The Top 10 Sights of Turkey

Travel to Turkey completely without tourist traps! Here you will find a list of the top 10 sights in Turkey! Which highlights and attractions should you not miss on your holiday in Turkey?

Turkey is a popular holiday destination known for its wonderful sandy beaches and the lively nightlife in Bodrum, Antalya and Kemer. But Turkey also offers a bit of architecture with fantastic mosques, a bit of archaeology with ancient sites and a piece of breathtaking scenery with the limestone terraces of Pamukkale.



The beautiful snow-white terraces of Pamukkale were already heavily polluted by mass tourism and hotel sewage, but today they shine again in their old splendour, Turkey - © In Green / Shutterstock
© In Green / Shutterstock

Pamukkale lives up to its name "cotton fortress". In addition to numerous ruins from ancient times, it is above all the off-white limestone terraces that attract Turkish holidaymakers to the small town in the southwest of the country. The pools, shimmering in a rich blue-white colour, were created in a completely natural way and offer an unforgettable sight, especially at sunset.

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Hagia Sophia in Istanbul

In 1453, Sultan Mehmed II conquered Constantinople. Constantinople and had his soldiers loot it for three days - the Church of St. Sophia became the Muslim Hagia Sophia, Turkey - © Maksym Gorpenyuk / Shutterstock
© Maksym Gorpenyuk / Shutterstock

In the former Constantinople, the Hagia Sophia was once a Christian church. Thanks to its massive architecture with its seemingly free-floating dome, it was even called the eighth wonder of the world.

When the Ottomans conquered, the crosses and holy images were destroyed and the now famous mosque with its four towering minarets was built. Today, the imposing magnificent building is a museum, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and still one of the most impressive buildings of late antiquity.

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Blue Mosque in Istanbul

The night-time illumination makes it clear why the Sultan Ahmed Mosque in Istanbul is also called the "Blue Mosque", Turkey - © Luciano Mortula / Shutterstock
© Luciano Mortula / Shutterstock

After the Hagia Sophia was converted into a museum, the title of Istanbul's main mosque went to the Sultan Ahmed Mosque just across the street. Also known as the Blue Mosque, the building is notable for its six slender minarets, which were criticised as an arrogance towards Mecca when it was built.

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The ruined city of Ephesus near the west coast of Turkey was one of the most important Greek cities in Asia Minor in antiquity, with a population of around 200,000 - © Silke Stenger / Fotolia
© Silke Stenger / Fotolia

Ephesus in western Turkey was once one of the most important port cities of the Roman Empire. Already in antiquity, it was one of the largest cities in Asia Minor, with a population of around 200,000. Among the imposing ruins, the most impressive is the Temple of Artemis, which is one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.

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Selimiye Mosque in Edirne

The Selimiye Mosque in Edirne, Turkey, is spectacularly staged at night - © Mehmet Cetin / Shutterstock
© Mehmet Cetin / Shutterstock

The third of the most beautiful and famous mosques in Turkey is the Selimiye Mosque in Edirne. A masterpiece by the architect Sinan, it is considered the pinnacle of Ottoman architecture. In the 16th century, an incomparable composition of round arches, domes, stained glass windows, ornaments and marble works of art was created in the former capital. The Selimiye Mosque is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and may also be entered by non-Muslims.

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Ruins in the ancient city of Aphrodisias which takes its name from Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of love, Turkey - © roggui / Fotolia
© roggui / Fotolia

The city of Aphrodisias on the southern Aegean Sea is also a greeting from antiquity worth seeing. The ruins are amazingly well preserved to this day and are known above all for their sculptural and architectural works of art. The best-preserved stadium of antiquity with a gigantic capacity of 30,000 spectators can also be found in Aphrodisias.

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Karatepe Fortress

Karatepe is a Hittite fortress in southern Turkey and was the site of a bilingual inscription in Phoenician and hieroglyphic Luwish, Turkey - © bumihills / Shutterstock
© bumihills / Shutterstock

The Karatepe fortress was built by the Hittites in the 8th century BC. The fortress owes its importance above all to the discovery of a bilingual script, which suddenly made it possible to decipher all the Hittite hieroglyphics found so far. Today, an open-air museum shows the remains of the once important hill fort.

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St. Peter's Castle in Bodrum

The Bodrum Kalesi or St. Peter's Fort in evening illumination is the landmark and one of the main sights of the Turkish coastal town of Bodrum - © EvrenKalinbacak / Fotolia
© EvrenKalinbacak / Fotolia

Bodrum is mainly known as a bathing and party town, but it also has a historical jewel in store. The so-called "Bodrum Kalesi" with its awe-inspiring walls and defence towers up to almost 50m high was built by the Crusaders in the 15th century. Its medieval rooms now house a world-famous museum of underwater archaeology, where an ancient wreck can even be entered.

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Museum of Anatolian Civilisation in Ankara

Relief of a hunting scene in the Museum of Anatolian Civilisation, Ankara, Turkey - © zebra0209 / Shutterstock
© zebra0209 / Shutterstock

The Museum of Anatolian Civilisation in Ankara is one of the richest museums in the world. Its archaeological treasures date back to the Palaeolithic period and come from the Hittites, Urartians and Phrygians, among others. From 2-million-year-old stone tools to 5th-century ivory carvings, their past culture can be traced.

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Excavation site of Troy

Ruins of the excavation site of Troy, which lies about 35 km south of today's Çanakkale, Turkey - © turkishblue / Shutterstock
© turkishblue / Shutterstock

Did it exist, did it not exist? The existence of the legendary city of Troy, the world-famous setting of the Trojan War from Homer's stories, is still disputed today. Supposedly, the excavation site of Troy is located on the west coast of Turkey, a little south of Çanakkale. There is not much to see there apart from some low walls, but walking on the ground where so many brave heroes (are said to) have shed their blood is an indescribable experience for visitors.

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