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9 Ancient Sites and Cities You Should Visit in Turkey

A panorama of the famous Termessos theater
A panorama of the famous Termessos theater | © Chris Walsh / Flickr
The number of ancient sites in Turkey is truly staggering. Here are some of the most popular and some of the more remote (though equally stunning) ancient sites in Turkey.

Ephesus

Archaeological site
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The magnificent Celsus Library in Ephesus | © michael.berlin / Flickr
Certainly the most popular and well-preserved of the archeological sites, Ephesus dates back to the 10th century, and combines Greek, Roman, and early Christian culture. Its most famous structures are the Library of Celsus and the Temple of Artemis, as well as the nearby House of the Virgin Mary.
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Göbekli Tepe

Archaeological site
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The main excavation site at Göbekli Tepe | © Dan Merino / Flickr
Discovered by German archaeologist Klaus Schmidt in 1994, Göbekli Tepe was an astounding find that completely altered what was known about prehistory. It’s believed that the temple structures were built about the 10th millennium BCE, and therefore are the oldest example of such large-scale architecture in the world.
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Hierapolis

Archaeological site
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The beautiful ancient city of Hierapolis in summer | © Chris Parfitt / Flickr
Many are familiar with the travertine pools of Pamukkale, but fewer are familar with the ancient city of Hierapolis nearby. Once a significant destination for its healing hot springs, it’s still possible to swim in the hot mineral waters and visit the city’s great Roman theater.
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Hattusha

Archaeological site
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The Lion's gate at the ancient city of Hattusha | © Maarten / Flickr
Once the capital city of the Hittite Empire, Hattusha is one of Turkey’s most important archeological sites, dating back to the Bronze Age. The remains continue to stun visitors, including one of the ancient world’s most sophisticated libraries, as well as underground tunnels, temples, and palaces.
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Priene

Archaeological site
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The Temple of Athena, funded by Alexander the Great in Priene | © oarranzli / Flickr
An ancient Greek city that once overlooked the sea from its steep slopes and terraces, Priene is famous for its significant works of Hellenistic art and architecture. Notable structures include the Temple of Athena, an agora and stoa, an assembly hall, and a well-preserved theater.
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