Extraordinary Turkey … the location at the middle between East and West cultures. For many visitors, going for an early morning hot air balloon ride in Cappadocia is one of Turkey’s highlights. In high season, over 100 hot air balloons take to the skies just after sunrise and give you bird’s-eye views of the valleys and their rock formations. Hot air balloon rides take around one hour (with deluxe packages lasting around 90 minutes) and are available year-round, weather permitting. All tours include pickup and drop-off from your hotel.
The ruins of Ephesus are a popular tourist attraction on the west coast. The city of Ephesus was once famed for the Temple of Artemis, one of the seven wonders of the ancient world, which was destroyed by a mob led by the archbishop of Constantinople in 401 AD. Some of the structures can still be seen however including the Great Theater and the Library of Celsus. The library was built around 125 AD to store 12,000 scrolls and to serve as a monumental tomb for Celsus, the governor of Asia. The facade was carefully reconstructed in the 1970s to its present splendid state from the original pieces.
One of Turkey’s most famous natural wonders, the pure white travertine terraces of Pamukkale (“Cotton Castle” in English) cascade down the slope looking like an out-of-place snowfield amid the green landscape. Although the travertines are themselves a highlight of a Turkey trip, the vast and rambling ruins of Roman Hierapolis, an ancient spa town, lie on the top of this calcite hill, providing another reason to visit. For the best photographs, come at dusk when the travertines glow as the sun sinks below the horizon.
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.
A Cappadocia balloon ride is a fantastic way to explore the rolling stone and rippling of the cliffs with their green landscape that was formed by the volcanic eruptions, the vegetable plots and vineyards that are tended to by the local farmers. Many tours of Cappadocia will show you the hermit hideouts carved into the soft volcanic rock. Extra details about Cappadocia hot air balloon ride.
The Blue Mosque, built in the early 17th century, remains an active house of worship today. This means visitors need to time their visits carefully, as the mosque is closed to sightseers during the five daily prayer times for Muslims. All visitors must remove their shoes and women must cover their hair. This is a small price to pay for seeing its priceless treasures that include 20,000 ceramic tiles in various tulip designs and 200 stained glass windows, all with intricate designs. The mosque, built by Sultan Ahmet, takes its name from the blue tiles on the dome and the upper levels of the interior.