
fortress, one of the best preserved in Turkey.
Ayvalik is a charming port, situated amid beautiful pine woods. Nearby, the Seytan Sofrasi
(Devil's Table) offers a splendid panorama of the archipelago along the Gulf of Ayvalik and the
little island of Alibey (Cunda), where there are pleasant seafood restaurants. Sarmysakly Beach is
one of the most beautiful beaches in the area.
The Gulf of Edremit
The Gulf of Edremit, also known as the Olive Riviera, has a number of charming seaside resorts:
Küçükkuyu, Altinoluk, Akçay (a thermal center with numerous springs), Edremit and Ören, all
with beautiful beaches, ring the Gulf of Edremit and offer visitors a wide choice of hotels and
guest houses with views of the sea. Also, situated here is the beautiful Kaz Dagi National Park ,
with magnificent landscapes, restful green areas and several hot springs. According to
mythologies it was in this area that the world's first beauty contest was held. Under the shadow of
Kaz Dagi (Mt. Ida, 1.774 meters) in Pinarbasi, west of Akçay, Paris gave the golden apple to
Aphrodite in the famous "Judgement of Paris".
87 km south of Çanakkale in Ayvacyk Province is Assos, the famous teaching center of antiquity.
Aristotle, Plato's most famous student, was invited to Assos and spent over three years living and
teaching there. He married the niece of Hermeia, founded a school of philosophy and conducted
his early exploratory work in zoology, biology and botany.
The acropolis of Assos is 238 meters above sea-level, and the Temple of Athena was constructed
on this site in the 6th century B.C. This Doric temple is being restored to its former glory and role
as guardian of the Biga Peninsula and Edremit Gulf. Linger to see the moonlight scattered
through the temple ruins, or rise early for the gentle awakening of dawn over the acropolis, from
the top of which you can take in the magnificent vista of the Gulf of Edremit; and you will
appreciate why this heavenly location was chosen. On the terraces descending to the sea are
agoras, a gymnasium and a theatre. From the northern comer of the acropolis, you can see a
mosque, a bridge and fortress, all built in the 14th century by the Ottoman Sultan Murat I. Below
lies a tiny and idyllic ancient harbour. Assos has gained the reputation of being the center of the
Turkish art community with its lively, friendly and bohemian atmosphere. This may be the
holiday you will remember for years to come.
The Interior Aegean Region
Inland from the Aegean sea, the fertile soil has endured the passage of many important early
civilisations. Today the remains of these cultures can still be seen in the countryside as well as in
the cities, towns and villages. The more recent legacy of Ottoman rule is apparent in the
well-preserved, traditional, domestic Turkish architecture, and Ottoman mosques. Leisure-resorts
have been built around the region's hot springs, and can accommodate those seeking the thermal
springs' pleasurable and beneficial effects.
An attractive Aegean city, Manisa has preserved several splendid examples of Seljuk and
Ottoman architecture. Endowed by Ayse Sultana, mother of Süleyman the Magnificent, the
Sultan Mosque was built early in the 16th century. Every year in April, on the grounds of this
mosque, a festival is held celebrating Mesir Macunu, a sticky imperial elixir that reputedly cured
the sultan's ailing mother. The 16th century Muradiye Mosque was designed by the great
architect Sinan and the adjacent medrese, or theological college, today houses the Archaeological
Museum. September sees the annual Harvest Festival begin when the fruit of the vineyards are
brought in with great celebration. The region's numerous vineyards produce grapes, dried for
export. South of the city lies the Sipil Dagi National Park, home of the famous "crying rock" of
Niobe. If you travel to the northeast you come to Gördes, a pleasant town particularly known for
its fine carpets.
The ruins of ancient Sart (Sardis), once the capital of the Lydian realm of Croesus, lie on the Sart
Çayi (Pactole River). Here the first coins were minted. The Temple of Artemis and a restored
gymnasium testify to the city's past splendour, as does the important third-century A.D.
synagogue. On the south side of Sardis, Mt. Boz offers trekking and other mountain sports. On its
south slope, in the village of Birgi, is the Çakir Aga Mansion, a fine example of traditional
Historically, Usak was an important, carpet weaving center, a role it continues to play today.
Tourists find the Archaeology Museum informative and interesting. The Kaftancy House
Museum, with the Atatürk Ethnography Museum, displays wonderful Usak carpets and kilims;
Atatürk resided here.
An inaccessible and imposing citadel dating to Byzantine times overlooks this provincial city.
The Archaeological Museum and the War of Independence Memorial reveal Afyon's place in
history. Monumental bas-reliefs, a legacy of the Phrygian Kingdom, are carved into rock faces on
hills north of the city. Aslantas is the largest. At Aslankaya, lion reliefs are engraved into the
sides of the rock.
The Açik Hava Müzesi (Open-Air Museum) is near the north entrance of the town of Dinar, 100
km south of Afyon. This is the site of the legendary music contest between Apollo and Manyas
(Pan). Byzantine and Roman gravestones, inscriptions and statues can be seen here.
Kütahya City is one of the oldest Turkish cities, with Turkish traditions still being practiced
today and important Ottoman architectural monuments, including a castle, mosques,
medreses, baths, complexes, mausoleums, and mansions. One of the finest mosques is the 14th
century Ulu Mosque. Kütahya Castle offers a wonderful, panoramic view of the old town on the
western side of the city. The Kütahya Archaeology Museum was a medrese in the 14th century;
it now displays ethnographia, Roman and Byzantine relics, and tiles of Yznik and Kütahya from
Ottoman times. Lajos Kossuth, the 19th century Hungarian hero, lived with his family in what is
now the Kossuth House Museum; relics and documents related to Kossuth are displayed in the
The kilns of Kütahya produced exquisite ceramics in the 16th and 17th centuries - a craft which
lives on today. You can visit the workshops where skilled artisans produce tiles, plates and bowls
renowned for their cobalt blue patterns on a milky white background.
Southwest of Kütahya, is the Roman town of Çavdarhisar (Aezani) where a theatre, stadium and
the Temple of Zeus remain. In the same direction, Murat Mountain offers camping facilities and
hot springs, amid delightful scenery. Near Dumlupynar are the Baskomutan National Park and
the War of Independence memorials.
