On the territory of Turkey, the first settlements appeared 10 000 years ago. 26 civilizations have lived there since then. Among them are the Persians, ancient Macedonians, Byzantines, and Ottomans. We has prepared for you a few tips on what to visit, what to eat and what is better not to do in Turkey.
Visit St. Sophia’s Cathedral, or Hagia Sophia, in Istanbul which was founded in the VI century. This temple has been an Orthodox church for thousands of years. After the fall of Constantinople, the cathedral became a mosque, and since 1934 it has had the status of a museum. The symbol of Turkey, the Blue Mosque in Istanbul, was built in XVII century. The Blue Mosque is primarily a place of worship, so don’t forget the tradition of taking off your shoes, and women are also strongly/strictly advised to cover their heads. We’ll tell you later about the carpets that you can buy in Turkey, but so far don’t forget that in the Blue Mosque there is also a museum of carpets. In 62 BC, King Antiochus I Theos ordered the construction of a tomb with huge sculptures of himself, lions, eagles and Greek and Persian deities. At the moment, only the heads of the sculptures that are on Mount Nermouth have been saved.
Hieropolis, an ancient city built in the 2 century BC, was once completely destroyed by an earthquake, then rebuilt, then destroyed again in the XVI century and again by an earthquake, and in the XIX century excavations began in Hieropolis. They have not finished yet. If you like medieval castles go to Bodrum where St. Peter’s Castle is located. It is considered one of the most preserved medieval castles existing nowadays. A museum of underwater archeology is situated here too. In Turkey you can also feel like a Roman. Only without toga, though. One of the most well-preserved Roman cities of Ephesus is in a modern Turkish city of Selcuk. You will need at least half a day to go sightseeing there it without haste.
Cappadocia is a rocky region in central Turkey where you can go skiing and ballooning, visit the underground city of Derinkuyu and Ihlara Canyon. If you are looking for quiet beaches with blue water, go to Olu Deniz on the Aegean Sea shore which is considered the most trendy place on the coast for taking photos. Pamukkale is something difficult to acknowledge from the geological point of view. After the phrase “travertine terraces” it already becomes difficult to read any reference book. Therefore, just have a look at the photos and take your swimsuits with you as you can not only walk, but also swim there. In the city of Patara you will find sand dunes and no sight of buildings. Turkey is washed by four seas, and the swimming season there is quite logical for us: from May to September. We advice you to swim in the Mediterranean or the Aegean Sea as the water and air temperature is higher there. After all, there is still the Black Sea in Odessa.
If you are going not to the beach but rather to see the sights, choose the beginning of autumn or spring. The winter in Turkey is cold in any case: about 5°C in Istanbul and 0°C in Ankara. Nevertheless, you can always go to Izmir where the temperature is 16 °C in winter.
Food is a part of a traveler’s experience and we advise you to try köft (small cutlets), imam bayaldi (zucchini with onions and tomatoes), hünkar béendi (meat with eggplant puree), bulb soup (dessert of eggs, milk, and flour) and baklava. It is interesting to know, that in the Turkish cuisine meat serves as a side dish for vegetables and not vice versa as we are accustomed to.
Turkey is known for the production of relatively cheap leather jackets, bags, belts and anything else that only fits. Also fur coats. Warm Turkey produces natural fur coats. Go to Turkey for accessories from semiprecious metals and blue pearls or for copper samovars. And also for plates, pots and trays. Carpets. Buy the Turkish carpets where, unlike the Persian ones, there are geometric figures instead of flowers, animals or people. It is necessary to put something on your carpet, so in Turkey they also produce porcelain vases, mini-vases, sculptures, plates and so on. And textile. You have never heard from your friends: “She will go to Turkey, buy some cloth and make me a dress.” So go yourself to Turkey for impressions and textile as well. And let the seamstress do her work herself.
We are the Slavs, so it’s hard to believe but in Turkey there is a different attitude to clients and tourists. If not to deepen into abstract detail let’s say that you do not have to pay for coffee or tea in the store. All the rest, of course, is at your discretion: accept or not to accept attention signs. Keep in mind, please, that there have been cases when a man approached a foreigner in the street, got acquainted with him and offered to have a drink. There was something in the drink that made the tourist fall asleep for several hours, and wake up without money. Such cases happen everywhere, so just do not be too naive.
A bit of unpleasant data
Since July 20, 2016, a state of emergency has been introduced in the country. Now freedom of movement restrictions or access to certain territories are possible. You should avoid the territories bordering Syria and Iraq, as well as the whole southeast, because the situation there is quite unsafe. Nevertheless, access to many of the dangerous areas is simply closed for tourists. If you wish, you can always check which territories are undesirable for visiting on the website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of your country or on the following website.
And again good news
You don’t need any additional vaccinations arriving in Turkey. Tap water in Turkey is considered not very suitable for drinking, so it is better to buy water in shops.
The main phrases in Turkish:
- Hello! – Merhaba
- Can l use the Internet? – Internet’e baglanabilir miyim?
- How much…? – …ne kadar?
- I don’t understand. – Analamiyorum
- Yes – Evet
- No – Hayir
- Thank you. – Sagol(sagolun)
- Take me to this address, pleas. – Beni bu adrese goturun, lutfen.
- Where is the bank? – Banka nerede?
- I need a doctor. – Doktora ihtiyacim var.
- Help! – Imdat!
- I got lost. – Kayboldum.
- I need the city map. – Sehir plani istiyorum.
- I would like this.. – Bunu istiyorum.
Do you need a visa? Check here.