Black Sea Region
Antioch in Psidia (Yalvac)
Adiyaman: Adiyaman, was founded in the 7th Century AD, and was then known as Hisn Mansur. The citadel, which dominates the modern town, probably dates from this early Omaiyadic period. Modern Adiyaman is at the heart of the terrain known to the ancients as Commagene. The capital was Samosata, the modern Samsat, 40 km. away.
Anamur: In the middle of Turkey’s finest coastal scenery sites town Anamur is the most southern town of Turkey. Ancient Anemurium was a Phoenician trading city, although with little remains, most notable and picturesque-one is the magnificent Crusader Castle right on the Mediterranean Sea.
Ani: Ani, now deserted, located very near the Russian border, was once the capital of the Armenian Bagratid Princess. The city, said to have had 100.000 inhabitants and 1.000 churches at the height of its power, is beautifully sited on a triangular plateau, bordered on both sides by the deep valleys of the Arpa Cayi and its tributary the Alaca Suyu.
Ankara: Capital of Turkey is set in the strategic heartland of Central Anatolia. Although the city is thoroughly modern in appearance, its origins date back to the Palaeolithic and Neolithic Ages. The Museum of Anatolian Civilizations contains the most significant brands of Anatolia.
Antakya (Antioch): The ancient city of Antakya (Antioch) is another Selucid centre founded by one of Alexander the Great’s generals, Seleucus Nicator. Although little of that period remains, two reasons for visiting Antakya are the wonderful Mosaic Museum and the grotto, now a church, where St. Paul was said to have held the first masses for the followers of Jesus. It was also here that St. Paul preached his first sermon and here that the term “Christian” was first applied to Jesus’ followers.
Antalya: Principal resort city of the southern Mediterranean, known as the “Turkish Riviera”, is a lovely port city with palm lined boulevards, a prize-winning marina, and picturesque old quarters which has a majestic coastline of beaches and rocky coves surrounded by the towering Taurus Mountains.
Antioch in Psidia (Yalvac): On the north-east to Isparta, Yalvac stands near the ancient city of Antioch in Psidia. This area was visited by St. Paul and St. Barnabas in 46 A.D. Among the ruins be sure to see St. Paul’s Basilica, the aqueducts, Augustus’ Temple, the theatre and public baths as you walk along the city’s marble streets.
Aphrodisias: One of the most prolific and significant archaeological finds of recent years, Aphrodisias, dedicated to Aphrodite (the goddess of love), is located in the Aegean Region, in the province of Aydin, How best to describe the city than by quoting the words of late Prof. Kenan Erim - “Imagine coming upon a city of antiquity so rich in archaeological treasures where choice sculptures roll out of the sides of ditches, tumble from old walls, and lie jam packed amid colonnaded ruins”.
Assos: There are many fourth-century BC buildings on the Acropolis, including the citadel towers and substantial city walls.
Black Sea Region: Stretching from Istanbul to Hopa on the Russian border, this region is very different from the rest of Turkey. Pine covered mountains fall right into the Black Sea, which actually is a beautiful azure blue. A wet, cool climate and mountainous terrain characterize this region which is populated primarily by people called Laz, who speak a language similar to Gregorian. Fishing and forestry are two main occupations, along with tea plantations in the region near Rize. Today, Trabzon is one of its main cities of the Black Sea and was the former centre of the Pontic Greeks.
Bodrum: The port of ancient Halicarnassus where Herodotus was born, and where the Mausoleum was one of the seven wonders of the ancient world.
Bursa: Situated at the foot of Mt. Uludag, the Mysian Mt. Olympus of history, is next to the south of the Marmara Sea. Bursa was the first capital of the Ottoman Empire, so important Ottoman monuments can be seen in the city. Also it is famous for its healing baths, silk trade and fruit production.
Cappadocia: With an area of rock carved cities and surrealistic landscapes in the central Anatolia, between Nevsehir and Kayseri Valley, where nature has sculpted the earth into fantastic shapes, rock cones, capped pinnacles, and fretted ravines, Cappadocia looks like a lunar landscape. For a thousand years, from the 4th to the 13th centuries, Christians hewed dwellings from the rocks, totally incorporating the architecture into the landscape. The caves were decorated with Byzantine frescoes that can still be seen today.
Diyarbakir: The city was called Amida by the Romans, who built the walls that enclose the inner city on an artificial mound.
Dogubeyazit: This town, because of its proximity to Ishak Pasha Sarayi, has recently been developed into a tourist centre and starting point for excursions to Ararat.
Ephesus: Known as the “jewel” in Turkey’s archaeological crown, due to the remarkable restoration of the city. Excavations here have been almost as complete as those of Pompei. First built in the 12th century B.C., Ephesus in its heyday, as capital of a Roman province of Asia, had a population of 300,000 and was the wealthiest city in the Middle East.
Gaziantep: Known as the pistachio capital of Turkey. Antep was given the prefix “Gazi” (meaning fighter for the faith) during the World War I. In the middle of the own is the citadel, and nearby, are several 15th century mosques and caravanserais, which provided lodging, food and refuge to passing caravans.
The Hittite Sites: The Hittites were proud and warlike Indo-European people, who ruled Anatolia from 2000 to 1180 B.C.
Bogazkale: The Hittite capital of Hiatuses is ringed with double walls, broken by the Royal Gate, the Lion Gate and the Yr Kappa (an underground tunnel). The largest ruins on the site are those of the Great Temple of the Storm of God of Hiatuses, surrounded by seventy storerooms. In 1180 B.C. Hattusas was devastated by the Phrygians.
Yazilikaya: The open-air rock sanctuary contains fine reliefs of Hittite gods and kings dating from the 13th century B.C.
