Collected by Bryan Kitch, AFAR Contributor
At the crossroads between East and West, Turkey has a fascinating history, a wealth of archaeology, and a vibrant contemporary culture unlike anywhere else.
Bilal Eroğlu Caddesi, Mezar Sokak No:8, 50180 Göreme/Nevşehir Merkez/Nevşehir, Turkey
If you only get to ride in a hot air balloon once in your life, do it over Cappadocia, Turkey. Amazing. Cappadocia is surreal when seen from any angle. The region is peppered with strange pointy stone spires that rise up toward the sky, in pastel...
Alaçatı Belediyesi, 35930 Çeşme/İzmir, Turkey
We went to a great little surf town called Alacati. It was a glorious few days of relaxing and eating wonderful fresh food (mmmm the olives and cheese and veggies!). We hung out at the beach, just soaking in the sun and watching the surfers....
Cankurtaran Mh., 34122 Fatih/Istanbul, Turkey
If these palace walls could talk they’d recite plans for military campaigns and tales of love, lust and betrayal that make this former residence and imperial seat of the Ottoman Empire so intriguing. Walk the tile-and-mosaic-lined corridors...
Silivri, Istanbul, Turkey
by Sylvia Kouvali The mosque here was built for an admiral who, they say, demanded that the architect Sinan build him ‘something like that,’ as he pointed across to the Aya Sofia. The complex also includes a newly renovated hammam where I take...
Dervişali Mahallesi, Kariye Cami Sk. No:8, 34087 Fatih/İstanbul, Turkey
To see a dazzling collection of glittery mosaics, go to Santa Kariye, the 5th-century Byzantine church. Also referred to as St. Savior in Chora and as the Church of the Holy Savior, the church is richly decorated with 14th-century mosaics in...
Müze Cad. No:32 Göreme, 50180 Nevşehir Merkez/Nevşehir, Turkey
One of my favorite shops in Kapadokya is Sultan's Carpets located in Goreme. If you happen to be in the area, say hi to my friend, the modern day Suffi, Shemsettin Kantar, or Semse as he likes to be called. International interior designer obsessed...
Atatürk Mh., Artemis Tapınağı, 35920 Selçuk/İzmir, Turkey
The historic city of Ephesus is a must if you are going to Turkey. It is amazing! You walk down worn stone paths that the ancient people once walked. The library is a definite highlight as it was one of the major buildings of the city. I wanted to...
17680 Tenedos/Çanakkale, Turkey
In the Aegean Sea, not far off the west coast of Turkey is the little-known island of Bozcaada. Here, time stands still in the most nostalgic of ways. Old men gather in town square to play backgammon over tulip glasses of Turkish tea, shops open...
Beyazıt Mh., 34126 Fatih/İstanbul, Turkey
Soon after conquering Constantinople and defeating the Byzantines in 1453, Ottoman Sultan Mehmet II commissioned the beginnings of the Grand Bazaar to reinvigorate trade with the city. More than 550 years later, the bazaar is one of the oldest...
Vişnezade Mahallesi, Dolmabahçe Cd., 34357 Beşiktaş/İstanbul, Turkey
This decadent palace, which overlooks the Bosphorus from the European side, holds great importance to Turkey. The late-19th-century sultans resided here and ruled the Ottoman Empire from here, and while the Turkish Republic's capital is in Ankara,...
Sultan Ahmet Mahallesi, Ayasofya Meydanı, 34122 Fatih/İstanbul, Turkey
Walk into Hagia Sophia (Aya Sofya) and look up to the heavens to see why so many conquerors and their respective religions claimed this basilica turned mosque turned museum as their own. Visitors will swoon over the Byzantine gilded mosaics,...
Rüstem Paşa Mahallesi, 34116 Fatih/İstanbul, Turkey
Get on the Turyol ferry across the Bosphorus for a budget friendly no frills tour offering excellent views of Istanbul. Departing every hour from Eminonu between 10am and 7pm, this simple 1.5 hour round trip cruises along the Asian and European...
Zafer Mahallesi, Radovıs Cd. No:15, 35925 Selçuk/İzmir, Turkey
One of the best ways to learn about a location is to go shopping. Head to the local markets to get a feel for what life is really like in a location. As I was visiting Ephesus ruins in Turkey, I made a stop at the Saturday Selcuk Market and was...
Esentepe Mah. No 87, Ortahisar, Urgup, Cappadocia, 50400 Ortahisar Belediyesi/Ürgüp/Nevşehir, Turkey
A perfect oasis, this room was my home for two nights in the Cappadocia region of Turkey, famed for its ancient caves and early Christian settlements. (2nd century!) It's not obvious from this photo, but this room is in a cave hotel, where the...
Rumeli Hisarı, Yahya Kemal Cd., 34470 Sarıyer/İstanbul, Turkey
Most visitors to Istanbul probably don’t realize that there is a fortress there. Located on the western shore of the Bosphorus (just south of Fatih Sultan Mehmet Bridge) is a fortress that dates back to pre-Ottoman rule. Rumeli Hisarı...