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6 HIDDEN GEMS IN TURKEY

Discover Turkey's pleasant surprise to the senses.

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Turkey is a big country full of different cultures, wonderful people and amazing things to see. Turkish breakfast, Turkish lunch and even Turkish street food can be overwhelming with the choices you are offered, but one thing they all have in common is that it’s all amazing from waterfalls to boat rides on the Mediterranean Sea, here are 6 hidden gems that turkey has to offer.

PAMUKKALE

Pamukkale, which can be translated to cotton castle is a natural site in Denizil province , in the River Menderes valley in south-western Turkey. These rock formations have been formed over millennia by carbonate deposits funneled into unusual terraces by hot springs and streams known as Travertines. Some people believe that the waters have healing powers. Legend has it that the formations are solidified cotton that giants left out to dry.  The sight is home to the ancient Greco-Roman and Byzantine city of Hierapolis, known for its Archaeology Museum and a well preserved 12,000-seat Roman amphitheatre. The Hierapolis-Pamukkale attractions was recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1988.

NEMRUT DAG

This eerie site filled with ancient statues is thought to be one of the ancient toms of the late Hellenistic king Antiochus built in the 1st century. The name Nemrut Dagi is a relatively modern one, dating back to the middle ages. On the highest peak of eastern Turkey’s taurus mountains, sits Nemrut Dag. In 62 B.C, king Antiochus I Theos of Commagene ordered the construction of this site, which contains a temple, a tomb and a house of gods. He built the temple to commemorate himself. The monument features statues of the king, lions, eagles and various Greek, Armenian and Medes gods with each measuring almost 30 feet tall is evidence of the dual origin of this kingdom’s culture.

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MOUNT ARARAT

Ararat is the Hebrew spelling of Urartu, a kingdom that existed in the Armenian plateau in the 6th-9th centuries BC. The first efforts to reach Mount Ararat’s summit were made in the middle ages. This is a dormant volcano and some scholars believe that this is the site where Noah pitched up his ark after the Great Flood. A 2007 expedition found several large wooden compartments near the peak of the mountain that corresponded to the way an ancient ark would have been constructed and the wood is around 4,800 years old. Located in eastern Turkey close to the borders of Armenia and Iran and just 240 kilometers from Iraq, the region is politically volatile and often dangerous. Because of its mention in the book of Genesis, several legends and myths are associated with Mount Ararat. It is the sacred mountain for the Armenians who believe that they were the first humans to appear after the Deluge. A Persian legend, on the other hand, regards Mount Ararat as the candle of human race.

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THE TROJAN HORSE

Most people think that troy is a fictional as the cyclops or sirens who tried to tempt Odysseus to his death and today you can wander around the ruins of the ancient city, climb inside a replica of the Trojan horse and imagine the battle that sacked one of the most important cities of the ancient world. The Trojan war was one of the most famous conflicts in human history. Troy, Turkey is the setting of the Trojan war described in the “The Iliad”, one of the two epic poems attributed to Homer. The Trojan War was fought between the Greeks and Troy. The Greeks built a large wooden horse and hid soldiers inside, while at the same time Greeks sailed to a nearby island giving the impression that they were retreating. The Trojans accepted the Trojan Horse as a peace offering to the goddess Athena. At night, the Greeks came out of the horse and opened the gate so their soldiers could enter the city and they defeated the Trojans.

MAUSOLEUM AT HALICARNASSUS

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Mausoleum at Halicarnassus or Tomb of Mausolus was a tomb built between 353 and 350 BC at Halicarnassus (present Bodrum, Turkey). The structure was designed by the Greek architects Satyros and Pythius of Priene. Its elevated tomb structure is derived from the tombs of neighboring Lycia, a territory Mausolus had invaded and annexed. Built on a hill, the Mausoleum stands 45 meters high and was lined in the best white marble. It was one of the tallest structures in existence at that time. The building was ornamented with sculptural reliefs but was destroyed by successive earthquakes. Today you can see its ruins.

THE TEMPLE OF ARTEMIS

The Temple of Artemis or Artemision, also known  less precisely as the Temple of Diana, was a Greek temple dedicated to an ancient local form of the goddess Artemis, the virgin goddess of nature and protectress of women in childbirth. It was located in Ephesus which is nowadays part of Turkey. Artemis was deeply worshiped in the Greek world and her temples were spread throughout the Hellenic world but the majestic Ephesian temple had no match. It was completely built three times, and in its final form was one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. By 401 AD it had been destroyed. Only foundations and fragments of the last temple remain at the site.

Turkey

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