Turkey’s Most Popular Historical Treasures

Anatolian geography has been an important transition and life point for humanity in every period of history. Turkey, where the traces of different civilizations are located, has many historical places, ancient cities and banners. We chose 10 of the many beautiful historical treasures in a fertile geography like Anatolia. Take a look at some of the most beautiful historical sites, many of them on the UNESCO World Heritage List.

1. Historical Peninsula of Istanbul

Historic Peninsula of Istanbul

Historic Peninsula of Istanbul

 

Istanbul, which brings together two continents and is admired by the whole world, has been in the UNESCO World Heritage List since 1985, with the file “Historic Areas of Istanbul“. The first spots that come to mind are Yerebatan Cistern, Hagia Sophia, Blue Mosque, Topkapi Palace, and Obelisk. It is a great chance to be able to reach many of the places on the historical peninsula within walking distance.

 

2. Cappadocia

Night View of Cappadocia

Night View of Cappadocia

 

Cappadocia, one of the important junctions of the Silk Road, is at the top of the places to be seen in Turkey. Cappadocia, one of the top-of-the-world paradises that nature presents to humanity, is known for its fairy chimneys. In addition to luxury hotels, the area where carving, cave-like houses, pensions and hotels are located attracts foreign tourists. Cappadocia, an important center of thought and education in the early periods of Christianity, traces thousands of years of civilization.

 

3. Mount Nemrut

Sunrise at Mount Nemrut

Sunrise at Mount Nemrut

 

Mount Nemrut, which is located on the borders of Adiyaman, together with the tumuli and sanctuaries belonging to King Antiochos of Kommagene bring into being the National Park. This area, which has been on the UNESCO List since 1987, is particularly crowded with visitors at sunrise and sunset. In 62 BC, King Antiochus Theos built his tomb temple along the top of Mount Nemrut, as well as the sculptures of many Greek and Persian gods. Mount Nemrut is one of the most important tourist destinations of Turkey, with the world’s first horoscope and altar of fire.

 

4. Safranbolu

Safranbolu Houses

 

Safranbolu, known for its houses reflecting historical Ottoman architecture like Beypazarı, Goynuk, Odunpazarı, is a town of Karabuk. The name Safranbolu that enters the UNESCO World List with its houses comes from the saffron plant. The city reflects the view of a vast museum which makes it one of the most important cultural and historical centers of the region with a history of about 3,000 years. Having a large number of historical fountains, caravanserais, hammams, mansions, bridges, mosques and shrines, it is prominent in cultural tourism in recent years.

 

5. Sumela Monastery

Sumela Monastery

Sumela Monastery

 

The Sumela Monastery, located in the Macka district of Trabzon, consists of an ancient Greek Orthodox monastery and church complex. The building, which was built in Cappadocia churches style, which is frequent in Anatolia, was built at an elevation of 1,150 m above sea level and is quite magnificent. Gaining attraction by the frescoes and figures on its walls, the monastery is open to the public as a museum under the supervision of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism. The monastery, which was worshiped in some days as Orthodox holy, is among the most impressive buildings of the Eastern Black Sea.

 

6. Ephesus Antique City

Ephesus Antique City

 

The ancient city of Ephesus, one of the 12 cities of Ionia, is located on the borders of Selcuk county of Izmir. The history of Ephesus, which has the most advanced economic and architectural structures of its period, bearing the traces of different civilizations, dates back to 6000 BC. The ancient city of Ephesus was included in the UNESCO Temporary List of World Heritage in 1994. The city registered as a World Heritage in 2015 has many buildings that are regarded as sacred by Christians. Among the places to visit around Izmir, the city continues to feel the history of making an important landmark like the Temple of Artemis, Celsus Library, Virgin Mary’s House, Ashab-i Kehf (Seven Sleepers) Cave.

 

7. Ancient Cities of Xanthos and Letoon

Letoon

Letoon

 

Xanthos, located near Fethiye, is known as the capital of Lycia in Antiquity. Remains dating back to the 8th century BC revealed that the city was an important cultural and political center of its time. Letoon, where the settlement traces traveled to the 7th century BC, is based on a story told by Poet Ovidius, which was built in the name of Leto, who became pregnant with Zeus. The Letoon city, which was mostly used as a religious center, was abandoned in the 7th century AD.

 

8. Hattusa (Hattushash)

hattusa

 

Hattusa, located in the town of Bogazkale in Corum, is known as the capital of the Hittite State. The city is an important center that can be witnessed to Anatolian Civilizations. Five cultural monuments have been discovered in Hattusha, where the settlement has been seen since 3,000 BC. The recent excavations reached the great Hittite archives. Hattushash, which is known as a thousand god city in its period, once became a political, religious and cultural center.

 

9. Great Mosque and Hospital of Divrigi

Great Mosque and Hospital of Divrigi

 

Mosque and Hospital of Divrigi, the architectural structure UNESCO first accepted to the world heritage list from Turkey, was built by Ahmed Shah in 1229. With respect to Great Mosque and Hospital of Divrigi which is the most well known architectural structure of Sivas, Evliya Celebi, a famous Ottoman explorer, commented as “The architect engraved the marble so laborously,  embroidered the doors and walls with such a chameleon act that the language to express is incompetent, the pen is broken”.

 

10. Pamukkale

Travertines of Pamukkale

Travertines of Pamukkale

 

Located in Denizli, Pamukkale is in the UNESCO World Heritage List along with Hierapolis Ancient City. The story that St. Philip was killed in Pamukkale by the apostles of Jesus Christ increases the interest of Christians. Pamukkale is one of Turkey’s most well-known natural wonders. Think of a cotton-like hill formed by calcification and little spring water ponds everywhere. Travertines of Pamukkale, seen even at 20 km distance, is an important attraction center with healing underground waters.


Anatolian lands, which have hosted different civilizations throughout history, bear the traces of life of many civilizations. The most beautiful historical treasures in Turkey are not limited to this list. Nice beautiful geographies like Mardin, Assos, Hasankeyf and other historical heritages can be added. Let us know in the comments if you want to recommend more destinations.

 

Turkey’s Most Popular Historical Treasures
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