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An update from Evaneos

Best places to visit in Turkey

A huge country on the borders of Europe, Turkey is the door to the East; it is a fascinating country of ancient cultures. The centre of the Ottoman Empire, it was proclaimed a republic in 1923 and Atatürk, its first president, guided the country towards secularity and growth. In 2002, the moderate Islamic party Justice and Development Party (AK) obtained the majority vote in parliament and pursued the economic development of the country.

Travelling in Turkey presents no major risks. However, given the events on the Syrian border, you should make enquiries at the Foreign Office in London, especially if you wish to visit the Eastern Anatolia Region or the Southeastern Anatolia Region. These regions are home to very beautiful cities that have a wealth of cultural heritage, such as Gaziantep and Sanliurfa, and let's not forget Ishak Pasha Palace and Lake Van.

Above all, don't leave Turkey before exploring the wonders of Istanbul. Take the time to soak up the exuberant, warm atmosphere of the megalopolis. Discover Taksim Square—a popular venue for protests—and then visit the Hagia Sophia, the Blue Mosque (Sultan Ahmed Cami Mosque), and the Topkapi Palace. Go and have tea on the Galata Bridge and cross the Bosphorus on one of the many steamers to reach the eastern coast. From there, you can easily enjoy the beaches along the Black Sea on the country's northern coastline; they are very popular with the region's inhabitants.

Situated inland, the capital city of Ankara holds little interest for tourists if it is not on their way to Cappadocia, where you can find "fairy chimneys" or hoodoos and other cave churches in the Göreme National Park.

Still on the huge plateau, explore Konya, the country's most conservative city. Plan to arrive on Saturday to enjoy the Mevlevi Order's ceremony: the whirling dervishes. When you set off again, visit the underground towns and the very pretty Ihlara Valley with its cave churches at the back of a canyon.

Make the most of the mild climate by the Mediterranean Sea to walk along the Lycian coast and explore magnificent towns like Demre or Izmir. Visit Nemrut Dağı, where the last Hellenistic king ordered a temple built, or Ephesus, unless you prefer a less-frequented site like Pergamon. Don't forget the region's natural wonders either, especially the magnificent Pamukkale.

Gaëtan MOLENE
Yedigöller is a National Park north of Bolu, in the Black Sea region, which extends over 1,600 hectares. Yedigöller means seven lakes. Each lake has its own source of water.
A must-see in the Cappadoce, Zelve is in the Nevşehir region. The area is famous for its fairy chimneys. Many of its residents were forced to leave their homes due to problems with erosion. 
Situated in the heart of Sultanahmet, behind Saint Sophie, the Topkapi Palace was for many years the Sultans' residence.
An historical site with multiple influences on the banks of the River Tigris, Hasankeyf is a must-see for history and trekking enthusiasts!
An uninhabited island, Kekova is also named after an entire region of small islands in Lycia.
Olympos is situated on the Mediterranean coast. The city was conquered by the Romans, Venetians and Genoese, all of whom left their mark. But it's the landscape and sea that makes the place so worthwhile.
A monastery built into the rock at an altitude of 1200 metres.
Little visited by tourists, the Black Sea is one of the best guarded secrets of Turkey. 
The Bosphorus in Turkey is the strait that separates Europe and Asia and which joins the Mediterranean Sea to the Black Sea. Ideal for a cruise.
Included among the most important cities from Antiquity, Ephesus houses the relics of many civilisations.
Located on the Mediterranean coast, this charming port city is highly appreciated by western holiday makers. Less "bling-bling” than Bodrum, Fethiye is perfect for a few days of rest.
A famous geological site in Turkey, Pamukkale ressembles a "cotton castle", the meaning of its name in Turkish.
Several trails head out of the town, so you can explore the Cappadoce region.
Adana is classed as the fifth most important city in Turkey. Its population has shot up in recent years, and therefore is a large economic and industrial centre.
An ancient Greek and, subsquently, Roman city, Aphrodisias is a remarkable, historical site.
Artvin lies in the steep and arid Çoruh Valley at the heart of the Lesser Caucasus Mountains in Turkey. The town extends along the slopes of a mountain and contains Ottoman houses, a palace, mosques and fountains; the mountains are also a prized destination for hikers.
Lovers of historical sites will adore Aspendos, an ancient Greco-roman city containing one of the best preserved ancient theaters in Turkey.
A quiet shopping city, Bergama is mainly famous as the location of the incredible ancient site of Pergamon, which is perhaps the most impressive in the whole of Turkey.
The Beylerbeyi Palace is the old residence of the Sultans. It's at the food of the main Bosphorus Bridge, on the Asian side, in the region of Beylerbeyi. This palace is a small version of the Dolmabahce Palace, which welcomes a swarm of tourists.
Only 1 hour 30 minutes away from Bodrum by car, Didim enjoys the same Mediterranean climate with a lot more ruins and archaeological remains.
Erzurum is an austere highland city, at 1757 m above sea level... Within this volcanic, lunar and bright landscape lies the largest city in north-eastern Turkey, which boasts superb remnants of the Seljuq period, a lovely town centre and a nearby ski resort.
Eyüp is one of the best locations from where to admire Istanbul, especially when you take the cable car to go as high up as the Pierre Loti cafe.
The Santa Sophia Basilica, built in the 6th century, was converted into a mosque when Constantinople fell to the Ottomans. It became the famous Hagia Sophia Museum it now is in 1934.
An ancient site overlooking the limestone formations of Pamukkale, Hierapolis sits in a breathtaking location, despite its status as a kind of Disneyland of ancient sites.
Kars, capital of the Turkish Caucasus, is a disconcerting city. An old eastern city half in ruins, with an orthogonal centre, ruins of Armenian churches, mosques, fortress... Of dust and the nagging impression of a city on the outer limits!
A small tourist town on the Mediterranean coast.
An aquatic jewel in a mountain setting.
The 2,156 metre high Mount Bozdağ stands dominating the town of Bozdağ. A prized destination with Izmir's walkers and climbers, it is also a popular skiing destination in winter, despite the fact the season is often short. And to cap it all you get wonderful views out over the Ödemis Valley into the bargain as well.
The Ararat volcano, a bald mountain that is eternally snow capped, is the highest point in the country and one of its emblematic sites.
Şanliurfa, or Urfa, is a city in south-east Anatolia located 40km from the Syrian border. Şanliurfa is known as the city of prophets and museums.
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