Turkey - View from the Inside

"...particularly impressed by the ancient sites, which match almost any Greek and Roman sites in the Ancient World."

May 2014 • Jules Verne

Turkey - View from the Inside

Last year I visited Turkey and was particularly impressed by the ancient sites, which match almost any Greek and Roman sites in the Ancient World. Ephesus is still being revealed and I saw the latest discoveries at the ‘terraced houses’, including some beautifully delicate frescoes.

Aphrodisias was a surprise with temples and stadium almost matching Ephesus and sculptures in the new museum to rival the Acropolis museum. After visiting the Pergamon museum in Berlin, I had always wanted to see the original ancient site, which turned out to have the most dramatic location of all and the steepest theatre I have seen. Hierapolis impressed also with its museum and theatre, although my attention was distracted here by swimming in the thermal pool and walking through the adjoining travertine terraces of Pamukkale, a unique experience – even the hotels here have natural hot mud pools, so hot I jumped in and straight out again! Even Izmir, not mentioned so much in guidebooks, had its own small ancient site – walking along the waterfront here in the evening and choosing from a great array of restaurants was a good experience and the bazaar also revealed a couple of great secrets.

Istanbul has ancient sites and many layers of history. From Byzantine times I especially enjoyed the mosaics at St. Saviour, which match the more famous ones at St Sofia. The Ottomans later outdid the Byzantines in magnificence at the Topkapi and Dolmabahce palaces, the former with interesting museums and the unique harem, the latter still beautifully furnished. I visited the ‘Orient-Express’ Sirkeci station and had a drink at beautifully renovated Pera Palas, where train guests used to stay. The Bosphorus cruise was a more relaxing interlude revealing beautiful Ottoman wooden houses. The recent BBC programme on ‘Byzantium-A Tale of three Cities’ did not exaggerate!”

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