Incredible Turkey … the destination at the intersection between East and West influences. With its knobbly-topped rock cliffs speckled with cave dwellings, walking through Zelve Open-Air Museum is an experience of the Cappadocia of old. The settlement began life as a monastery in the 9th century, and by the 20th century was a thriving village. Due to erosion and rockfall dangers, the village had to be abandoned in 1952. Now the entire valley is a museum. There are a couple of interesting chapels to see — the Uzumlu Kilise (Grape Church) being the most intact — and a rather picturesque rock-cut mosque. But the real joy of this site is meandering down the cliffside paths, exploring the fire-blackened interiors of the cave dwellings, and staring out at the magnificent vistas over the surrounding countryside.
At 14 kilometers (9 miles), Patara is one of the longest stretches of sandy beach found anywhere in the Mediterranean. The beach is backed only by ancient Lycian and Roman ruins and swooping dunes with no buildings visible except of a small cafe. Patara Beach is also the breeding ground of the endangered Loggerhead turtle. The nearby village of Patara was the birthplace of St Nicholas, the 4th-century Byzantine bishop who later passed into legend as Santa Claus.
With its stunning, lonely setting, built into a cliff face, Sumela Monastery (Monastery of the Virgin Mary) is the star attraction for visitors along the Black Sea Coast. Wandering around this abandoned religious complex, with its church interiors crammed with dazzling and vibrant frescoes, is a must for anyone who makes the long journey to Turkey’s northeast region. The monastery first opened during the Byzantine era and was only closed in 1923. Today, wandering its empty cells, it’s easy to imagine the isolated lives of the monks who once lived here.
A key entry on any list of major tourist attractions in Turkey, the picturesque sight of the Blue Mosque will impress even the hardiest sightseer. Built by the young sultan Ahmet I, the Blue Mosque was designed to rival its neighbour the Hagia Sophia and, with its hierarchy of increasingly large domes, this vast complex helped define Istanbul’s skyline. The interior is just as grand and includes swathes of blue tiles which give this magnificent building its name.
Immerse yourself in fantasy and uncover Cappadocia treasures, be captivated on a Cappadocia Hot Air Balloon ride, see the honeycombed hills, distinctive chimneys and tall cone-shaped rocks that are clustered in the Monks Valley. Cappadocia tours are one of the many highlights when visiting this region of Turkey. A great way to see all of the beautiful valleys that lie between the stunning Goreme and charming Cavusin is on any Cappadocia Turkey tours. Read more about Cappadocia hot air balloon ride.
Travelers who love to shop shouldn’t miss out on a visit to the Grand Bazaar, with 5,000 shops making it one of the largest indoor marketplaces in the world. Receiving more than a quarter-million visitors a day, the bazaar features such items as jewelry, carpets that may or may not fly, spices, antiques and hand-painted ceramics. The bazaar dates back to 1461 and today is home to two mosques, four fountains, two hammams or steam baths, and the Cevahir Bedesten, where the rarest and most valuable items have been found traditionally. Here is where shoppers will find old coins, jewelry with precious gems, inlaid weapons and antique furniture.