Discover the ancient ruins of Ephesus

Ephesus is one of the most popular destinations in Turkey. This beautifully preserved Roman City is a must-see Mediterranean destination for history enthusiasts.

The ancient city of Ephesus in Turkey (close to Izmir) is the right place if you want to learn more about the ancient world, the Megalopolis in which Alexander the Great is called the “divine”, the birthplace of Heraclitus as well as the site of art development and science. Ephesus is also the place of the Christian pilgrimage. This is the place of the last stay of the Mother of God, which, according to the tradition of St. Paul brought to this city

In the area of today’s Ephesus, there are the remains of three cities from different epochs because the original location has been altered by the destruction of the Greek, Persian and Roman conquerors, as well as natural disasters. The remains of the tumultuous past, the Artemis Temple, the Amphitheater, the Celsius Library, the Agora and the Baths, attract millions of tourists from all over the world and represent the richest archaeological site in Asia Minor.

The ancient ruins of Ephesus will take visitors along 2,000 years worth of history and some of the most magnificent structures of ancient times will be right here and close at hand for you to examine and admire and of course photograph. However, Ephesus is not just for those who delight in thousand-year-old ruins but also for those who are looking for a place to relax and explore the attractions of the Aegean Coast.

Since Ephesus is made famous by the magnificent ruins dating back to the ancient Roman period, no visit to the city is complete without a stopover at the famed archaeological site. It takes little imagination to picture what it was like to live in a Roman city when you are right there, standing in the midst of the well-preserved ruins. It is recommended to head out to the site early in the morning before the sun becomes unforgiving. Once there, you can explore the vast area on your own or hire a personal guide for an interesting and animated commentary on the area’s various attractions.

While here you will explore amphitheatres, public squares, baths, fountains and enumerable columns. However, if you want to get to the highlights immediately, then you need to seek out the splendid Library of Celsus, the magnificent Temple of Hadrian and the Grand Theatre where St. Paul was said to have preached to the Ephesians. Of course, don’t miss a visit to the Temple of Artemis, which was one of the Seven Wonders of the World in ancient history.

If you want to dedicate most of your time in Ephesus to exploring the ruins, then it is best to make the town of Selcuk your base. It has plenty of hotels and many facilities that will take care of any tourist’s needs. It is also only 2 miles from the archaeological site so you can easily go there on foot if you fancy a leisurely walk.

While you are at Selcuk, you may want to check out the exhibits at the Ephesus Museum and pay a visit to the other attractions in the area such as the St. John Basilica, the Grotto of St. Paul, the House of the Virgin and the Isa Bey Mosque, among others.

Near Ephesus is another attraction right out of the pages of history – Iliad’s legendary city of Troy. This city is famous for the deceitful Trojan Horse, the renowned beauty of Helen, the legendary battle and now a favourite of many romantics. The ruins discovered in the 19th century were believed to have been what remained of the ancient city of Troy.

There is now a replica of the Trojan Horse that makes for a good photo opportunity for visiting tourists. The picturesque surroundings and the wonderful views of the hills of Gallipoli and Dardanelles the site affords, are more reasons to visit the area while you are in Ephesus.

If you need to rejuvenate and re-energize after your exhausting historical excursion at the Ephesus archaeological site and nearby attractions, make Pamukkale your next destination. This town is famous for its mineral-rich hot springs whose waters are said to cure many ailments since the Roman times. Aside from its waters therapeutic effects, the spring’s rock formation known as Cotton Castle is also one of the area’s major attractions. However, if you prefer to relax by the beach, then the nearby Pamucak Beach or the resort town of Kusadasi is a better fit for you.

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Antalya is the pearl of the Turkish Mediterranean coast

Antalya, a town on the Mediterranean waterfront of Southwestern Turkey, is the great global sea resort of Turkey and is situated on the Turkish Riviera. For the favorable situation created by Antalya to enhance tourism, in 2012, it proved itself to be the most looked forward town in the world. The Taurus summit of southern Antalya extends collateral to the Mediterranean in the east-west direction, which consequences the emergence of narrow littoral plains encircled by lofty mountains from three sides, sea forming the fourth side. Geographically, Antalya is located on a plain where the mountains retreat from the seashore, which comprises of twin flat zones, composed of travertine stone (35m high). Antalya features torrid summers and rainy and tender winters, with sea temperature differing between 27C in summer and 16C in winters.

After getting familiar to the geography of Antalya, now its time to explore the city in terms of culture, history, fun and tours that are made available to all the visitors abundantly. The first attraction you would admire is Kaleici, the old quarter, which is build of narrowing and Zigzag Avenue hedged in historic city walls. It’s northern part – Selcuk and Tuzcular portion – is basically full of touristy stores and rows or restaurants along the street sides. Similarly, the Kilincarslan portion is very gorgeous, irrespective of it being a bit quiet section. You shall find various gates to enter into exit from Quarter, but it is recommended to enter via Hadrianus Gate. This old quarter includes different areas, but one of the most liked areas includes the Fluted Minaret Yivli Minare, where the famed mosque and 125 feet high fluted minaret is situated. Moreover, the Clock Tower and secured Roman port Yat Limani are other two sections of the Quarter admired by most of the visitors.

Other attractions include Broken Minaret Mosque (Kesik Minare), which is alluring remains of an ancient temple, which was consequentially transformed to a Christian Church and later to a mosque. Also, Hidirlik Tower (Hidirlik Kulesi) is a steeple on the extremity of the walls of the city with a picturesque scene of the harbor and the marine.

