UNESCO Heritage Sites in Turkey You Need to Visit Right Now

Great Mosque and Hospital of Divriği
Great Mosque and Hospital of Divriği | © Bertramz/Wikimedia Commons
Feride Yalav-Heckeroth

There’s a wealth of history in Turkey from ancient civilizations to powerful empires and the birth of a republic. Here are some amazing places you should check off your own travel list while you’re in Turkey, due to their inclusion in the much-respected UNESCO World Heritage List.

1. Aphrodisias

1. Aphrodisias
© Zigomar/Wikimedia Commons

This ancient Greek city, located in southwestern Turkey in the Aydın province, continues to impress visitors with its archaeological site, marble quarries, and the temple of Aphrodite that dates back to the 3rd century BCE.

Geyre Mahallesi, 09385 Karacasu, Aydın Province

Aphrodisias | © Zigomar/Wikimedia Commons

2. Archaeological Site of Ani

Church, Ruins

Quite the surreal sight, Ani, located on a secluded plateau that overlooks the Turkish and Armenian border, was a medieval city that flourished in the 10th and 11th centuries when it was the capital of the Bagratides Armenian kingdom.

Ocaklı Köyü Yolu, 36000 Ocaklı Köyü, Kars

Church in Ani | © Heidi B/Wikimedia Commons

3. Archaeological Site of Troy


One of the most famous archaeological sites with a history that spans back around 4000 years, the uncovering of Troy demonstrated the first contact between Anatolian and Mediterranean civilizations.

Tevfikiye Köyü,17100 Çanakkale Merkez, Çanakkale

Ruins of | © Troy David Spender/Wikimedia Commons

6. Ephesus

Museum, Ruins

One of Turkey’s most popular tourist sights, the monuments belonging to the Roman Imperial period at Ephesus are impressive due to the well preserved states, most notable the Library of Celsus.

Atatürk Mh., Atatürk Mah, Uğur Mumcu Sevgi Yolu, 35920 Selçuk, İzmir

Ephesus | © LASZLO ILYES/Wikimedia Commons

7. Great Mosque and Hospital of Divriği


Great Mosque of Divriği
© Mxcil/Wikimedia Commons
A masterpiece of Islamic architecture, the Great Mosque of Divriği is located in the Sivas province and impresses with its advanced vault construction and beautifully ornate decorations.

8. Hattusha

Archaeological site

8. Hattusha
© Rita1234/Wikimedia Commons

The former capital of the Hittite Empire continues to impress even as an archeological site that exhibits notable urban organization as well as the beauty of rich ornamentation found at the gates.

Hisar Mahallesi, 19310 Boğazkale, Çorum Province

Hattusha | © Rita1234/Wikimedia Commons

10. Nemrut Dağı

10. Nemrut Dağı
© Christian Koehn/Wikimedia Commons

The hike up this mountain is rewarded by the sight of the mausoleum of King Antiochus (who ruled over the kingdom of Commagene) a site considered to be one of the Hellenistic period’s most ambitious works.

Kayadibi Köyü,02400 Kâhta, Adıyaman Province

Nemrut Dağı | © Christian Koehn/Wikimedia Commons

11. Neolithic Site of Çatalhöyük

Çatalhöyük is one of the world’s most important archeological sites because of the discovery of wall paintings, reliefs, sculptures, and more demonstrating the evolution of social organization and culture.

Küçükköy Mahallesi, Çatalhöyük Yolu, 42500 Çumra, Konya

Çatalhöyük | © Drgulcu/Wikimedia Commons

12. Pergamon


12. Pergamon
© Carlos Delgado/Wikimedia Commons

Once the capital of the Attalid dynasty, Pergamon was founded in the 3rd century BC and continues to stun visitors with the remains of such structures as the steep theater, the Kybele Sanctuary, and the Great Altar of Pergamon.

Zafer Mahallesi, 35700 Bergama, İzmir

Pergamon | © Carlos Delgado/Wikimedia Commons

13. Selimiye Mosque and its Social Complex


Selimiye Mosque Dome
© ROFI44WIK/Wikimedia Commons
Considered to be one of Mimar Sinan’s greatest works, the Selimiye Mosque in Edirne impresses with its vast structure and tile work in its exterior that exemplify the apogee of the Iznik art.

14. Xanthos-Letoon

Archaeological site

14. Xanthos-Letoon
© Carole Raddato/Wikimedia Commons

Once the capital of the Lycian Empire, this archeological site in Antalya, which displays the most unique architecture belonging to the Lycians, was vital in the understanding of the Lycian people as well as their language.

Kınık Mahallesi, Fethiye Karayolu, 07970 Kalkan, Antalya

Xanthos Letoon | © Carole Raddato/Wikimedia Commons

15. Göreme National Park and the Rock Sites of Cappadocia


© Brocken Inaglory/Wikimedia Commons
It’s no surprise that the truly mysterious landscape of Cappadocia — with its erosion formed fairy chimneys, underground cities, and rock sanctuaries — is on UNESCO’s list.

16. Hierapolis-Pamukkale

Ruins, Spa


The white travertine terraces of Pamukkale are a truly exceptional natural landscape as well as the nearby ruins of the thermal spa of Hierapolis established by the kings of Pergamon in the 2nd century BC.

Pamukkale, Turkey

Pamukkale | © Pvasiliadis/Wikimedia Commons

landscape with balloons floating in the air


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