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Turkey and Cyprus

A guide to its main attractions
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Selected by piero scaruffi | Back to the travel page | Suggestions
My pictures of Turkey and Cyprus
This page provides a list of the main things to see in Turkey and Cyprus. "++" identifies the top attractions.

Map of main sites
  • Edirne: ++Sinan's Selimiye Camii (1574), Kulliye of Bayazid II (portico)
  • ++Istanbul: ++Haghia Sophia, ++Sultanahmet square, +Sultanahmet mosque (1616), +basilica cistern (6th AD), Fountain Ahmet III (1729), Topkapi palace (19th AD), +Bosphor, +Galata tower (1348), ++Yeni mosque (17th AD), St Irene (532), Fetiye Camii/ Pammakaristos Church (1315, take bus 90 from Beyazit), Kariye Camii/ Church of Chora (13th c mosaics), ++Suleyman's mosque (1557) on a hilltop and its back (view of its back from southwest), Fatih mosque (1470), Roman aqueduct (368), +Archeological Museum (Hittite civilization, Sidon tombs), +Ss Sergius & Bacchus/ Kucuk Ayasofya (530, south of Blue Mosque), St Irene (740), Bosphorus cruise, Metropol Istanbul Tower (301 meters), Skyland Office Istanbul and Skyland Residence Istanbul, Istiklal Avenue
  • Iznik: Nicaea (Lefke Gate, Dormition church with 9th c mosaics)
  • Bursa: Yesil Cami, Ulu Cami Kulliye of Bayazid I (1395)
  • Canakkale: strait of Dardanelles, Archaeological Museum (+Polyxena Sarcophagus)
  • Truva: Troy, 40 kms south of Chanakkale
  • Bergama: +Pergamon, +Asklepieion
  • Izmir: +Nuvist's Opera House (2010)
  • Sardis
  • Efes: +Ephesos
  • Kusadasi: Ottoman caravanserai
  • +Priene
  • Didim: +Didyma, temple of Apollon
  • Miletus
  • Bodrum: +Halikarnassos, castle
  • Pamukkale: +Petrified waterfalls and travertine pools, +Hierapolis
  • ++Afrodisias (140 kms from Pamukkale)
  • Ayazin
  • Fethiye: +Lycian rock tomb of Antimas
  • Kayakov (near Fethiye): abandoned village
  • Tlos, between Antalya and Fethiye: Lycian rock tombs, theater
  • Xanthos (old capital of Lycia)
  • Kale, between Antalya and Fethiye: +Myra (Lycian rock tombs)
  • Letoon (cult center of Lycia)
  • Alanya: +Tershane (old Selcuk Dockyards, 1221), Red tower
  • Antalya: Termessos (theater)
  • Aspendos
  • -Perge
  • Anamur: +Mamuriye Kalesi (fortress), Softa castle
  • Mersin: Tarsus
  • Bozyasi, near Mersin: Korykos (Kizkalesi castle)
  • Pasli, near Mersin: Mausoleum of the Fearless King (Mezgit Kalesi)
  • Osmaniye: Karatepe (13th c BC, Hittite), Hierapolis-Castabala
  • Ankara: Museum of Anatolia
  • Bogazkale: ++Hattusa (Hittite capital), +Yazilikaya (cave tombs)
  • Alacahoyuk: 2200 BC royal tombs
  • Konya: Mevlana Tekkesi, +Alaettin mosque, Keluk bin Abdulla's Ince Minare Medrese,
  • ++Catal Huyuk (neolithic village 60km South-East of Konya)
  • ++Gobekli Tepe in Sanliurfa (oldest temple ever discovered, predating the Egyptian pyramids by 6500 years)
  • Kapadokya/Cappadocia: ++Goreme, +Uchisar, Sultanhani, Devrent Valley near Zelve, underground cities of Kaymakli and Derinkuyu, underground church of Cavusin, Urgup (village), Avanos (village), Soganly Valley, Ihara Valley
  • Kayseri: Archeological museum with findings from Kultepe, Ruins of 1900 BC city of Nesa Kultepe (near Kanes near Kayseri), Doner Gumbat (1276)
  • Sivas (north of Kayseri): Gok Medrese/ Cifte Minare (1271)
