Incredible Architectural Sights in Turkey

 green01   September 19, 2012
Turkey

Blessed with natural beauty, delicious cuisine, and unique culture that can only come from being at the crossroads between Asia and Europe, holidays in Turkey are now more popular and diverse than ever.

Visitors can enter a world of colourful carpets, richly decorated palaces, mosaic walls, rooftop bars and restaurants and magical islands where cultures intertwine.

Turkey Meat

Turkey Meat – Source

Local fare is also a must in Turkey – foodies will adore the mezes, meat and fish cooked to perfection and of course the sweet treats to round things off.

Centuries of wealth and influence have produced architecture across Turkey that is second to none. Check out these architectural wonders on your visit to Asia Minor.
Incredible Structures in Istanbul
Hagia Sophia:

Hagia Sophia

Hagia Sophia – Source

If not already, this should be on every traveller’s bucket list. Now a museum, this Byzantine Cathedral, later converted into a mosque, will take your breath away with its graceful splendour, gold mosaics and domed ceiling.
Topkapı Palace:

Topkapi Palace

Topkapi Palace – Source

The Ottoman imperial residence for over 400 years, this palace’s sprawling grounds and outbuildings are a testament to the richness and artistic appreciation of Turkey’s past rulers. Don’t miss the glittering harem or treasury.
Sultan Ahmet Mosque:

Sultan Ahmet Mosque

Sultan Ahmet Mosque – Source

Its nickname deriving from its colour, “the Blue Mosque” boasts a lightness and loveliness that, with its six minarets, carves out a beloved profile on the Old Town skyline.
Rüstem Paşa Mosque:

Rüstem Paşa Mosque

Rüstem Paşa Mosque – Source

This difficult-to-find mosque is well worth the effort; elaborate İznik tiles cover the interior making it one of Istanbul’s most exquisite and most charming mosques.
Chora Church:

Chora Church

Chora Church – Source

Just outside the city walls, this church is famed for its beautiful, well-preserved frescoes and mosaics.
Suleymaniye Mosque:

Süleymaniye Mosque

Süleymaniye Mosque – Source

Suleyman the Magnificent commissioned this grand mosque and compound at the height of Ottoman dominance in the 16th Century.
Basilica Cistern:

Basilica Cistern

Basilica Cistern – Source

Underground, atmospheric, and mesmerizing, this cistern was built by Byzantine Emperor Justinian to accommodate 80,000 cubic meters of water. Columns grace the interior, making for some amazing symmetrical reflections.
Architectural Wonders in Other Regions
Cappadocia:

Cappadocia

Cappadocia – Source

Nature and human hands went to work in Cappadocia, the first carving out “fairy chimneys” from rock once formed by volcanic ash, and the latter carving out dwellings, places of worship, and a network of tunnels to form a city.
Selimiye Mosque, Edirne:

Selimiye Mosque

Selimiye Mosque – Source

Another commission of Suleyman the Magnificent, and considered to be the pinnacle work of court architect Sinan, the mosque achieves its grace in its balanced geometric motifs, light-allowing curtain walls and soaring dome.
Ephesus:

Ephesus

Ephesus – Source

The majestic ruins of this classical city are crowned by the Temple of Artemis and the Library of Celsus.
Hacı Özbek Mosque, Iznik:

Built in 1333, this early Ottoman period mosque is a graceful example of one of the first single-domed mosques to be built.
Antalya:

Antalya

Antalya – Source

This cultured seaside town will charm and impress, from its preserved Roman harbour to the narrow alleyways of the historic hillside Kaleiçi district.
Urfa:

Urfa

Urfa – Source

Explore the Gölbaşı district, ringed by the Dergah complex of mosques, and the atmospheric old town. A famous pilgrimage city, Urfa also boasts what claims to be the world’s oldest temple, the Gobelki Tepe.
Harran:

Harran

Harran – Source

One of the oldest continuously occupied cities in the world, the traditional adobe beehive houses are every bit as fascinating as the more refined buildings found elsewhere in the country.
From the earliest Roman and Persian influences, to the Byzantine and Ottoman empires, and later European styles, Turkey’s gilded architectural heritage awaits. Whether you are simply strolling the streets in search of hidden gems, or you prefer to organise a visit inside some of the age-old creations, Turkey is a must for all who love architecture.

About the guest blogger – Juliet Parker is a travel journalist who enjoys booking Turkey holidays in every season. She is from a little village close to Brighton on the south coast of England, but Juliet spends as much of her free time as possible escaping to European cities and exotic islands where she can sip the odd cocktail while soaking up the sun.

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