Fabulous Turkey … the location at the intersection between East and West influences. The Basilica Cistern is one of Istanbul’s most surprising tourist attractions. This huge, palace-like underground hall, supported by 336 columns in 12 rows, once stored the imperial water supply for the Byzantine emperors. The project was begun by Constantine the Great but finished by Emperor Justinian in the 6th century. Many of the columns used in construction were recycled from earlier classical structures and feature decorative carvings. The most famous of these are the column bases known as the Medusa stones in the northwest corner with their Medusa head carvings. A visit here is very atmospheric with the columns beautifully lit and the soft, steady trickle of water all around you.
Located in Istanbul, the Hagia Sophia was originally a basilica constructed for the Eastern Roman Emperor Justinian I in the sixth century. A masterwork of Roman engineering, the massive dome (31 meters or 102 feet in diameter) covers what was for over 1000 years the largest enclosed space in the world. The church was looted by the fourth Crusaders in 1204, and became a mosque in the 15th century when The Ottomans conquered the city. The Hagia Sophia was converted into a museum in 1935 and is now one of the top attractions in Turkey.
Turkey’s Mediterranean coastline has ruins galore and bags of things to do, but for many people, it’s all about soaking up the sun while enjoying the gorgeous coastal views. Cruising on a yacht is the number one activity for visitors to Bodrum and Fethiye for good reason. The steep forest-clad slopes, hidden coves sporting tiny white sand beaches, and hundreds of scattered islands are the perfect place for exploring by sea. Even diehard landlubbers will be impressed. One of the most famous trips is known as the “Blue Cruise” and travels from Fethiye south down the coast until disembarking near Olympus, home to the famous natural phenomenon of the Chimaera.
Probably the most famous tourist attraction in Turkey, the Hagia Sophia is one of the best preserved ancient buildings in the world. Built in the sixth century AD by the Byzantine Emperor Justinian, the building was converted to a mosque with the Turkish conquest and today operates as a museum. With its remarkable architecture and beautiful mix of Byzantine and Muslim adornment, the Hagia Sophia remains among the most popular sights in Turkey. Visitors can view remnants of the first two Hagias Sophias as well as touring the current building with its stunning mosaics and ornate Muslim altars and chapels. Outside, cannonballs used by Mehmet the Conqueror during his invasion of the city line the paths and there is an eighteenth century fountain for ritual ablutions.
Istanbul’s location has attracted many armies over the centuries including the Greeks, Romans, and the Venetians before Ottomans time. Turkey’s past is incredible, the world’s oldest city was discovered here, at Çatalhöyük ageing it at (7500 BC). Turkey is a modern secular and Western-oriented country with a dynamic economy. The heart of ancient Greek culture is in Turkey, including cities such as Troy, Pergamon, Ephesus, Miletus, and Halicarnassus. Read more about Istanbul private tours.
One of the most important museums in Turkey, the Istanbul Archaeological Museum is actually three museums: the Archaeological Museum, the Ancient Orient Museum and the Tiled Kiosk Museum. The three museums combined contain more than 1 million objects from civilizations around the world. Founded in 1891, it was the first Turkish museum, and was located on the Topkapi Palace grounds. The Tiled Kiosk dates back to 1472. The museums contain thousands of precious artifacts, including the sarcophagus of Alexander the Great.