  • Sultanhan (40 kms from Kayseri): Sultanaksaray Han/ Sultan Han Portal (13th c)
  • Trabsond/ Trebisond: Hagia Sophia; +Sumela monastery; Camli Yamac; Ulu Cami
  • Sanliurfa/ Urfa: ++Gobasa
  • Harran: + conical houses, Roman ruins
  • Erzurum: Cifte Minaret Medrese (13th c), Ulu cami (12th c), +turbes (round towers with conical roofs)
  • Tercan (west of Erzurum): Mama Hatun's +gumbat, her tomb, caravanserai
  • Georgian churches: Isham (8th c), Oskvank (10th c), Bagbasi (10th c)
  • Kars: +Ani (ancient capital of Armenia)
  • Dogubayazit (between Kars and Van): +Ishak's Palace (1784)
  • Ahlat/ Akhlat (Lake Van): Hatuma's Gumbat (1322), +Bugatay Agha's Gumbat (1281)
  • Kahta: ++Nemrut/ Nemrud Dagh (giant heads of 1st c AD)
  • Malatya (also near Nemrut): Melid's Arslantepe Mound (6kms from Malatya)
  • Diyarbakir
  • Van (border with Armenia and Iran): +Hosap castle, +Akdamar church, Gevas
  • Hasankeyf: The Tigris and 11th c. bridge
  • Mt Ararat
  • Kyrenia/Girne: St Hilarion Castle
  • Lanarca: Church of St Lazarus, Hala Sultan Tekke Mosque (near airport), Tomb of Umm Haram (Mohammed's foster mother)
  • Paphos Archeological Park: +Tombs of the Kings, Roman villas with mosaics
  • Lefkosia/Nicosia (the nominal capital divided in two): Hamam Omeriye, Paneromeni church, Famagusta gate (Scam alert: the Archeological Museum in Nicosia does not allow photos)
  • Choirokoitia: +Neolithic site (near Nicosia)
  • Kourion (between Limassol and Pafos): Greek amphitheater, Sanctuary of Apollo Hylates
  • Famagusta: +Byzantine ruins
  • Salamis: Roman ruins
  • Troodos: Byzantine churches
Notes (2007)
  • $1=1,550,000 liras (2001) but better keep your dollars
  • Visa on arrival at Istanbul airport ($5 for Italy, $45 for US, etc)
  • Hotels in Istanbul: mostly located between Sirkec, Palace & Yerebatan, then around the Sultanahmet square and near the Arasta bazaar ($5-10)
  • Restaurants in Istanbul: some cheap places in a narrow street off Ibn Kemal and of course near the square.
  • Istanbul airport is one of the most modern airports in Europe
  • Airport shuttle $2 from many travel agencies
  • Bus from the airport to downtown is not much cheaper than a taxi
  • From downtown to airport: take metro to Laleli, walk down Mustafa Kemal to railway overpass, Havas bus stop under the bridge every 20' till 23:00
  • Istanbul bus station: take tram to Yusuf Pasa, walk to the metro, take metro to Otogar
  • Istanbul to Edirne is three hours by bus.
  • Boat tour of Phosphorus $2 every morning from pier 3 at 10:35 (2006)
  • Istanbul is the ideal city to use as a base for travel to the Balkans and Middle East: cheap and good tourist infrastructures
  • Cyprus is still split in two but transit between the two sides is now allowed.
  • Scam alert: the Archeological Museum in Nicosia does not allow photos
  • Ferries regularly run from Turkey to Kyrenia, Northern Cyprus, from where you can then take a bus to Larnaca.
Notes (2011)
  • $1=1.5TL. Internet TL2 for one hour. Soda can: $1.
  • Cyprus. Money: euro. No visa required for European/USA citizens. Excellent tourist information office at the airport. Bus from Larnaka airport to Larnaka town 1E. Youth Hostel E20 (single room).
  • Fly Cyprus - Adana 97 TL. Adana airport to bus station 15 TL. Bus Adana - Urfa 25 TL.
