In August I went to Turkey for the first time. I wrote this while preparing for my trip . . .
I am so excited for my trip to Turkey! It will be my first time visiting the home country of my husband, as well as meeting his extended family. Besides the obvious reasons to be excited (meeting new people and visiting a country I’ve never been to before) there are a few other things I am especially looking forward to: the food, the culture, and the site-seeing!
While we will be spending some of our two-and-a-half weeks there with my husband’s family, we are also planning to play the role of tourists and see the sites. But there is so much to see in Turkey! Where to start . . .
Istanbul is on the top of our list, which is convenient because it is where we will fly in and out from. It is in the northern part of Turkey, about an hour and a half from my husband’s family.
Founded in the 7th century BC, Istanbul has a lot to offer — especially for those interested in history.
Fun Facts About Istanbul:
~ It’s the only city on two continents (Europe and Asia)
~ Throughout history it has been the capital of four different Empires: the Roman, Byzantine, Latin, and Ottoman.
~ It contains both the incredible Blue Mosque and Hagia Sophia
~ In 2010 it was named the European Capital of Culture
~ The home of Topkapi Palace, the largest and oldest palace in the world
Besides Istanbul, there is a plethora of other interesting and historically rich places to visit in Turkey. Turkey has been at the crossroads of civilizations since ancient times, and thus holds many ancient treasures. Some such treasures include the ruins of the ancient city of Ephesus, the cave dwellings in Goreme National Park of Cappadocia, and the Sumela Monastery in Northeastern Turkey. A friend told me you can ride hot air balloons in Cappadocia . . . though I’m not sure if we’ll make it over to that region since it is more in the central part of Turkey. In northwestern Turkey you can find the ancient city of Troy, made famous by the ancient Greek author Homer in his book the Illiad. You can even see a replica of the Trojan horse, which is the actual model built for the movie “Troy.”
For those interested in natural wonders, there are plenty to be seen. In the southwestern region of Turkey, you can find the ancient Pamukkale mineral hot springs, which are believed by seem to have healing properties. The view of them is amazing in pictures so I’m sure it would look really awesome in person; they have formed white steps or shelves due to the calcium deposits from the water.
Mount Ararat can be found in eastern Turkey. If it sounds familiar, it should– this is the famed mountain where it is believed that Noah’s ark landed after the great flood. In recent history, there have been many expeditions into the mountain range here to attempt to find the ark.
Though there are too many places to see in Turkey to list them all here, one more interesting one to mention is Patara. This is the birthplace of the real St. Nicholas– from whom the legendary Santa Claus is based. There are plenty of tourist attractions in Patara and the nearby city of Myra, where St. Nicholas was a Bishop.
My trip is fast approaching and I get more excited every day! I’ll have to share all about our trip when I come back. Who knows what adventures we might have!