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South Aegean Region
Efes (Ephesus) Selçuk Aydin Didim Denizli Pamukkale Mugla Bodrum
Marmaris Fethiye çData <../turism/n18.htm>
A visit to Efes (Ephesus) - once the, commercial center of the ancient world - is a highlight of
any visit to Turkey. The city, whose wealth and patronage supported its splendid architectural
program, was dedicated to the goddess Artemis. Her enormous temple, once considered one of
the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World and rebuilt several times, dates in its latest form from
the third century B.C. The ruins also include a theatre, gymnasium, agora and baths, as well as
the Library of Celsius.
The nearby town of Selçuk is dominated by a Byzantine citadel which stands close to the 6th
century basilica of St. John built on the site of the Apostle's tomb. The 14th century Isa Bey
Mosque, next to the basilica is accessed through its typical Seljuk portal. The Archaeological
Museum houses an impressive collection of statues and other finds recovered during the
excavations of Ephesus. The nearby Turkish Bath Museum , built in the 16th century, shows
Turkish life at the hamam (bath). The Ephesus International Festival is held annually in May.
It is recorded that St. John brought the Virgin Mary to Ephesus. after the death of Christ and that
she spent her last days in a small house (Meryemana Evi) built for her on Bülbüldagi (Mt
Koressos). Now a popular place of pilgrimage for Christians and Muslims the house has received
the official sanction of the Vatican, and Christians observe a commemoration ceremony every
year on August 15th. Near Selçuk in Çamlik is a TCDD Open-air Steam Locomotives Museum. 9
km east of Selçuk is Sirince, known for its traditional 19th-century village houses, some of which
have been converted into guest-houses. Wine produced in this small hillside Turkish village,
which itself resembles an open-air museum. 18 km from Selçuk are wine-houses, for tasting the
The province's capital, also called Aydin, enjoys a widespread reputation for its fine figs. Known
as Tralleis in ancient times, it was at the center of a celebrated sculpture school. The remains seen
today date from the second century A.D. After 1186 the town came under Seljuk rule, and the
local museum displays artifacts from the different periods of its history.
Back along the coast, Kusadasi, or Bird Island, is a lovely port built along the shores of a
glittering bay. The terraced town overlooks the most beautiful inlet of the Aegean and seems to
have been created purely for the delight of the holiday-maker. Be sure to visit the famous and
popular Kus shopping center in the Kaleiçi quarter, where there is nightlong entertainment. A
large, modern marina facilitates life for visiting yachters. Tusan-Kustur Beach, north of Kusadasi
lies one of the cleanest beaches and 23 km south of Kusadasi is the charming holiday-resort town
of Güzelçamli. West of Güzelçamli and 30 km from Kusadasi, is the Dilek Peninsula National
Park, and a visit is a must for those with the time. Here amidst incredibly beautiful surroundings
are some of the most wonderful views and some of the rarest wild animals in Turkey, including
the Anatolian cheetah and some of Turkey's last wild horses, The park is a wildlife preserve and a
haven for many species of animals and birds.
The exquisite Menderes River valley, known in the West as the Meander, has been the cradle of
many civilisations. Set amidst pine, olive and oleander trees, the magnificent Çamiçi (Bafa) Lake
is a lovely place to stopover. Tourists can choose between guest-houses or campsites. To the east
of the lake rise the five peaks of the Besparmak Mountains. The Iconoclastic priests who came
here to live, from Constantinople,
built monasteries, churches, and chapels around the base of the mountains and on the lake's
islands. The ruins of the ancient city of Heraklia lie close to the lake, while the remains of Alinda
are found on the eastern slopes of the Besparmak Mountains. The valley has witnessed the rise
and fall of several great cities, notably Priene, Miletos, Didyma, Aphrodisias, and Hierapolis.
This peaceful national reserve is an excellent place for bird-watchers, trekkers, nature-lovers and
Güllübahçe (Priene) was one of the most active ports of the lonian Federation. The gridlike
system of streets introduced in the fourth century B.C. by Hippodamos of Miletos is a superb and
early example of town planning.
Milet (Miletos), like Priene, was a great lonian port and the birthplace of several philosophers and
sages. The theatre justifies a visit, and be sure to see the well-preserved ruins of the Faustina
baths and the Archaeological Museum.
Although Didim (Didyma) can only boast of a single monument, it is nevertheless a marvellous
site. The Temple of Apollo was one of antiquity's most sacred places. Many times looted and
burned, the sanctuary still impresses with its elegant beauty. A portico of double colonnades
surround the colossal temple. Not far from the archaeological site, the beautiful beach of
Altinkum tempts with its many guest houses. Akbük is another holiday resort in the region with
nice beach hotels.
Although the history of Geyre (Aphrodisias) stretches back in time, the city, which was dedicated
to Aphrodite, goddess of love and fertility, rose to prominence in the first century B.C. Some of
the richest treasures of ancient times were uncovered in the excavations of this city. The public
buildings are handsomely adorned with marble that was carved with astonishing skill, producing
remarkable temples, monuments, baths, a theatre and a magnificent stadium. The reputation of
the city's craftsmen for the exquisite finesse of their statuary and marble sculpting spread through
the civilised world, and Aphrodisias became the center of the greatest sculpting school of
antiquity. Many of its marvellous works of art are now housed in the local museum. The theatre
and bouleuterion are among the city's best-preserved ruins.
About 35 kilometres east of Aydin lies Sultanhisar, host to an Art and Culture Festival every
spring. Nearby, in the quiet of the olive trees, are the ruins of ancient Nysa, famous in the second
century A.D. as an educational centre
Nestled against high mountains near the Büyük (Meander) River is Denizli. Surrounded by the
natural beauty of a verdant valley, the area is also rich in culture and history. The Luvians were
the first inhabitants, followed centuries later by the Hittites. Throughout centuries, the fertile
plain nourished other civilisations: The Phrygians, Lydians, Persians, Macedonians, Romans,
Byzantines, Seljuks, and the Ottomans. Modern Denizli is a city of wide streets, parks and hotels.
The Atatürk Ethnography Museum in the city center displays folk art and ethnic artifacts. While
shopping in the Kaleiçi Çarsisi look for souvenirs of copper, jewellery, towels and silk blouses.
