Category Archives: Turkey Holidays

A Journey to the Topkapi Palace of Istanbul

The Ottoman Empire was amongst the largest and most influential kingdoms in the world. At the zenith of its power, it spread from South-eastern Europe to the Horn of Africa. It was founded in 1299 by Osman I, whose father had come to Anatolia from Merv in modern-day Turkmenistan to fight the Byzantine Empire. The two empires coexisted in Turkey till 1453, when the city of Constantinople fell and the Byzantine Empire ended. Upon its defeat, the city became the new capital of the Ottoman Turks and after the dissolution of the empire, it was renamed as Istanbul and was made the capital of the modern country. Istanbul is located in the northwest of the country, bordering Greece in the east, Bulgaria in the north, Mediterranean Sea in the south and Black Sea in the northeast. Tourists during their Turkey holidays can flock to the Topkapi Palace, which served as the centre of the Ottoman power for 400 years.

 

Topkapi Palace

 

Topkapi Palace
Topkapi Palace

The Topkapi Palace is one of the most-visited tourist attractions in Turkey. Its construction began in 1459 and in the past, as many as 4000 people lived inside the complex. Four main courtyards and several buildings are located inside its premises. The main gate, located to the south of the complex, is a high archway, which leads to a covered passage. Verses from the Quran, done in Turkish calligraphy, adorn the arch. A huge park is situated in the first courtyard, which is the largest of all such areas.

the Mint
The Mint

Surviving structures in the yard are the Mint, a Byzantine church and some fountains.

Gate of Salutation
Gate of Salutation

The Gate of Salutation leads people to the second courtyard. An inscription on the gate traces its history to 1542. Near the gate is a fountain, which was reportedly used by executioners to wash their hands and swords. Buildings, previously housing kitchens, hospital, bakery, divans and harems, surround the second yard. Some of the royal carriages are often displayed behind the gate. The imperial kitchen has three doors, 20 chimneys and a collection of 10700 Chinese crockery. More chambers housed stables, royal council, treasury and an arms collection.

Tower of Justice
Tower of Justice

The Tower of Justice is the tallest tower in the yard and the palace.

Gate of Felicity
Gate of Felicity

Apartments of servants are situated in the third courtyard, which is reached via the Gate of Felicity. Located here are the audience building, imperial wardrobe chamber, treasury, portrait gallery, library and a mosque. A chamber here apparently housed the robe, swords, bow, tooth and a hair strand of Mohammed. A large Harem occupied the private apartment of the sultan that had bathrooms and apartments for women. The third yard is deep inside the palace and has gardens and terraces. A room dedicated solely to circumcision is present here along with gazebos known as kiosks. Another building here served as a dispensary, where the physician saw patients on the second floor while the first floor was used as a drug and medicine store. Lush gardens surround the whole complex and a section of them faces the sea. Europe holidays can be planned to see this magnificent example of Turkish architecture.

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Cities of Turkey- The Aphrodisias

There are a number of scenic locations in the world that are replete with beauty and elegance, but Europe holds a special place among all of them. Comprising some of the most beauteous countries, Europe has a thriving tourism industry with thousands of tourists visiting it every year. Among its historic Anatolian countries, Turkey is a prominent one that adds to the worth of this continent. It has a rich and varied culture, vibrantly displaying various facets of its residents and their lifestyle. A recorded data has revealed that the nation has received more than 31 million tourists in recent years, making Europe tours a popular option among globetrotters. A number of historical sites, which carry the remnants of the bygone era, make it a fascinating destination to visit.

 

Aphrodisias

Aphrodisias
Aphrodisias-Location Map

 

Located in Caria, Aphrodisias is a small and quaint city, which was named after the Greek Goddess Aphrodite.

Goddess Aphrodite
Goddess Aphrodite

This city has been closely associated with the goddess, who has a cult image of the Aphrodite of Aphrodisias. The location, which has a vast history dating back to around 5000 BC, is considered a valuable settlement surviving to see the present day. Aphrodite is worshipped as the goddess of love and beauty; hence, the city named after her and carried her legacy to became a centre for unique art, sculpting and architecture. Its monuments and artefacts found from the excavation work are making it an interesting destination among modern travelers.