  • Hotel in Urfa: Ipek Palais 40 TL. Vegetarian dishes: corba soup and kasarly pide (cheese pizza). Bus Urfa- Harran 4 TL 1 hour and back. From the Harran "bus station" walk straight towards the visible Aleppo Gate and keep going straight coasting the border post to the left.. Bus Urfa-Adyaman 10 TL 2 hours.
  • Hotel in Kahta: Pension Kommagene 30 TL. Transportation to Nemrut and nearby ancient sites 120 TL. Kahta to Trabzon/Trebisong bus 55 TL.
  • Bus Kahta-Trabzon 55 TL 19 hours. Trabzon to Sumela monastery: 50 TL roundtrip 8 TL entrance ticket. Trabzon to Aya Sofia 3 TL 3 TL entrance ticket. Bus Trabzon to Sunguryu (near Ankara) to reach Bogazkale (the last town before the ruins of Hattusa) 40 TL.
  • Goreme's Open Air Museum TL23. Bike rental TL12. Kaymakl underground city TL 15. Bus Goreme-Kaymakli-Goreme TL 10. Paradise Cave Hotelk TL35. Set veggie dinner at S&S Restaurant TL 12.
  • Bus Trabzon-Surgulum 10 hours 40 TL. Buses Surgulum-Bogazkale-Surgulum 63 TL. Hattusa entrance 5 TL. Buses Surgulum-Kirikkale-Kayseri-Goreme 40 TL 6 hours (make sure you take a bus to Goreme and not just to Nersehir - only a few lines get to Goreme itself). Paradise Cave Hotel 35 TL with bath +. S&S Restaurant 9TL for set veggie dinner +.
  • Bus Goreme-Konya 25TL, 3 hours. City bus from Otogar to Eska Garaj 2TL 20 minutes. Bus from Eska Garaj to Churma and back 3.50 TL x 2 45'. Taxi to/from Catal Huyuk 30 TL 15'. Overnight bus from Konya to Antalya 25 TL 5 hours.
  • Bus Antalya - Demre 15 TL 3h and walk 30 minutes. Entrance to Myra TL10. Bus Demre-Fethiye TL17 3.5h. then dolmus to nearest town and walk 4kms to Tlos. Fethiye Pamakkule 25 TL 3h. HotelKervenserey 35TL. Entrance to Hierapolis 10TL. Bus Pamukkale - Geyre 140 km 30TL 1.5h. Entrance to Afrodisias 8TL. Bus Pamukkale to Soke 23TL 3.5h. Taxi to Altinkum's hotel 15TL. Hotel Temple 35TL (wildly discounted rate because this is a three-star hotel).
  • Bus from Didim to Soke to Efes 20TL 2hours and then walk for 1 km. Entrance to Ephesos 20TL. Bus from Efes to Bergama via Izmir 16TL 3 hours and the bus station of Bergama is very far from Bergama. Gobi Pension in Bergama 35TL.
  • Bergama: Akropol TL 20 Cablecar TL8, Asklepion TL 15 Bus Bergama-Canakkale 25TL 4h but the turnoff for Troya is 37 kms before Canakkale and then walk 5 kms Bus Canakkale-Edirne 30TL 3.5 hours.
  • Bus Edirne to Istanbul 20 TL 3 hours or less
  • Istanbul used to be my favorite European city. Unfortunately, it has converted to the euro and it has become expensive. Worse: people have become greedy and aggressive. You can't literally walk around downtown anymore. You are constantly approached by people who want to sell you something. For the first time in this trip i had to sleep in a dormitory bed because single rooms were too expensive. The area south of the Blue Mosque used to be popular with us backpackers but i guess we spread the secret a bit too much and now it has become a touristy area packed with clueless affluent tourists. Difficult to have a decent meal for less than 10 euros (15 dollars)
  • Metro bus line to Istanbul has a free shuttle to the Aksaray tram station. You have to wait quite a bit for the shuttle and the shuttle ride is quite long, so the transfer can easily take one hour. From Aksaray it's about 20 minutes by tram to the Blue Mosque square 1.75 TL. Budget Hostel south of the Blue Mosque 15TL dormitory bed. Walking up the Galata Tower costs 20TL. To go to the airport you can take the tram 1.75TL to Zeytinburnu and then the subway M1 to the airport 1.75 TL in about one hour total.