You can choose among Çamlik, Incilipinar or Gökpinar Parks for a rest, picnic, or simply a walk
through the forest in the shade of pine trees. The fresh water springs and thermal baths attract
A magical and spectacular natural site, unique in the world, Pamukkale (Hierapolis) is a
fairyland of dazzling white, petrified castles. Thermal spring waters laden with calcareous salts
running off the plateau's edge have created this fantastic formation of stalactites, cataracts and
basins. The hot springs have been used since Roman times for their therapeutic powers. Both the
thermal center with its motels and thermal pools, and the ruins of the ancient city of Hierapolis,
are situated on the plateau.
Another thermal center northwest of Pamukkale, Karahayit is known for its water's high-iron
content. Honaz Dagi National Park is 20 km east of Denizli, near the town of Honaz. Mt. Honaz
is one of the most beautiful and highest peaks (2.528 m) in the Aegean region. It is covered with
a gorgeous alpine forest. Early Christians settled on the northern slope; the name of this ancient
site is Colossae, and remains of the settlement can be seen.
The province of Mugla includes the famous holiday cities of Bodrum, Marmaris, Datça,
Köycegiz and Fethiye. Beautiful resorts, comfortable hotels and motels, cozy guest houses,
impressive ruins of past civilisations and magnificent ok here landscapes offer holidaymakers
plenty of choice. Mugla, the province's capital, lies inland and is known for its traditional
vernacular architecture. In the village of Özlüce, a veritable open-air museum east of Mugla, is
Turolian Park, where you can find fossils that are from 5 - 9 million years old.
An impressive medieval castle built by the Knights of Rhodes guards the entrance to Bodrum's
dazzling blue bay, in which the Aegean and the Mediterranean Seas meet. The town's charm is
well-known, attracting a diverse population of vacationers who stroll along its long palm-lined
waterfront, while elegant yachts crowd the marina.
Not far from town, you can swim in absolutely clear, tideless, warm seas. Underwater divers,
especially, will want to explore the numerous reefs, caves and majestic rock formations. The
waters offer up multicoloured sponges of all shapes and sizes, octopi and an immense variety of
other aquatic life.
The reputation of Bodrum's boat yards date back to ancient times, and today, craftsmen still build
the traditional yachts: the tirhandil with a pointed bow and stern, and the gulette with a broad
beam and rounded stern. The latter, especially, are used on excursions and pleasure trips, and in
the annual October Cup Race.
The yearly throng of visitors has encouraged small entrepreneurs to make shopping in Bodrum a
delight. Leather goods of all kinds, natural sponges and the local blue glass beads are among the
bargains to be found in the
friendly little shops along the narrow, white-walled streets. Charming boutiques offer kilims,
carpets, sandals and embroidery as well as original fashions in soft cotton. Bodrum has gained the
reputation as the center of the Turkish art community with its lively, friendly and Bohemian
atmosphere and many small galleries. This community has encouraged an informal day-time
lifestyle and a night-time of excitement. The evenings in Bodrum are for sitting idly in one of the
many restaurants, dining on fresh seafood and other Aegean specialities. Afterwards nightclubs
(some with cabaret) and superb discos keep you going until dawn. Bodrum, known in ancient
times as Halicarnassus, was the birthplace of Heredotus and the site of King Mausolus's Tomb
(4th century B.C.), one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. In the harbour, the Bodrum
Castle, or the medieval castle of St. Peter, is a fine example of 15th century Crusader
architecture, and has been converted into the Museum of Underwater Archaeology, with remains
dating as far back as the Bronze Age. The stunning panoramic view from Göktepe, nearby, is
much photographed by visitors to the museum's second-century theatre.
The beautiful Bodrum Peninsula suits holidaymakers interested in a subdued and relaxing
atmosphere. Enchanting villages, with guest-houses and small hotels on quiet bays, dot the
peninsula. On the southern coast, Bardakçi, Gümbet, Bitez, Aktur, Ortakent Yalisi, Karaincir,
Bagla and Akyarlar have fine, sandy beaches Campers and windsurfers enjoy Gümbet, and at
Bitez colourful sailboards weave skilfully among the masts of yachts in the bay. On shore, you
can enjoy quiet walks
through the orange and tangerine groves bordering the beach. Ortakent has one of the longest
stretches of sandy beach in the area and offers an ideal place for relaxing in solitude. One of the
most beautiful beaches on the Bodrum peninsula, Karaincir, is ideal for lively active days by the
sea and relaxed, leisurely evenings with local villagers. Finally, Akyarlar enjoys a well-deserved
reputation for the fine, powdery sand of its beach.
Turgutreis, Gümüslük and Yalikavak, all with excellent beaches, lie on the western side of the
peninsula and are ideal for swimming, sunbathing and water sports. In Turgutreis, the birthplace
of a great Turkish admiral of the same name, you will find a monument honouring him. In the
ancient port of Myndos (Gümüslük) you can easily make many friends with the hospitable and
outgoing local population.
In Yalikavak, white-washed houses with cascading bougainvillaea line narrow streets. Small
cafes and the occasional windmill create a picturesque setting. See the north coast of the
peninsula - Torba, Türkbükü, Gölköy and Gündogan - by road or, even better, hire a boat and
crew to explore the quiet coves, citrus groves and wooded islands. Little windmills which still
provide the energy to grind grain, crown hills covered with olive trees. Torba, a modern village
with holiday villas and a nice marina is located 8 km north of Bodrum. Gölköy and Türkbükü are
small and simple fishing villages with a handful of taverns overlooking a lovely bay.
After a boat trip to Karaada, half an hour from Bodrum, you can bathe in the grotto where the
warm mineral waters flowing out of the rocks are believed to beautify the complexion.
The translucent and deep waters of the Gulf of Gökova, on the southern shore of the Bodrum
peninsula vary from the darkest blue to the palest turquoise, and the coastline is thickly wooded
with every hue of green. In the evening, the sea reflects the mountains silhouetted against the
setting sun, and at night it shimmers with phosphorescence. You can take a yacht tour or hire a
boat from Bodrum for a two, three or seven day tour of the gulf.