History and Monuments

 

During the Roman and Hellenistic periods, the marble quarry present near it was extensively used as marble structures were quite famous among people. Several examples of such statuary pieces are unearthed from here, besides some representations of Aphrodite. During the late antique period, it was known with various name and saw a number of civilizations.

Temple of Aphrodite
Temple of Aphrodite

The most frequented place of this city is the Temple of Aphrodite, which has retained its prominence over the time. Another point to note about it is the fact that it was once a well-known Christian basilica.

Christian basilica
Christian basilica

The plentiful supply of marble proved to be a helping point for architects, who made this impressive structure.

 

After the construction of the temple, the Aphrodisian sculptors became famous and added several examples of their work at the site. Sarcophagi are a unique attraction of this place that are decorated in designs of columns and garlands. People can take the opportunity to see the peopled scrolls, which were actually pilasters with various descriptive figures on them.

Tetrapylon
Tetrapylon

Tetrapylon, or the monumental gateway, leads approachers from one of the main streets of the town to the frontal area of the temple. Although in ruins now, it still stands with pride carrying the charm of its era, in which it was built.

Bouleuterion
Bouleuterion

Bouleuterion, which was used as a council house, is a large and impressive structure. It consists of a superficial stage surrounded by a semicircular auditorium. The ancient arrangements, which are still present at the site, indicate to the fact that it was a significant location used for the purpose of large public gatherings. Nowadays, such quaint destinations are a popular and inclusive parts of several tours of this region.

The City of Ephesus in Turkey

A beautiful Anatolian country, Turkey is a popular tourist destination as it is home to a variety of historical sites and rich cultural heritage. It is among the most-visited countries of the world and is known for attracting more than 31 million international travellers in the recent years. People, who have explored its beautiful ancient cities and witnessed the remnants of various glorious empires, have named it the Cradle of Civilisation, serving as a bridge between Europe and Asia. Nowadays, people on Turkey holidays include both frequent and first time travellers, who come here to explore its various facets. Climatic diversity and a range of historically-significant edifices make Turkey a desirable destination to visit.

Ephesus

Ephesus
Ephesus

Ephesus is a quaint and ancient Greek city, which is situated a few kilometres away from the Izmir Province of Turkey. Established somewhere during 10th century BC by the Ionian and Attic colonists, this place has been the focal point of culture and commerce over the years. Besides, it holds prominent religious significance among followers of Christianity all over the world. All these factors attract hordes of tourists to this beautific city every year. In around 2nd century BC, this city was considered the fourth largest in the entire east of the Roman Empire. The classic Temple of Artemis added to its worth in those times and was among the seven wonders of the ancient world. Archaeological remains dotted across the region elegantly display various marvels of the bygone era.

This place has a great and eventful history, which evolved over centuries. It is said that in around 10th century BC, the prince of Athens – Androclos – was searching for a new settlement and found this place suitable as per the prediction of an Apollon Oracle. The city of Ephesus was established under the initiation of Androclos, who was hailed as its first king. A mausoleum was constructed in his memory after he died during the war with the Carians. During the mid of 6th century BC, this kingdom was at its Golden Age under the Lydian king Kreisos and became a symbol of culture and arts.

The prosperity of this ancient empire was at its zenith at this time, when it was provided with two governing bodies – democratic and oligarchic. This administrative formation ultimately resulted in a rebellion during the era. The first blow of this rebellion was suffered by the temple of Artemis, which was destroyed by the oligarchy supporters. Its repairing was proposed by Alexander the Great, who defeated the Persians and gained the control of Ephesus. This proud ruler added several other privileges to this site before his death. Ephesus was replaced by Arsinoeina for a short span of time, only to regain its original status years later. Guided tours are organised to this city, which is well-connected from several major adjoining areas. Travellers can opt for Turkey holiday packages in order to explore it in a better and detailed manner.

