Turkey, an Exotic Holiday Destination
Flights to this exotic holiday destination are cheapest if you depart from the UK or Europe. There are many cheap flights to Turkey on European and Turkish airlines flying into Atatürk International Airport - Istanbul's main international airport. When arranging your flights to Turkey , consider booking flights slightly off season, ie in May, August or September. Spring and autumn are great times to visit, and perfect for sightseeing in Istanbul. The highlights of this exotic city, include some of the world's most ancient buildings and historical sites, all mainly located in the old city, which used to be the great trading power known as Constantinople. Take in the sights at the bustling traditional bazaars selling spices, nuts and oils, visit the historical Turkish baths (Hamams), or take a cruise on the Bosphorus Strait through the heart of Istanbul, past palaces, fortresses and villages.
Top places to visit in Istanbul
Topkapi Palace - is one of the top sights in Istanbul and the oldest and largest palace surviving today. As well as the Ottomans sultans residence, the palace functioned as an administrative and educational centre. Highlights include the harem(private residence) and baths, a magnificent treasury, tree shaded courtyards and grounds, with views to the sea and city.
The Blue Mosque(Sultan Ahmet Mosque) - this famous mosque is a monument of Turkish and Islamic art. Built with six minarets, and a magnificently decorated interior included blue tiles lining the high interior ceiling.
Hagia Sophia(Aya Sofya Museum) -This basilica was built by the Romans in the 6th century and show cases their engineering, with its massive dome covering the largest enclosed place for over 1000 years. Under the rule of the Ottomans the church became a mosque, and now as a museum, preserves the uncovered precious mosaics, delicate stone work and calligraphies within.
Attractions in Turkey
Travel to Turkey during the warm summer months -May to September, and enjoy the sunny Aegean and Mediterranean coasts or the Black Sea.
Turkey's Mediterranean coast
Turkey's Turquoise Coast stretches along 1600 kms of sandy beaches, is the ideal holiday destination. The resort towns along the coast range from chic yachting ports, to quiet and peaceful traditional towns. An unusual destination is Olympos, noted for its tree-house styled hostels that attract backpackers. Here you can find Greek ruins lost in the undergrowth, and the eternal flame mysteriously burning from the rocks, known as the Chimaera.
The archaeological site of Ephesus is another of the most popular attractions in Turkey. The city ruins include the Temple of Artemis, a wonder of the ancient world, as well at the Great Theater (still used for special events today), the Library of Celsus, of which the façade has recently been reconstructed from original pieces.
In central Turkey, this is a truly extraordinary region, with soaring rock formations known as fairy chimneys. Many of these have been hollowed out for houses, churches or storage, and lavishly decorated. Mysterious underground cities with the opportunity to stay in an underground hotel is a totally unique experience. Explore the region by foot or on balloon rides, and visit the recently discovered Gümüsler monastery.
Turkeys beautiful natural spa of white travertine shelves and pools, formed from cascading warm spring water. The ancient spa city of Hierapolis was built around the source of the spring, and you can still swim in the Scared pool, while visiting the ruins.
A visit to Turkey for many New Zealanders is often a pilgrimage in remembrance of the Anzac battles at Gallipoli. The Gallipoli peninsula is a sacred site commemorating the thousands of soldiers who were wounded and lost their lives there during WW1 battles. Remembrance ceremonies are a huge attraction, the Turks commemorations in March, and the Australians and New Zealanders on Anzac day, April 25.