The Gulf of Güllük, and harbour of the same name, lie north of the Bodrum peninsula on the
Aegean. The mythological Dolphin Boy is said to have been born a little farther to the north at
Kiyikislacik (lassos). South of Güllük, Varvil, ancient Bargilya, sits at the end of a deep narrow
inlet surrounded by olive covered hillsides.
Inland from Güllük is Milas, ancient Mylasa, known for its beautiful carpets - a century old
tradition which continues today. The weavers rarely mind a visitor watching them at work. Plenty
of old Turkish houses with carved timbers and latticed windows provide examples of the
vernacular architectural style. Gümüskesen, a monumental tomb, thought to be a small copy of
the famous Halicarnassus Mausoleum, stands in the west of the city.
The ancients built Labranda, a sanctuary dedicated to Zeus, high in the mountains. Today,
tourists have rediscovered this mountain retreat and escape to its exhilarating air and breathtaking
Situated on a bay, backed by rugged pine-clad mountains, Marmaris is one of the most attractive
maritime parklands, ideal for water sports and sailing. It makes an excellent starting point for the
"Blue Voyage" tour of the Aegean coastline. In May, the Marmaris Yacht Charter Show provides
an opportunity to meet the yachts' captains and crews. With plenty of provisions aboard, you set
sail in the craft of your choice and languidly explore the spectacular beauty of southern Turkey.
In Marmaris, sample the typical Turkish cuisine in one of the marina restaurants and drink raky,
anisette, the traditional Turkish way, over ice and diluted with water. Later stroll along the
brightly lit and palm-lined promenade and indulge yourself at one of the ice cream vendors.
Energetic entertainment at a lively bar or dancing until dawn at a sophisticated disco can end a
There are many good buys in Marmaris' boutiques, colorful bazaars and markets. You can find
excellent leather and suede goods, copper and brassware, jewellery and objects carved of onyx.
Turkish carpets, textiles and embroidery make good handcrafted souvenirs, and the locally
produced pine -scented honey called çambaly is superb.
Ancient Marmaris, Physkos, was an important stage on the Anatolia-Rhodes-Egypt trade route. In
the 16th century Süleyman the Magnificent had a citadel built on a hill, the remains of which can
still be seen today.
Swimmers should not miss Atatürk Park, to the east of Marmaris, where a shallow beach,
extending to the bay leads to safe waters. The clear sea is warm enough for swimming from early
May until late September. Marmaris also has horseback riding and tennis centres for the sports
enthusiast. This is one of the few places in the world where you can delight in the heady aroma of
the frankincense tree. Weekly ferry lines run between Marmaris and Venice during the summer
Near Marmaris at Içmeler, the hazy mountains of the interior slope down to sandy beaches.
Under blue skies, the clear sea is ideal for all types of water sports. Many find this area so
irresistible that they stay longer than originally planned. And there are some excellent
accommodations here, in which you can prolong your contact with nature. As you drive down
from the high mountains into the village of Turunç, the scene opens out onto the spectacular blue
waters beyond the natural harbour. The village itself is small and scattered around the bay: Most
of the restaurants border the beach. A few bars and restaurants farther back from the water's edge
offer fresh fish and superb views. Kumlubük, a turquoise paradise, lies on the southern side of the
bay. On the northern side, above the water, stands the ancient Rhodian city of Amos. Loryma, at
the tip of the Bozburun Peninsula, where the ruins of the ancient harbour and castle remain, can
only be reached by boat. Natural quiet bays and scattered islands punctuate the northern shore of
the peninsula, ideal for those who want to get away from it all.
Sedir Island, in the Gulf of Gökova, is the ancient Cedrai. Its old city walls, theatre and temples
can be visited by driving from Marmaris north to Gelibolu Bay and then crossing by boat. This
voyage also offers an unforgettable panoramic view of the mountain scenery across the bay. At
the head of the gulf is the village of Gökova Whose houses seem to cascade down the
mountainside. Restaurants built over bubbling, fresh water streams that fall from the highlands
create an ,unforgettable setting. The towering pines and cool breezes of Gökova Park are often a
welcome respite from the hot sun.
The Datça Peninsula provides a natural boundary between the Aegean Sea, the Gulf of Gökova
to the north, and the Mediterranean Sea, the Gulf of Hisarönü to the south. Along all the 75 km
from Marmaris to Datça, the road winds among trees and hills, permitting lovely views over the
expanse of blue. Campers have many perfect settings to choose from; the less adventurous can
stay in one of the many comfortable holiday villages. 25 km to Datça is the beautiful Aktur
beach. In Datça white-washed buildings hung with bougainvillaea decorate the town. The marina
is on the southern bay; while swimmers prefer the northern bay. Around the marina bars, cafes
and a wide selection of shops keep the tourist interested. Some shops remain open well into the
evening. Relaxing over a pre-dinner drink and then a delicious meal in a welcoming restaurant is
a popular way to spend the evening hours. Of course, the local eateries offer both fresh fish and
classical Turkish cuisine. With any remaining energy, take a stroll and find a disco to your liking
to while away until the early morning hours. 10 km north of Datça, the Körmen Harbour is
connected to Bodrum by a daily ferry line.
As you travel out of Datça, either by road or by boat, you will find unspoilt bays and golden
sandy beaches. Kargi is one of the most popular bays in the region.
At the end of the peninsula (38 km from Datça) stands the ancient Carian city of Knidos,
described by Strabo as "a city that was built for the most beautiful of goddesses, Aphrodite, on
the most beautiful of peninsulas." Famous as a center of art and culture in the fourth century B.C.
the city had two harbours: one on the Aegean and the other on the Mediterranean. The remains of
a circular temple dedicated to the goddess of love overlook the two harbours; the arcaded way
was built of white marble, heart-shaped columns. The legendary Aphrodite of Praxiteles' statue,
one of the most beautiful sculptures of antiquity, once graced this temple.