The home of Ataturk (Ataturk Evi) is the residence where the foremost president of Turkey lived. Other than the historic temples, towers and mosques at Antalya, you shall also discover some gorgeous beaches around. Konyaalti Beach is one of them, which is situated west of the town. Some segments of this beach include Aqua land, which features a gigantic structure of Beach Park and waterpark, Migros MMM, which is a titanic shopping mall, Antalya Aquarium, with the largest passage aquarium of the world and Aktur Luna park, which offers various fun rides. East to the town lies the Lara Beach, which also comprises a big shopping center, popularly known as TerraCity. Similarly, to the north of the city lies the Antalya Nature Park and the Zoo.

In addition to the above attractions and sightseeing, Antalya is also full of plenty of fun things to do. It gives the opportunity to all tastes of visitors to make their vacation a memorable part of their lives. The first recommended things to do include travelling up to the Mount Tahtali via cable car. From the top, you will get an opportunity to be amused by the scenic views of the Taurus summit and the Seacoast. If you are making your travel at winter, ski all the way down, or even paraglide! Another thing you can do is to visit the remains of Phaselis and the beautiful beaches out there. For your knowledge, Phaselis was once directed by Alexander the Great and is a momentous trading location. You can also have a three-hour drive to the metropolis of Demre from the center of Antalya town. You won’t regret visiting this place, as you will love the majestic Lycian ruins of Myra and the church of St. Nicholas.

Sun bathing in Lara beach will satisfy you from all aspects, if you are a sun lover. If you are visiting Antalya in summer, don’t miss the sand festival, where skilled artists creates life size sculptures to impress. Buy a ticket to Aspendos Ballet and Opera fiesta, which is played in the middle of June and July, in the Roman theatre in Antalya’s Belek region. Moreover, explore the Gulluk Dagi National park. You will need a few hours to scrutinize the entire park, so import some of your time. Also be ready with your camera to get marvelous clicks of some out of the world scenery and landscapes.

After all your excitements and sightseeing, relax at the tea gardens and on the Manavgat Waterfalls. You shall get your feet off and for your delight; the souvenir stores are open every time. Thus, Antalya provides you a compete package of excitement to make your holiday full of fun and fascinating activities.

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Kusadasi is a sprawling and bustling resort town

Kusadasi, a once sleepy fishing village back in the ’70s, is now a sprawling and bustling resort town, overflowing with hotels, restaurants, bars and entertainment hubs to accommodate the multitude of tourists visiting every year.

Kusadasi (pronounced koosh-ada-suh – Kuş meaning bird….adasi meaning “island of” ) is also a popular port of call for many cruise ships passing by Turkey’s Aegean Coast, making it one of the most visited destinations in the country. There is not much to see around the town center. However, all it takes is a few minutes drive to see many interesting and spectacular attractions in the area.

Ephesus is Kusadasi’s biggest attraction. It is located 18 km away from the town center and only a 25 minute drive away. You can join a group tour for a hassle-free trip or you can be more adventurous and take the minibuses for much lesser cost. Once you get to the ancient city of Ephesus, you can’t help but marvel at the traces of history, spanning about 3,000 years, laid out before you.

Make sure to visit the Terrance Houses while at Ephesus. This homes are believed to have been occupied by the wealthy of Ephesus and are situated on the hillside overlooking the city. They have been painstakingly excavated and are in amazing condition showcasing frescoes and mosaics from Roman times. The oldest building dates back to the first century BC and continued in use as residences until the 7th century AD.

The ruins are impressive, starting from the Agora and the Temple of Isis, as you explore farther you will discover the Odeion, the Baths of Varius, the magnificent temple of Hadrian, the imposing Librabry of Celsus, the House of Love and the Great Theatre.

Other must-see attractions in Ephesus include the Temple of Artemis which was once considered one of the Seven Wonders of World, the House of the Virgin Mary which was believed to have been where she spent her last years, the Church of St. John and the Cave of the Seven Sleepers. There are just so much to see in the area that you cannot afford to miss it as many find a visit here a life changing experience.

Cooling off in Kusadasi is easy with the many beaches available for you. If you just want to stay within the city center, you can try and find a place to lounge on the narrow shore of Ladies Beach, however if you want a wider playground with much less tourists milling around, then a 15 minute drive north of town to nearby Pamucak Beach is worth it.

Just be prepared to bring everything you need because there are fewer services and facilities in the Pamucak Beach area, although, there is a small hotel nearby where you can get some drinks and meals. If you want a more scenic location for your beach excursion, then you should head south to Dilek National Park. It is also a 15 minute drive from the resort town. The park’s north shore is perfect for swimming and features four main beaches. You can also simply enjoy the picturesque setting while having a picnic at the park’s charming wooded areas or follow its hiking trails if you are up for a scenic walk.

You can also take a quick trip to the nearby Greek island of Samos. It is only one hour and fifteen minutes away by ferry. A walking tour of the Samos’s outstanding architecture and colorful bazaars is a must when you get there. Also, make sure to get a sip of the local wine that is famous all throughout the country. Finally, visit the islands popular attractions such as the Monastery of Agia Triada and the Roman Baths in Pythagorion, to name a few.

Shopping in Kusadasi in plentiful, from hand knotted rugs to exceptional hand crafted art and sculpture. There is also no end of stores and shops selling genuine “fake” watches. Be prepared to bargain wherever you shop in Kusadasi and in the heat of exchange make sure you are negotiating the right currency. The Turkish Lira is worth far less than the desired Euros, so have a plan and know the conversions before you bargain!

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