AEGEAN SEA REGION

One region for all ages

As the birthplace of Homer and Herodotus and the adopted land of Aristides and Thales, the Aegean could easily be characterized as the gateway to Ancient Greece. Yet add to the stunning and fertile Mediterranean panoramas, two of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, all seven of the Churches of the Revelation and a dose of Turkey’s celebrated hospitality and it becomes very clear that Turkey offers something completely different: a bit of the exotic yet familiar, where the ancient and the modern converge to form one, unique, monumental and irresistible cultural experience.

The most famous archeological site in the region is Ephesus.  As the capital of Roman Asia Minor, Ephesus is still richly endowed with marble temples, mosaics and a 25,000-seat Great Theater.  The city, whose wealth and patronage supported its splendid architectural program, was dedicated to the goddess Artemis, and her enormous temple was once considered one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.  St. Paul spoke here, and later wrote his famous Epistle to the Ephesians.  The ruins are less than 40 miles south of Izmir, and a short trip from one of the best harbors in all of Turkey, Kusadasi, which welcomes cruise ships throughout the year.

As custodian to the Seven Churches of Asia Minor, located in the ancient cities of Smyrna (Izmir), Pergamon (Bergama), Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia, Laodicea and Ephesus, the Aegean region played a central role in the evolution of Christianity, permanently altering the way an entire civilization perceived the faith. St. Peter’s sermon to the Ephesians took place in the Great Theater at Ephesus, while tradition holds that the Virgin Mary ascended to heaven upon her death from her final home at Ephesus. The tomb of St. John the Baptist is said to be on the site of the Basilica of St. John, also built in Ephesus by Justinian to honor the saint.

Pamukkale’s blinding white travertine pools, fed for millennia by calcium-rich underground springs, seduces prospective guests not only with thermal spas and soothing treatments, but with the outstanding ruins of Hierapolis, site of the martyrdom of St. Peter and home to the best-preserved ancient theater in Turkey.

In the nearby site of Aphrodisias, archaeologists have been working since 1961 to uncover a city that since has revealed extraordinary temples, amphitheatres, agoras, sculptures and a remarkably preserved stadium that rivals anything you will see at Ephesus.

It was in Pergamon, home of the original Great Library, where parchment was first created. Civilization’s first coins were minted in Sardis, and it was from this thriving city that the expression “Rich as Croesus,” was inspired.

As the gateway to the region and its defacto capital, Izmir took over where ancient Smyrna left off. Today, this sprawling city of palm-lined boulevards and waterfront promenades is a vital commercial and cultural center, proudly upholding its role as “Turkey’s Second City.” With nary a snap of the finger, you can find yourself relaxing in a thermal spring in Çesme, participating in one of the city’s celebrated international festivals, windsurfing on the Bay of Alaçati or conducting business at an industry congress.

To the south, past the bustling resort town and cruise ship port of Kusadasi, lie the impressive remains of Miletus, once a great center of commerce and thought in the ancient world, and birthplace to pre-Socratic philosophers such as Thales, Anaximander and Anaximenes. The nearby site of Didyma served as the religious outpost for Miletus and is famous for its magnificent temple dedicated to Apollo.

For active pursuits, visitors can enjoy the Blue Voyage in a traditional broad-beamed wooden gulet or go scuba diving into the Aegean recesses of Çanakkale, Kusadasi or Bodrum to glimpse the watery graves of ancient and contemporary shipwrecks.

The ancient and the modern seem to fuse together perfectly in tanned and tony Bodrum, where the home of Halicarnassus of Herodotus resides together with Byzantine basilicas, Ottoman era cisterns, tranquil bays and purely cosmopolitan revelry. As Turkey’s own home-grown St. Tropez, Bodrum has become synonymous with the kind of get-away-from-it-all day and nightlife, that is sure to sooth all of your senses. 

 

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    YILDIZ PALACE

    Yildiz Palace and Park, Istanbul, Turkey

    Activity Type: Daily Activity

    YILDIZ PALACE   Yildiz Palace, covering an area of 500,000 square meters on a location ...

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    Xanthos

    Xanthos/Antalya Turkey

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    Xanthos Xanthos: On the way to Fethiye from Patara you’ll come to an antique town built on a ...

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    Topkapı Palace

    Topkapi Palace Museum, Istanbul, Turkey

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    Topkapı Palace After the conquest of Istanbul by Mehmed the Conqueror at 1453, construction of ...

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    Termessos

    Termessos, Bayatbademleri Köyü/Korkuteli/Antalya, Turkey

    Activity Type: Daily Activity

    Termessos A visit to the ruins of the ancient city of Termessos is an unforgettable experience, ...

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    Sultan ahmet Mosque

    Sultan Ahmed Mosque, Fatih, Turkey

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    Sultan ahmet Mosque  “Blue Mosque”   The cascading domes and six slender minarets ...

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    Süleymaniye Mosque

    Süleymaniye, 34116 Fatih/İstanbul, Turkey

    Activity Type: Daily Activity

    Süleymaniye Mosque The Blue Mosque was commissioned by Sultan Ahmet I when he was only 19 years ...

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    Simena

    Simena Antik Kenti, Demre/Antalya, Turkey

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    Simena Simena (Kale): Receiving its beauty from its history, sea and sun, Simena is accessible ...

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    Patara

    Patara Plajı 07975 Kaş/Antalya Turkey

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    Patara Patara: It is on Kalkan-Fethiye road, nearly 10 km after Kalkan and is located at the ...

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    Myra

    Demre/Antalya, Turkey

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    Myra Myra (Demre): The town lies 25 km west of Finike and 48 km east of Kaş. It is one of the ...

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    Antalya Museum

    Antalya Müzesi Konyaaltı Cad. No:88-07050 ANTALYA

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    Antalya Museum The province of Antalya is endowed with the richest natural and historic ...

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