The town of Köycegiz lies at the northern end of a lake of the same name and Is joined to the
Mediterranean by a natural channel. This unique environment is being preserved as a nature and
wildlife sanctuary. A road shaded with aromatic frankincense trees leads to the tiny village of
Dalyan on the inland waterway. The maze of channels is easily explored by boat as you immerse
yourself in this tranquil dream world. The restaurants which line the waterways specialise in
delicious meals of fresh fish. High on the cliff face, at a bend in the river, above the fascinating
ancient harbour city of Caunos, magnificent tombs were carved into the rock. The Dalyan Delta,
with a long, golden sandy beach at its mouth, is a nature conservation area and a refuge for sea
turtles (Caretta Caretta) and blue crabs. At Ekincik, a delightful yacht mooring, you can enjoy the
breathtaking beauty of this area. Only a half hour's drive from Dalaman Airport, Sarigerme has
wonderful sandy beaches, and a pleasant holiday village discreetly situated in a pine forest. The
Dalaman River is the best for rafting and the best time for rafting is between May and October.
The road to Fethiye winds up and down hills through a heavily forested region that offers
occasional glimpses of the sea and an islet or two basking in total seclusion. The Gulf of Göcek
and its friendly marina is one of the Mediterranean's best sailing spots. Dotted with islands and
indented with many coves, its land and seascapes are irresistible. The ruins of Arymaxa, an
ancient city at the southern tip of the guff, lie at the edge of the azure waters. Opposite, on
Tersane Island, stand Byzantine ruins, including those of the ancient shipyards.
The popular resort Fethiye, 135 km southeast of Marmaris, boasts an important marina at the
head of a beautiful bay strewn with islands. A hill crowned by the ruins of the crusader fortress
built by the Knights of Rhodes overlooks the little port. Above the town, (called Telmessos in
antiquity), numerous Lycian rock tombs, reproducing the facades of ancient buildings, were cut
into the cliff face. The Tomb of Amyntas, which probably dates from the fourth century B.C. is
the most remarkable.
Swimmers head for the popular Çalis Beach, four kilometres west of town, or to Sövalye Island,
opposite the harbour, which blazes with flowers in the spring.
The road to Belcegiz Bay takes you through the mountains where cozy guest houses cater to
those seeking mountain scenery. Ocakköy is the mountain village that is a must see, stay in one
of the lovely guest houses, and enjoy the numerous trekking possibilities. Hisarönü, also in the
mountains, has very nice hotels. 4 km from Hisarönü, Kayaköy is a picturesque ghost town of old
churches - all empty. Explore the bay and the beautiful Blue Lagoon, Ölü Deniz, where the calm,
crystal clear water is ideal for swimming and other water sports. The Blue Lagoon is one of the
best places in the world to do absolutely nothing except soak up the sun amid stunning natural
surroundings. At Mt. Baba (1,969 m), you can paraglide into the Blue Lagoon. For those who'
prefer accommodation facilities, Belcegiz beach is recommended. Intoxicating scenery surrounds
Kidirak's beach and shady park. On Gemiler Island (St Nicholas's Island), Byzantine ruins lie
tucked among the pines. South of Kidirak beach, Kötürümsü Bay is reachable only by boat.
Beyond the idyllic beach, a forest, waterfalls and a valley filled with hundreds of varieties of
butterflies await the explorer. High in the mountains above Fethiye rushing torrents cut a narrow
gorge through the mountains, creating Saklykent (Hidden City). A cool refuge on hot summer
days, Saklikent is a favourite picnic spot, with rustic restaurants serving delectable fresh trout. 36
km south of Fethiye, Yakaköy (Tlos) is the Oldest city in the Lycian region. The home of the
Lycian Hero Bellerophon, visitors can see the remains of a castle, agora, necropolis, theatre,
Roman baths and a good view of Esen Valley. 2 km east of the villages is Tlos Park, ideal for
picnicking. Pinara, 49 km south of Fethiye, is another ancient mountain city; it is ideal for
trekking and visitors can see the remains of a theatre, agora, rock tomb, baths and ancient
About 65 km from Fethiye, to the southeast, near Kinik, are the ruins of Xanthos, an important
Lycian capital in a splendid natural setting. Letoon, nearby, was formerly an important religious
cult center where three temples dedicated to Leto, Artemis and Apollo stood in ancient times.
iiÖÖçsTURKISH ECONOMY IN 2000
Supply and Demand
In the last two years, the Turkish economy has been affected by two major shocks: Namely, the
Russian moratorium, and two earthquake disasters. The crisis in Russia precipitated capital
outflows in late 1998, a considerable loss of export markets in the region, accompanied by a
marked fall in domestic demand, and a sharp slowdown in the industrial sector. The earthquakes
that devastated the industrial heartland of Turkey, adversely affected the economy faced with
severe macroeconomic and structural policy shifts, and contributed to the further downturn in
economic activity. As a result, the real GNP decreased by over 6 percent in 1999, compared with
close to 4 percent growth in
Following these shocks, Turkey embarked upon an ambitious disinflation policy and a structural
adjustment program in the beginning of 2000, backed by the International Monetary Fund with a
three-year stand-by agreement. The main purpose of the program was to bring the inflation rate
down permanently, to remove long-standing macroeconomic imbalances, and to rationalize key
Following the severe shrinkage in 1999, Turkey’s economy rebounded strongly in 2000. To some
degree, the rebounding effect might be ascribed to a macroeconomic adjustment brought about
the inception of the stabilization program, post-earthquake recovery, dissipation of uncertainties,
improved confidence in forthcoming economic policies, anda marked decline in interest rates.
Compared to a negative growth rate of 6.1 percent in 1999, GNP growth in 2000 attained an
annual rate of
6.1 percent. The domestic demand has been the driving force behind this
growth rate, benefiting from a sharp decline in real interest rates after the highly credible
inception of the program.
On the supply side of the economy, bearing in mind that the major driving force behind the
economic performance over the years has been industry, the value added growth rate in the
industrial sector rose by 5.6 percent in 2000 as compared with a 5 percent decrease the previous
year. This increase could be attributed to the robust stance of the manufacturing industry, which
rose by 5.9 percent in 2000 as a whole, from a 5.7 percent decline in 1999. Although production
increased markedly in private manufacturing, particularly in the automotive industry, and in the
electrical machinery, textile, and chemical sub-group sections, a 6.3 percent decline in public
sector production decelerated the overall increase in the value added in the manufacturing
industry. In addition, agricultural production rose by 4.1 percent, while the valued added
increased by 11.6 percent in trade, and 5.8 percent in the construction sectors respectively.
