Imagine a striking landscape of graceful minarets set amidst ancient cities. A living museum of breathtaking monuments, honeysuckle-covered temples and the weatherworn sculptures of four thousand years of history. An unspoiled world of golden beaches and emerald grasslands. Where the sweet scent of pine forests rises above the roar of hidden waterfalls. Imagine experiencing all this in one holiday. You can in Turkey. You are to experience and let imagination run wild.
ISTANBUL: The glittering jewel of Asia Minor, the city gateway between continents that sits astride the most historic water channel in the world. Istanbul, formerly Constantinople, has been host to three great empires: The Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman. Invaded, besieged and conquered by countless armies and earthquakes, Istanbul today, remains a city of sparkling domes and minarets, beautiful palaces and modern shopping malls. A short walk from your hotel door will lead to cobbled streets that lead back into history or, into the very heart of a modern and cosmopolitan city that separates Europe and Asia.
ANKARA: The capital of Turkey and situated in the historic grasslands of central Anatolia. The city dates back 3,500 years to the Hittite Empire and contains the magnificent mausoleum of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the founder of the modern Republic of Turkey.
ALANYA: Known as the “Pearl of the Turkish Mediterranean” is dominated by a massive Seljuk fortress from the 13th century. It is a favourable tourist destination because of its immaculate sandy beaches and good hotels.
BURSA: One of the capitals of the Ottoman Empire, Bursa is a booming industrial city today. Don’t be put off though, the city boasts many tree lined avenues, parks and gardens and beautiful surrounding countryside.
IZNIK: The small city with an immense history, dating as far back as 1000 B.C. when it was given the name Nicaea by a general of Alexander the Great. In 325 Constantine convened the first Ecumenical Council here and Christians around the world continue to adhere to this Nicean Creed.
IZMIR: The birthplace of Homer and the world of classical literature. Today Izmir is the main port in Western Turkey with palm-trees lining every boulevard, modern shopping centers and top-class hotels. A modern 20th century gateway to the most important historical sites of Western Anatolia.
KAYSERI: Situated in the heart of Cappadocia, beneath the volcano that spewed out the lava millions of years ago which produced the fantastic ‘moonscape’ of Fairy Chimneys, cones and capped-pinnacle?
SIDE: The ideal holiday resort. A small town of pretty buildings, sandy beaches and historical interest. The modern town of today exists in perfect harmony with the ancient and classical remains of the past.
ASPENDOS: The best preserved Roman theatre in the world. Built in the 2nd century A.D., it is still used for dramatic productions during the Antalya Festival in September.
PERGE: Located 15km (9 miles) east of Antalya, Perge boasts extensively early Hellenistic ruins including a well preserved Stadium.
TERMESSOS: Another site of spectacular ruins. Once a remote mountain stronghold occupied by an Anatolian tribe who were so fierce that even Alexander the Great was unable to displace them. KONYA: Recognizeded as one of the world’s oldest cities, and the place where Mevlana, the mystic poet of the 13th century, founded the sect of the Whirling Dervishes.
ANTALYA: Considered to be the Riviera of Turkey because of its spectacular location between the Taurus Mountains and the sparkling Mediterranean. A brilliant jewel surrounded by Termessus, Side, and Aspendos, the ancient cities of history and legend.
APHRODISIAS: An open museum containing some of the best-preserved monuments, temples and ruins in Turkey. In Aphrodisias you can literally trip over history, chancing upon classical sculptures half buried beside paths, hidden by wild flowers in fields or lying in roadway ditches.
CAPPADOCIA: A moonscape of rock carved cities and surrealistic shapes, where nature has scoured and sculpted the earth into cones, capped pinnacles and fretted ravines. For a thousand years, persecuted Christians dug secret underground cities and left a remarkable legacy of Byzantine frescoes in hidden caves.
EDIRNE: The Roman gateway to Byzantium and Asia Minor. Founded as Hadrianopolis by the Emperor Hadrian in 125 A.D. it served as a principle outpost of defense by the Byzantine Empire until it was defeated by the Ottomans in 1363.
GALLIPOLI: The site of the British /Australian and New Zealand landing in April 1915 which ended nine months later in total failure and horrendous loss of life.
EPHESUS: Considered to be finest classical city in Turkey. Although populated as long ago as the 12th century B.C., Ephesus reached its historical zenith as the capital of the Roman province of Asia.
PAMUKKALE: The site of ancient Hierapolis and famous for its invigorating spa where calcareous hot springs, falling tens of meters, have created spectacular white terraces and basins.
SARDIS: The capital city of the ancient Kingdom of the Lydians, where the minted coin was first invented at the end of 7th century B.C.
PERGAMON: Imagine what a classical city should look like and you have imagined the real Pergamon. Perched upon a hill overlooking the Bergama Plain, this exquisite city was once the cultural centre of the Aegean during 200 B.C. The Pergamon Library once contained over 200,000 books but achieved a unique place in history as the birthplace of parchment, an early form of writing paper.
MILETUS: By the 6th century B.C. this antique city had become one of the most formidable powers in the whole of Ionia, and the home of a number of famous philosophers, including Thales, and Anaximander.
PRIENE: As one of the twelve cities of the Ionian League, Priene was, with its symmetrical street plan, beautiful buildings and public amenities, one of the most perfect cities of classical times.
DIDYMA: Didyma was never a city but a sanctuary to the God Apollo. Alexander the Great is thought to have visited this site and legend has it that the spring of the oracle which had dried up under Persian control began to flow once again.
TROY: Homer’s Troy, and the site of King Priam’s Treasures. Probably the most famous city of classical times – who doesn’t know the story of the Trojan Horse. The city itself is actually nine cities built over different eras and superimposed one upon the other.