The Euphoric Grand Bazaar of Turkey

Turkey, a transcontinental country, which lies mostly in the western part of Asia and partially in the south-eastern part of Europe, is an ideal holiday getaway. This place has mesmerizing terrains, which are characterized with mountains, beaches and lush green forests. Encircled by water bodies on three sides, this picturesque destination has an extraordinary ecosystem and rich biodiversity. Besides, exploring unleashed natural terrains, tourists can also visit prominent attractions during Turkey holidays. There are several popular places of interest in this enchanting country, such as Turkua Zoo, Istanbul Aquarium, House of the Virgin Mary, Galata Bridge, Little Hagia Sophia and Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople. In addition, the vibrant bazaars of this euphoric nation add to the zest of vacations here.

Grand Bazar
Grand Bazar

 

One of the ancient markets here is The Grand Bazaar, which is located in the walled city of Istanbul. The establishment of this market, which was initiated by Sultan Mehmed – the conqueror, dates back to the mid 14th century. It is believed to have reached its final shape by the early years of the 17th century. This shopping area is counted among the oldest and largest covered markets of the world. There are more than 60 covered streets and over 5000 shops here, attracting up to 4 lakh visitors every day.

Grand Bazar Map
Grand Bazar Map

Stretching from west to east between the mosques of Nuruosmaniye and Beyazit, this market is easily accessible via trams – local means of transport.

Architecture, Design and Layout

The marketing complex has two Hamams, four fountains, two mosques and several exquisite dining venues. The central area features a huge hall, which has a high-rise dome. This hall is known as Cevahir Bedesten and houses valuable antiques and other precious items, such as mother-of-pearl mirrors, inlaid weapons, copperware, intricately carved furnitures, amber prayer beads, icons, watches, silver as well as gold jewellery and clocks. Another major architectural highlight here is the Ic Bedesten, which features a rectangular plan. There are two rows of four stone piers each and three rows of five bays each. All bays are surmounted with domes made up of bricks and blind drums. In the inner as well as outer walls, there are more than 40 cellars (known as Mahzen in Turkish) and vaulted rooms, which have external openings.

This area receives sunlight from the rectangular windows, which have been typically constructed right under the roof. These windows are accessible through ambulatory made up of wood. There are four entrances, which allow access to this building, namely Second-hand Book Sellers Gate in the north, Skullcap Sellers Gate in the south, Jewellers Gate in the east, and Womens Clothiers Gate in the west. Other prominent architectural structures within this shopping complex are The Sandal Bedesten and Fur Dealers Market.

Among the Most-visited Attractions

Today, this bazaar is a thriving shopping complex, which employs more than 26000 people. This place is a landmark area in Istanbul and one of the most-visited sites of the country. From clothes, to food to jewellery to antiques, tourists can browse and buy a wide range of attractive items from this place. The Grand Bazaar was the most widely visited monument in the world in the year 2011. Hordes of travelers who visit Turkey during international tours come down to this lively site to indulge in the spree of shopping, explore ancient edifices and encounter the rich culture of the nation.

Bounties of Nature and Architectural Splendour of Turkey

Turkey, located in southwestern Asia and southeastern Europe, shares its boundaries with eight countries. Bestowed with lofty mountains, sparkling rivers, gushing waterfalls and lush meadows, this is an ideal holiday getaway destination. Along with scenic landscapes, the historic edifices and ancient marvels at this place are exemplary of great architectural work. Lapped by the waters of Mediterranean Sea in the South, Aegean Sea in the West and Black Sea in the North, this place serves as a paradise for beach lovers. Those who are interested in water sports can indulge in swimming, snorkelling and scuba diving. Other activities such as skiing, trekking, hiking and hunting can also be practised here.

The home to the largest number of archaeological sites in the world, this country attracts hordes of tourists round the year. Some of the worth-mentioning sites are Xanthos Letoon, archaeological site of Troy and Neolithic Site of Çatalhöyük. Few prominent destinations in this country that are worth a visit are Ankara, Mugla, Istanbul, Nevsehir, Antalya and Izmir. Ankara is the capital and is the second largest city in the country after Istanbul. During a trip to Turkey, tourists can pick one of the many Istanbul packages and explore this place, which is a mosaic of cultures and civilizations.