On the demand side of the economy, private consumption expenditures
consisting of 68 percent of the domestic demand have been the driving force in fuelling economic
activity throughout 2000. Sharply lowered interest rates freed the strong pent-up demand for
consumer durables. Decreasing by 2.6 percent in 1999, private consumption rose by 6.4 percent
in 2000. Considering the sub-groups of private consumption, expenditures on durable goods and
services increased by 27.5 and 7.2 percent respectively. Lower interest rates helped boost the
credit demand especially regarding the financing of purchases of consumer durables such as
automobiles and household appliances. For example, total automobile sales were recorded at 465
thousand units, historically the highest figure until 2000. This development was mainly due to the
105 percent increase in the sales of imported automobiles, thereby the share of imported
automobiles within total automobile sales reached 55 percent.
The recovery in domestic spending reflected rebounds in fixed investment
expenditures as well. The rise in private investment expenditures stemmed largely from
machinery and equipment investments. A surge in
real spending for machinery and equipment resulted in a 15.4 percent rise in private fixed
investments compared with the previous year after falling similarly last year. Private investments
increased for a variety of reasons, including boosted corporate earnings and sharply lower yields
on new financial investments, which increased the relative attractiveness of investments in
Moreover, imports of goods and services rose by 25.4 percent, which has been another major
factor contributing to domestic demand. As a result, with a broad recovery in the whole sectors of
the economy, the real GDP in the year 2000 increased by 7.2 percent. The extensive increase in
supplies has considerably stimulated the demand for labor. The unemployment rate in the third
and fourth quarters decreased by 5.6 and 6.3 percent respectively, as compared with 7.6 percent
in 1999 as a whole.
Prices and Wages
Having been plagued by chronically high inflation during the last three decades, Turkey's
entering the new millennium has produced a bold and auspicious disinflation program with the
concrete aim of reducing the inflation rate to single digits.
In setting disinflation goals for the 2000-2002 period, significant importance has been attached to
the need to destroy the inertia of inflation, the principal problem to be addressed, and to sever the
bondage between past inflation and inflationary expectations of economic agents. In addition,
auxiliary monetary, exchange rate and incomes policies have been devised and implemented. The
program materialized itself in impacting price dynamics. In line with the expectations of the
program, the year-long downward trend in inflation rates has been observed. On the other hand,
inflation rates remained high during the first two months of 2000, which was due to severe winter
conditions, the rise in international oil prices, the impact of an acceleration in public sector price
adjustments, and a more rapid depreciation in the TL towards the end of 1999. As the impact of
these temporary factors tapered off, and successful implementation of the disinflation program
consolidated confidence in macroeconomic policies, monthly price increases started to slow
down considerably starting in March 2000.
A substantial decrease in prices in 2000 might be attributed to the committed implementation of
the Stand-by arrangement and the consistent income policy. The program was able to affect the
dynamics that contribute to the inertia of inflation, and culminated in a plausible decrease in
prices despite a myriad of adverse shocks. The annual increase in wholesale prices was recorded
at 32.7 percent in 2000, the lowest level since 1986, which was 62.9 percent in 1999. The annual
increase in consumer prices was recorded at 39 percent in 2000. It was 68.8 percent the previous
year. Wholesale prices decreased by 30.2 points while the decrease in consumer prices was
recorded at 29.8 points. Inflation has edged higher, partly because of rising oil prices and the
depreciation of the Euro vis-à-vis the USD.
Regarding the components of wholesale prices, it has been observed that
public sector prices, which include prices for petroleum products, rose by
24.7 percent while the change in private sector prices was recorded as 35.7 percent annually. The
highest price changes, on a sectoral basis, occurred in the mining and energy sectors. In these
sectors prices rose by 46.1 percent and 37.4 percent, respectively. The price increase in the
manufacturing industry, which is used as a proxy of the core inflation rate, was recorded as 29.4
As far as annual price developments of subgroups of CPI are concerned, the highest price change
was observed as 51 percent in health services. On the other hand, price increases in food and
clothing slowed down and were recorded as 33 percent and 35.8 percent, respectively. According
to SIS figures , the real wage of a public worker rose by 14 percent while the real wage decreased
by 3.2 percent in the private sector. In line with the disinflation program, salary increases for civil
servants for the year 2000 were set according to the targeted CPI inflation (25 percent in 2000, of
which 15 percent was allotted on January 1, and 10 percent on July 1).
EXTERNAL SECTOR DEVELOPMENTS
The current accounts deficit increased at an unprecedented rate in the year 2000 and reached
USD 9.7 billion from a deficit of USD 1.4 billion in
1999, seven times higher compared with the year 1999. This was mainly due to the
over-appreciated TL, rising oil prices, the year long weakness of the Euro vis-à-vis USD, a strong
domestic demand in the economy that resulted from wealth effect, intertemporal substitution in
consumption and credit expansion triggered by a marked decline in interest rates.
Export products (excluding shuttle trade) increased lackadaisically by 3.4 percent compared with
1999 and reached USD 27.4 billion in 2000. In 2000 the export growth rate was adversely
affected by the severe decline in
the export of agricultural products, and the weakness in the Euro vis-à-vis USD. Export prices
declined by 4.3 percent on the average in 2000. Agricultural exports declined by 18.3 percent in
2000 compared with 1999, and manufactured goods exports increased by 5.6 percent. Income
obtained from shuttle trade increased by 30.6 percent during the same period.
In 2000, exports to European Union countries, our major trading partners, remained at the same
level as that in1999 and exports to the Commonwealth of Independent States increased by 4.9
percent. Total imports increased by 33.1 percent in 2000 compared with1999 and reached USD
54.1 billion. The sharp pick-up in imports was essentially
due to a rebounding domestic demand, a rise in international oil prices, the appreciation of the TL
vis-à-vis USD, and accelerated inventory accumulation (restocking) of raw materials and
unprocessed goods. Imports of investment goods, intermediate goods and consumption goods
increased by 29, 33, and 42 percent respectively in 2000 compared with
1999. Import prices increased by 4.5 percent in 2000 on an annual average
Hence the trade deficit (excluding shuttle trade) rose sharply and it was registered as USD 26.6
billion compared with USD 14.1 billion in 1999. Tourism revenues increased by 48.6 percent and
totalled USD 7.6
billion in 2000. Interest receipts increased by 20.7 percent and workers remittances increased by
0.7 percent, reaching USD 4.5 billion.
