Of the many blessings Turkey enjoys, the beaches of Fethiye may be at the top.
Stretching east of Istanbul all the way to the Georgian border and hemmed in by the looming peaks of the Kaçkar Mountain range, Turkey’s Black Sea Coast is home to some of the country’s most unspoiled landscapes. A world away from the white sands and busy resorts of the Mediterranean coast, the Black Sea region still remains largely undiscovered by tourists but those venturing off the beaten track will find plenty to keep them busy.
We caught up with local tour guide, Hakan, to learn more about Ephesus and the surrounding area. Read on to learn what to see and do, and where to go if you want to experience the ancient Turkish way of life.
Because of Turkey’s location and history of playing home to many ancient civilizations, it’s known as part of the Cradle of Culture. While Istanbul is full of ancient attractions — for example, the Hagia Sophia, Topkapı Palace, The Basilica Cistern and Rumeli Fortress — it only paints part of the picture. To further explore Turkey’s rich history, you’ll need to explore other parts of the country, for example, Ephesus.
The Gulf of Fethiye, also known as the Gulf of Telmessos, is one of Turkey’s most popular areas for yachting and tourism. Hemmed in to the west by the Kurdoğlu cape, and on the east by Cape Angistro, the Gulf encompasses an abundance of coves and islets in an area known in ancient times as Lycia.
Ankara’s lofty Citadel (‘Hisar’ or ‘Kale’ in Turkish) can be seen from almost anywhere in the city. Perched atop a hill in the heart of the Turkish capital, it is one of the most recognizable symbols of Ankara. But a visit to this iconic citadel is about much more than just seeing the imposing fortress itself. Inside you’ll find the ancient foundations of Ankara, which may date back to Hittite times some 3,000 years ago, which provide a glimpse of what ancient Turkey might have looked like.
The Taurus mountains run the length of Turkey’s Mediterranean coast, forming the southern border of the Anatolian plateau and stretching for close to 1,250 miles from Egridir Lake in the west to the upper side of the Euphrates River near the Syrian border. Fed by rich minerals in the Taurus’ many streams, rare species of plants and animals have sprung up throughout the range, providing the perfect natural environment for jeep safaris through the Taurus Mountains, hiking, mountain climbing, horse riding and camping.
Modern Bodrum is situated on the site of what was once Halicarnassus, one of the great cities of antiquity, famous for the tomb of Mausolus, one of the seven wonders of the ancient world. Today, little of this once illustrious metropolis remains, but of those structures that do, the Bodrum Amphitheater is one of the best preserved.
Chances you’ll have at least a day to explore the wider area around Izmir, and in this case there are a number of nearby sites far more interesting than what Izmir itself has to offer in terms of archeological remains. For shore excursions from Izmir, considering the following.
Ancient Smyrna, or ‘Izmir’ as it is known in the modern world, has more than 4,000 years of history, with archaeological remains from the Trojans, Hittites, Lydians, Greeks, Roman and Ottomans all represented here. With so many civilizations leaving their mark throughout the city’s history, it should be fairly obvious that the Aegean coast on which the city sits was quite important to the ancient world.