Owing to its diverse geographical locations, this country witnesses a big difference in climatic conditions. Coastal regions here experience milder climates while the Asiatic Turkey has hot summers and cold winters. Those who want to witness the unspoilt beauty of the region can take a ferry ride and reach one of the many incredibly beautiful islands that float in the Turkish seas.

Istanbul

Istanbul, known as the cultural and economic heart of the nation, is frequented by countless tourists every year. It is a transcontinental city with its historical and commercial centre in Europe and a proportion of population in Asia. Sprawling across an area of about 5,343 square kilometres, it is the largest city of the country. Visiting this place is like stepping back into time due to the presence of truly amazing religious and historical sites.

Historic Peninsula, centrally located in ancient Istanbul, is considered to be the most alluring place of interest in the entire destination. Do not miss to visit the Topkapı Palace, Hagia Sophia, Basilica Cistern and Sultanahmet Mosque (Blue Mosque) on a trip to Turkey. The impressive Theodosian walls that mark the western boundary of the peninsula is a sight worth beholding.

This place, with a huge traffic network, is among the most easily accessible metropolitan cities of the world. There are two airports at this destination, from where travellers can get a direct flight to any airport city of the country. After reaching the airport, tourists can take a shuttle or avail public transport to reach the city centre. Those who prefer sea transportation can reach this destination by a cruise. Turkey packages help visitors enjoy a hassle-free vacation by providing all the necessary travel and accommodation facilities.

Sightseeing Istanbul Using Turkey Packages

Turkey is one of the favorite tourist destinations among globetrotters as it is considered as the land of exotic east and contemporary west cultures. Boasting incredible landscape and natural bounties, this place is bordered by four different seas. It is the country, which was invaded and conquered by several rulers in the past. Tourists can enjoy an extraordinary sight of churches, mosques, Roman theatres and temples all coexisting together in this region. Adding to the adventure and liveliness of this area is the numerous gypsy festivals, their celebrations as well as football matches and classical music concerts organised here. Turkey packages are an ideal way to escape from the dull and mundane life.

Sightseeing at Istanbul

Hagia Sophia
Hagia Sophia

This country offers several prominent attractions for globetrotters. One of the ideal way of exploring this region is to avail Istanbul packages. It is the cultural and financial hub of Turkey. Known for its architectural brilliance, this area has a wide range of historical structures, which entails within itself the glorious past of the city. Travellers can visit Hagia Sophia, a popular museum, to get an insight into the Byzantine and Ottoman architectural excellence. Earlier this complex served as a cathedral as well as mosque, and hence is adorned with captivating mosaics. Besides this, it is the only building in the world, which served to three different religions that are Sunni Islam, Christian Orthodox and Pagan.

Blue Mosque
Blue Mosque

Another iconic architectural accomplishment of this place is Blue Mosque. It was built under the rule of Ahmed I, between 1609 and 1616 years. The highlight of this complex is the graceful minarets and domes that are constructed using blue tiles. The architectural design of this complex draws inspiration from both, Byzantine and Ottoman mosques. Like other mosques, it also comprises a tomb of the founder. This mosque is surrounded by four minarets. The interiors of this complex is beautified using up to 200 stained glass windows, chandeliers, having ostrich eggs and crystal balls. There are also inscription on walls including verses from the holy Quran.

Galata Tower
Galata Tower

An ideal way to get a panoramic view of this old city is to visit Galata Tower. Earlier known as the Tower of Christ, the upper part of this complex has been transformed into a restaurant from where visitors can enjoy the entire view of the city while relish their food. Lastly, travellers can pay a visit to Aspendos, which is one of the ancient theatres of this place. This best preserved theatre has become a heritage of this country. It was built in AD 155 under the reign of Roman Emperor, Marcus Aurelius. More than 20,000 spectators were easily accommodated in this theatre at a time.

 

Shopping

From modern to ancient antiquities, all can be brought from this place. Travellers can buy spices, artistic kilims or carpets, leather goods and earthenware from shops over here. The Grand Bazaar is one of the famous market, which comprises around 4,000 shops. Be it jewellery or fine artistry, everything can be found in these shops. In addition, the flea market in Beyazit Square and the Egyptian Bazaar are also worth visiting. All these tourist attractions and the lively lifestyle makes this country a favourite among travellers.