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Mardin | © Feride Yalav
Mardin | © Feride Yalav

20 Must-Visit Attractions in Turkey

Picture of Feride Yalav-Heckeroth
Updated: 27 April 2017

Having witnessed the rise and fall of many empires as well as the lives of many different cultures and religions, Turkey is chock full of historical wonders. From abandoned monasteries and ancient cities to the most popular touristic structures, check out this roundup of the most important attractions in Turkey.


An ancient town that runs alongside the Tigris River, visitors should witness this small city’s stunning remains from the Artuqid period before a dam project floods it.

Hasankeyf, Batman


One of Turkey’s most beautiful cities, Mardin’s narrow streets, historic stone houses, and hidden churches are absolutely mesmerizing.

Mardin, Artuklu

Alahan Monastery

The Alahan Monastery can be dated back to the fifth century and is one of the best examples of Isaurian stonemasonry, hidden away at an altitude of 4,000 feet.

Alahan Manastırı, Mersin


This once magnificent medieval Armenian city may lay in ruins but its remains continue to stun visitors, especially because of their location in the idyllic Kars province landscape.

Ani Ruins, Kars 


An ancient city once inhabited by a Greek speaking population, Kayaköy is now a stunning ghost town with two beautiful Greek Orthodox churches.

Kayaköy, Muğla 


A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the city of Safranbolu is known for its very well-preserved Ottoman era houses and architecture.

Safranbolu, Karabük

Sumela Monastery

Built into a steep cliff in the Trabson province, the Greek Orthodox Sumela Monastery is not only beloved for its architecture but also its frescoes.

Sümela Manastırı, Trabzon


Once a powerful fortress on the Euphrater river, Rumkale continues to amaze because of its location across a glistening blue peninsula.

Rumkale, Gaziantep


A stunning city where historic structures (dating as far back as 304 BC) stand alongside modern constructions and the excellent cuisine reflects its deep history.

Şanlıurfa Merkez


Çıralı is not only known for its gorgeous beach but also the remains of the ancient Lycian city of Olympos, which is believed to have been constructed around the 4th century BC.

Olimpos, Antalya

Alanya Kalesi

This beautiful castle was built in 1226 under the Seljuk Sultanate of Rum and continues to overlook the city from a rocky peninsula.

Alanya Kalesi, Alanya 


One of Turkey’s most famous sights, the fairy chimneys and underground cities of Cappadocia are truly stunning, as well as the famous hot air balloon tour.

Cappadocia, Göreme


This ancient Greek city is one of the most visited historical sights in the world due to the excellent state of its magnificent structures.

Efes, Selçuk 


The ancient Greco-Roman city in the Antalya province is best known for its incredibly well-preserved theater.

Aspendos, Antalya


Once a powerful ancient Greek city, the ruins of Pergamon, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, continue to amaze visitors.

Pergamon, Bergama

Mevlana Museum

The mausoleum of the famous Sufi mystic and poet Jalal ad-Din Muhammad Rumi is one of Konya’s most important sights.

Mevlana Müzesi, Konya

Nemrut Dağı

At the summit of this 2,134-metre-high mountain is a collection of ancient sculptures believed to be a royal tomb.

Nemrut Dağı, Adıyaman


The mausoleum of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk is a true feat of architecture and is one of Ankara’s most important structures.

Anıtkabir, Ankara

Aya Sofya

A visit to Istanbul would not be complete without exploring this stunning Greek Orthodox Christian patriarchal basilica that now serves as a museum.

Aya Sofya, Istanbul 


The hot spring and pure white travertines of Pamukkale have become an iconic image associated with Turkey.

Pamukkale, Denizli