Despite the significant increase in tourism revenues, the current account deficit exceeded
expectations and amounted to USD 9.7 billion, the highest figure ever. A significant portion of
the rise in the current accounts deficit was due to the price effect arising from a deterioration of
trade terms with Turkey.
Developments in the capital account in 2000 were encouraging and the current account deficit
was financed without any difficulty. The net capital account inflow reached USD 9.4 billion in
2000 compared with USD 4.6 billion previous year. The increase in the net capital inflow was
mainly due to the initial credibility of the disinflation program. Both public and private sectors
could borrow from international markets in excess of their debt service. On the other hand, direct
investments diminished by 19 percent in 2000 and amounted to USD 112 million, the lowest
figure since 1988. Compared with its 1999 level the net long-term capital inflow increased by
USD 4 billion and reached USD 4.3 billion. The net short-term capital inflow increased from
USD 759 million to USD 4 billion by the end of 2000. This was mainly due to increases in the
banking sector's short term borrowings to finance foreign trade. The inflow from portfolio
investments was recorded at USD 1 billion and was mainly due to the borrowing of the Treasury
from international capital markets through issuing bonds. The Treasury borrowed USD 7.5
billion in 2000 by issuing bonds to international capital markets.
As a result, official reserves increased by USD 354 million in 2000. Central Bank reserves
remained at USD 19.6 billion at the end of 2000. The external debt stock increased from USD
103 million in 1999 to USD 114.3
million by the end of 2000. The share of the short-term debt in the total debt increased to 25.3
percent whereas the share of the medium and long-term debt stock dropped to 74.7 percent
during the same period.
The disinflation program envisaged a sharp, up-front fiscal adjustment
which should allow for monetary easing and a fall in interest rates. Thus,
the fiscal discipline, a major pillar of the program, aimed to have a surplus on the primary
balance in a way to decrease the outstanding domestic debt in real terms. To this end, a
considerable decrease to be
provided in the public sector deficit, which has experienced an upward trend since the mid-1980s
is indispensable for establishing price stability and a proper macroeconomic adjustment.
In 2000, consolidated budget expenditures increased by 8.7 percent in real terms over the
preceding year and amounted to TL 46.6 quadrillion, while consolidated revenues increased by
16.8 percent in real terms and reached TL 33.8 quadrillion.
The strict implementation of fiscal measures envisaged in the program
brought about a significant turnabout in the primary balance of the budget of the central
government. Tightening the fiscal policy, one-off receipts from temporary taxes that was enacted
late 1999, and the strong
domestic demand are the main factors contributing to obtaining a non-interest primary surplus of
TL 589 trillion in excess of the year-end target. For 2000 as a whole, the primary surplus of the
budget was recorded as approximately 6 percent of the GNP, which represents a much better
performance than program targets. To this end, the sharp increase in the primary balance led to
almost a four-point adjustment in the share of the GNP from the previous year.
Indirect tax revenues obtained from the Value Added Tax(VAT) on imports and domestic
transactions strongly affected the performance of the total revenue by increasing the revenues
from VAT by 26 percent in real terms from the previous year. Moreover, temporary taxes
reaching TL 3.2 quadrillion, amounting to approximately 9.4 percent of the total tax revenues, is
The petroleum consumption tax was kept low so as to mitigate the adverse effect of outstandingly
high oil prices on inflation. This practice, on the other hand, resulted in a deviation, amounting to
more than TL 700
trillion, from the year-end target.
A disappointing performance resulted from the main direct taxes, namely
personal income and corporate taxes. In total, the revenues collected from the above-mentioned
taxes fell short of the year-end target, with TL
Total tax receipts reached TL 26.5 quadrillion, referring to a 17.4
percent increase in real terms over the preceding year and approximately a 2 percent adjustment
as a proportion of the GNP. Temporary revenues that were imposed in 1999, privatization
receipts and revenues from budgetary funds positively affected non-taxed revenues. On the
expenditure side, thanks to the tightened fiscal policy implementations,
non-interest spending decreased by 1.3 percent in real terms compared with 1999. Civil servant
wages increased in line with the targeted inflation.
As a result of the social security reform, transfers from the budget to SSK dropped significantly
while the budget transfers to the other social security institutions, Emekli Sandigi and Bagkur,
remained high. Although transfers from the budget to SEE's to compensate for duty losses
declined by 59 percent in real terms over the preceding year, an increase in the capital transfers
exceeded the actual inflation.
The real aggregate expenditures increased by 8.7 percent in comparison to 1999. The main reason
behind this increase was the high interest payments of the central government. Despite the high
interest outlays, the share of which is 43.8 percent in total expenditures, an interest savings in the
amount of TL 1 quadrillion was attained with respect to the year-end target due to lower interest
rates paid to domestic borrowings and inflow of external financing to the country.
The domestic debt stock reached TL 36,4 quadrillion by the end of 2000, which represents 28.9
percent of the GNP.
Finally, 25 extra-budgetary and 2 budgetary funds were closed down with the aim of enhancing
the transparency of the budget.
Within the framework of the IMF-supported disinflation program, Turkey is implementing a new
exchange rate and monetary policy. A firm exchange rate commitment and a rule-based monetary
policy was adopted as two major policy shifts with the aim of destroying the inertia of inflation,
which had persisted in the past.
The core of the new monetary and exchange rate strategy is to shift from
a policy of accommodation, focused on maintaining the real exchange rate
and providing the public sector with liquidity, to one based upon a
pre-announced rate of currency depreciation (crawling peg) and
rule-based, limited money creation.
Starting in 1 January 2000, the Central Bank abandoned the policy of real exchange rate targeting
which had been pursued during the last several
years to the introduction of a preannounced exchange rate path equal to the WPI inflation target.
With this approach, the depreciation of the Turkish lira was limited to 20 percent in 2000. In
other words, the disinflation program relied on the exchange rate as a nominal anchor.
The exchange rate policy aims at removing uncertainties and inflationary expectations.