Alacahoyuk: Before the arrival of the Hittites, the site was the centre of flourishing Hattian Bronze Age culture, and it was from the Royal Tombs of this period that the magnificent gold and bronze objects in Ankara’s Museum of Anatolian Civilizations were uncovered. All the standing remains, like the Sphinx Gate, date from the Hittite period.
Harran:The site at Harran was Roman Carrhae, important as a stronghold on the military road from the Mediterranean to the Upper Tigris. Tradition has it that Abraham spent several years at Harran on his journey to Canaan.
Istanbul: The only city in the world built on two continents, Europe and Asia, forms a bridge between East and West. Istanbul was the capital city of three great empires and guards the splendours and relics of Roman & Byzantine Emperors and Ottoman Sultans. This is a magnificent and unforgettable city with infinite variety. Museums, ancient churches, great mosques, palaces, bazaars, modern hotels, excellent restaurants.
Izmir: Once called Smyrna, Izmir is the birthplace of Homer, and third largest city in Turkey, located at the centre of the Seven Churches of Asia Minor and now is a bustling modern port city, the heart of the Turkish Aegean.
Konya: One of the world’s most ancient cities and Turkey’s most religious city is in the heart of Central Anatolia. Here, Mevlana, the 12th century mystic poet, lived and founded the sect of the Whirling Dervishes.
Kars: The heart of the historic town is set on a rocky peak. The settlement is protected by an encircling wall halfway up the hill. On the summit is the citadel itself (Narin Kale), once an Armenian palace, altered and fortified by the Saltukogullari in the late 16th century by Murat III.
Mardin: The city was called “Marde” when Justian and Chosroes the Persian fought for its possessions. In the continuous struggle between these empires, Mardin, along with other towns of the region, changed hands frequently as this side or that gained ascendancy.
Marmaris: This lovely resort town located on a peninsula, where the Aegean meets the Mediterranean, is surrounded by a pine-wooded landscape. It has a harbour sheltered with lush foothills and long sun-drenched beaches surrounding its bay. The ancient city of Phykos existed where Marmaris is located now. There are various Grecian ruins nearby, as well as fascinating Lycian rock tombs, which look like miniature brownstone houses.
Medrese: Seljuk schools where people received education in culture, science and art. In Medrese, as in today's high schools and universities, education was given in four main subjects: Religion and law, language and literature, philosophy and sciences.
Mescid: Smaller places of ritual worship, often just a room inside of some other building or a small one-room huts, usually adjacent to markets, bus terminals, or other non-religious business places, are in Turkey called mescid.
Mt. Nemrut: It is located at south eastern Anatolia on the River Euphrates. The site of the tiny Selucid state of Commagene was made world-famous by the monumental heads on Mt. Nemrut commemorating its ruler Antiochus I. At the top of Mt. Nemrut are the famous heads, the ruins of the tumulus of Antiochus, and a magnificent view, especially at sunrise and sun-set. The region was declared a National Park in 1989. The remains are on the World Heritage List of UNESCO.
Myra: At Demre (Kale), the ancient Myra, with many splendidly carved rock tombs overlook the magnificent Roman theatre. St. Nicholas was the bishop of this Mediterranean city during the fourth century, and died here in 342 A.D.
Nicea (Iznik): Iznik was Nicea. First Ecumenical Council, convened by Constantine, was held here, resulting in the condemnation of the Arian heresy (adherents of a doctrine which denied the full divinity of Christ) and the promulgation of the Nicene Creed, a formal statement of Christian belief. It was also the initial location for the Seventh Council at which the Iconoclasts were denounced.
Pamukkale: Ancient Hierapolis is a noted spa, where calcareous hot springs descending over hundreds of meters have created fascinating travertines in the form of white terraces and basins. There are large pools fed by thermal hot springs for bathing, and many columns and ruins from ancient Hierapolis, founded by Pergamene King Eumenes II. The entire kingdom of Pergamon, including Hierapolis, was bequeathed to the Romans in 133 B.C.
Pergamon: 95 km. (60 miles) north of Izmir, Pergamon was the home of Galen, renowned doctor and surgeon, and the site of his temple devoted to healing – celebrated in the biblical world. The Pergamon library, built in 198 B.C., where parchment was invented, once contained over 200,000 books, which were shipped off to Alexandria as a gift to Cleopatra.
Sanliurfa (EDESSA): The city dates back to 16th century BC, when Egypt was in control but allowed its Phoenician- Syrian occupants a degree of independence. Later there was the Hurrite-Mitanni (Hittite) occupation which spread throughout northern Mesopotamia. Alexander’s Macedonians named in Edessa after his birthplace. At one time Edessa had 11 successive Aramaic rulers.
Sardis: Sardis was the rich capital of the ancient kingdom of the Lydians. It is famed for the invention of minted coins at the end of the 7th century B.C. In addition to the restored Roman gymnasium, from its later period, the Temple of Artemis is its most spectacular site. Next to the gymnasium is the ancient synagogue, one of the largest ever found .
Tarsus:The city where St. Paul was born, but there is not much here now of that Roman period other than an archway known as St. Paul Gate.
Trabzon: On the east end of the Black Sea, the celebrated city of Trebizond was founded as a Greek colony in the 6th century B.C. and became an important mercantile and trading centre. Modern-day Trabzon retains much of its old charm, and many parts of the city offer reminders of its past.
Van: The modern city of Van, situated near the shore of Lake Van in Turkey's Eastern Anatolian region, has a past which extends into the remote mists of prehistory. The earliest inhabitants of Van are the Hurrians, who dwelled there in 2nd millennium B.C. Later the Urartu and Nairi feudal principalities succeeded in forming a unified state.
Zeugma: During several centuries of first Greek then Roman rule, Zeugma was the location of the first and only permanent bridge over the Euphrates between the Taurus Mts and Babylonia several hundred kilometres away.