One of the most popular countries to travel to from Germany is Turkey. The flight only takes about 3 hours, with plenty of options year-round. The best part is that Turkey has a host of popular tourist destinations ranging from big cities like Istanbul to beautiful coastal cities like Izmir. Let’s dive into our guide for traveling Turkey!
Getting to Turkey
You’ll have a number of different airports to choose from depending on where you’re currently located in Germany. Berlin, Munich, and Frankfurt are the most popular ones, but you can also use regional airports like Hamburg, Düsseldorf, and others as well.
There are two different airlines that you’ll probably see: Turkish Airlines and Pegasus Airlines. Both are Turkish-based companies and offer great deals. You’ll most likely go to Istanbul Airport, where you can take regional flights to Izmir, Ankara, or Antalya. Since these are all international airports, you might also be able to get a direct flight.
Not only is Istanbul a city rich in history, culture, and tradition, but it also is one of the only cities in the world that’s large enough to stretch between two continents: Asia and Europe. It was colonized by the Greeks (Byzantium), became the capital of the Roman Empire (Constantinople), transferred ownership to the Byzantine Empire (Constantinople), was conquered under the Latin Empire (Constantinople), was conquered again by the Ottoman Empire (Istanbul), and became part of Turkey after the Turkish War of Independence.
Sounds like a lot? Well, that brief history stretches back to 700 BCE and goes until today, so it’s really no wonder that one of the best-located cities in the world has seen a number of different cultures and people inhabit it. It’s for that reason you need to take at least one architectural tour of Turkey.
Buildings like the Hagia Sofia date back to Byzantine Empire and are considered one of the architectural masterpieces that dictated the style at the time. Another must-see is the Basilica Cistern, which is one of the hundreds of cisterns that exist underneath the city that date back to the same time. They keep a bit of water inside, so tourists can see how it looked at its time of use.
Izmir is one of the oldest recorded cities in the Mediterranean, with excavation sights proving settlement as early as 3,000 BCE. Because of its strategic location on the sea, it has been used as an important trading route for millennia.
During the 7th century, there was already a concrete city built with multi-story buildings and a booming international culture from various boats traveling the area located between modern-day Greece and Turkey. Due to its location, it also allows for nutrient-rich soil that’s easy to irrigate, so the city has remained densely populated.
If you’re looking for a cultural experience, you’ll want to see the Kizlaragasi Han Bazaar. The marketplace was built in 1744 in the traditional Ottoman style and was fully restored in 1993. If you want to experience what Izmir was like back when it was an international harbor city during ancient times, you can take a quick trip to Ephesus. There are multiple buses and tours that operate throughout the day and can take you there.
While the city is still ancient compared to others, it was founded a bit later, in 150 BCE, by the Greeks. The city stayed an important harbor city until Christianity was brought after the 2nd century. From that point on, the city was perfectly located to be home to the troops during the Crusades, who used it as their naval base before going further South.
The city still hosts some of the original architecture. Some of the most notable include Hadrian’s Gate, which was built in 130 to welcome the Roman Emporer Hadrian. The gate was restored in 1959 and revealed the original Roman floor, but the welcome letters to Hadrian were removed and taken to different museums across the world, including Berlin and Vienna.
Another great sight to see is the Antalayan waterfalls throughout the city. Because of the city’s geography, there are multiple bodies of water all going towards the clear Mediterranean ocean. This also means that the city is known for having some of the best seafood in the region.
Ankara is one of the most important cities in Turkey and houses the Turkish government. It is also home to one of the most ancient civilizations in Turkey: the Hittites. This civilization interacted with ancient Egyptians and even is thought to have been mentioned in the bible as the People of Herth (which is debated).
When traveling to Ankara, you will see not only ancient ruins from the Hittites but also standard Greek, Roman, and Ottoman architecture. If you’re interested in seeing the ancient civilizations that once lived in Ankara, the Museum of Anatolian Civilization should be your first stop. If you’re more interested in modern Turkish history, it might be worth checking out the Republic Museum.
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