On the monetary policy side, operationally there was no-sterilization rule, that is capital
inflows/outflows were not sterilized, so that interest rates are fully market-determined. The
monetary policy was also confined by indicative ceilings on Net Domestic Assets (NDA), with an
accompanying floor on international reserves. This aimed at preventing monetary conditions
from becoming too expansionary as a result of the probable liquidity needs of the public sector
which provided additional credibility to the program. The dependence of monetary expansion and
contraction on foreign capital influx and efflux and no-sterilization rule connotes some typical
characteristics of an orthodox currency board arrangement.
From the inception of the program, monetary and exchange rate policies were rigorously
implemented and almost all targets were met. As early as January 2000, interest rates dropped
sharply. In particular, compound overnight rates declined from 95 percent at end-1999 to around
45 percent, implying negative overnight rates. Moreover, the non-sterilization policy had been
consistently followed, with NDA always
remaining in the program's corridor until the system-wide liquidity crunch sprang up
On the other hand, the fickle perceptions of edgy domestic and foreign investors have turned
sharply negative since the beginning of September.
This very rapid turnabout in sentiment reflected the snowballing of the current account deficit,
anxiety and concerns over the condition of the banking sector, and political developments.
Finally, as a result of these intertwined factors, Turkey was hit by a severe liquidity crisis in late
November and early December. The turbulence in financial markets was triggered by a
medium-sized bank sliding into a liquidity squeeze. The bank was heavily exposed in
government securities and as a result of liquidity shortage, it began to sell off its large stocks of
government paper in the secondary market. This culminated in primary dealers suspending the
posting of the rates on government paper. All these developments exacerbated the systemic panic
and initiated massive capital withdrawals, in spite of the rise of interest rates to 100-200 percent.
At the same time, the Central Bank of Turkey increased the supply of NDA well outside the
program's corridor, out of concerns for the effect that excessively high interest rates would have
on the banking system. Those events, in the context of weaker
international market sentiments for emerging economies, culminated in a loss of USD 6 billion of
foreign exchange reserves. On November 30, the Central Bank announced that it would cease
providing liquidity to the market, halting in this way the loss of reserves. Interest rates, however,
skyrocketed to over 1000 percent.
The pressure on financial markets eased only with the announcement of a
policy strengthening and the request of access to the Supplemental Reserve Facility amount of
USD 7.5 billion. The response of financial markets to the above-mentioned precautions was that
rapid short term interest rates declined sharply while international reserves of the Central Bank
increased to the pre-crisis level.
In conjunction with the above-mentioned developments, the monetary front in 2000 were as
- Monetary aggregates expanded in nominal terms. Compared with the
increase in the Wholesale Price Index (WPI), these aggregates _ 98.5 percent for M1, 56.9
percent for M2 and 49.1 percent for M2Y in nominal terms _signify a real monetary expansion.
- Volume of TL-denominated deposits increased in real terms as well.
Sight deposits denominated in TL increased 61.2 percent in real terms while time deposits
denominated in TL increased 10.5 percent. Deposits
denominated in foreign exchange also increase from USD 33 billion to USD
- Due to the sharp decline in interest rates, credit to the private sector expanded widely in 2000.
The boost in consumer credits_ 370.2 percent
in nominal terms_ was substantially above the increase in WPI, while a rise in commercial
credits_ 17.5 percent in nominal terms_ is below the
increase in WPI. One of the reasons for this increase was the reduction in
domestic borrowing of the Treasury in 2000. This resulted in a contraction in the securities
portfolio of commercial banks, and an increase in the loans of commercial banks to the
non-financial sector. The other reason is an upswing in aggregate demand observed after the
launching of the disinflation program.
Along with the above-mentioned macroeconomic developments, the implementation of key
structural reforms was a sine qua non for the sustainability of fiscal adjustment and the success of
the disinflation program . Recent reforms have been accomplished in three major fields: social
security system and in the banking and agricultural sectors.
Within the framework of structural reforms, the social security system,
that has been subjected to de-stabilizing deficits for many years, has been rearranged and
significant steps have been taken in terms of achieving a balance between the assets and liabilities
of the system. The Banking Regulatory and Supervisory Board, established as a reflection of the
fiscal sector reform, provides for the integration of the functions of the banking sector related to
regulation, supervision and control, under a single authority. However, the economic crisis of
February 2001 has revealed the fact that far more radical measures should be taken within the
scope of the fiscal sector reforms. The arrangements related to the amendments to be made in the
Banking Act and in the Law on the Central Bank of Republic Turkey should be given priority.
The arrangements concerning Public Banks will be given priority within the scope of the fiscal
Transition to the direct income support system in agriculture has been initiated and positive
responses have been obtained from the applications
conducted in pilot regions. Within the framework of fiscal transparency, certain budgetary and
non-budgetary funds, which have been proposed within the program, have been obtained.
Privatisation is a significant element in the reform program. Privatisation of the state
monopolistic economic activities is especially of great importance in order to ensure sustainable
growth in the Turkish economy in a competitive environment. The privatisation issue was first
included in the Constitution by the amendment made in 1999, and an international an arbitration
institution has been assigned to eliminate the bottleneck encountered in energy tenders. Such
public enterprises as the large-scale SEEs like Tüpras, Petkim, THY (Turkish Airlines), Erdemir
and SEKA were scheduled to be privatised in 2000. It was to be accomplished via various
methods such as blocked sales and public tenders. In 2000, income in the amount of more than
expected by the blocked sales of 51 percent of Petrol Ofisi, 31.5 percent sales of TÜPRAS by
public tenders and by the mobile phone license sales, could be considered positive developments.
In 2000 receipts from privatization were registered as USD 3.2 billion.
PROMINENT TOURISM COMPANIES TO INVEST IN TURKEY
The stable development of the Turkish tourism sector, which has a promising future, has drawn
the attention of the world's prominent tourism companies. A US company, Mega Management,
will establish a 5-star hotel in Trabzon. Additionally, many foreign tourism companies are
planning to hire hotels, especially in Antalya.
TOURISM TO BE THE LOCOMOTIVE OF ECONOMY
The American firm Morgan Stanley Dean Witter, an international advisory service, announced
that tourism will be the locomotive of the economy. Within the framework of its estimations for
the year 2001, Morgan Stanley announced the number of tourists will reach 11.5 million with an
increase of 11.8 %. In light of these estimations, the income to be earned by Turkey for the year
2001 is expected to reach 9.2 billion US dollars. /Turkiye/