Istanbul is a so-called “Primate City,” which in technical terms means that it eclipses all other cities in Turkey (all of them combined, arguably) both in terms of size and importance. In practical terms, this means it’s possible to visit Turkey multiple times and do little more than explore Istanbul, which is a veritable rabbit hole of discovery and revelation.
This has certainly been my experience in Turkey. In two visits totaling more than two weeks in length, I’ve spent just three days outside Istanbul: Two in scenic Cappadocia and one in the conservative city of Konya, famous among other reasons for being where Sufi poet Rumi died.
Ultimate Turkey Travel Guide
Turkey has some of the best beaches in Europe—in the world—which simply underscores the urgency of my needing to visit them. Indeed, the struggle when it comes to Turkish beaches is not whether to sun yourself on them, but which to choose?
Personally, I’d be satisfied with a day or two in the Oludeniz “Blue Lagoon,” but then I’d probably regret not having visited Izmir, Bodrum and Antalya, to name just a few of the others.
Urfa and the Syrian Borderlands
The Ancient City of Ani
The topic of the Armenian Genocide—Armenia in general—is controversial in Turkey, but no matter which country you think ancient Ani (and the surrounding countryside) belongs, this city is nonetheless one of the most fascinating example of Armenian heritage in Turkey. To be sure, Ani’s history transcends the 20th century conflict, the city having been besieged by the Mongols a Millennium-and-a-half ago, among the other turbulent chapters in its past.
It’s easy to forget that Ankara, not Istanbul, is the capital of Turkey. In fact, many Turks I meet speak critically of their country’s capital, criticizing it for being conservative and even boring. Nonetheless, I remain fascinated by this inland metropolis of more than four million, known in ancient times as Angora (among other names), and having served as the headquarters of Atatürk, founder of the Turkish Republic, before the fall of the Ottoman Empire.
Black Sea Coast
Where in Turkey Do You Want to Visit?
Turkey is a country of seemingly endless discovery, which means I’ve almost certainly missed somewhere on my Turkey Travel Guide—where do you most want to visit? Leave a comment below or on social media with your recommendations for what should be included in this Turkey Travel Guide!
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