The history of TURKEY originates in the distant past, more distant than you can imagine. This is the land of the Garden of Eden. It is the land that has become the cradle of the oldest cities we know. This is where the history of great empires was written: Hittites, Lycians, Romans and Ottomans.

This is the land sung in an ancient epic of Troy. This is the land that unites the continents. Now Turkey is a country for unforgettable journeys. Turkey has perfectly preserved its millennia-old history, allowing us to touch it today. It is a land of UNESCO World Heritage sites, unique culture and cuisine, turquoise coast and incredible adventures.

UNESCO World Heritage sites in Turkey

Hierapolis and Pamukkale

In Pamukkale, the water from the thermal springs has created one of the most spectacular landscapes – the dazzling “white castle” of travertine terraces. “Pamukkale” literally means “cotton castle” in Turkish. The beauty of this place was recognized back in the Greco-Roman period. Pamukkale served as a kind of resort and spa center at least 2200 years ago.

Selimiye Mosque and its social complex

The Selimiye Mosque was inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List in 2011. It is located in Edirne, an ancient city in the very west of Turkey. The mosque is the work of the famous Ottoman architect Mimar Sinan, who considered it his best work. Its four slender minarets rise to over 82 metres. They still dominate Edirne’s horizon.

Göreme National Park and the rocky buildings of Cappadocia

In the heart of Turkey, in the town of Göreme and its surroundings, there is a unique national park. Göreme is probably one of the most fantastic landscapes on Earth. It is more like a part of the Martian or lunar landscape. The main feature of Göreme National Park is the hundreds of stone mushrooms called “Magic Chimneys” of Cappadocia.

City of Safranbolu

The museum city of Safranbolu is located 90 km south of the Black Sea. This city saw its heyday in the 13th century, when it became the main stop on the trade route of the Ottoman Empire. Many of the beautiful buildings built during the following centuries are well preserved to this day: mosques, baths, historic hotels and religious schools. The city is also widely known for its saffron growing, hence its name Safranbolu.

Hattusa is the capital of the Hittite kingdom.

From about 1600 to 1180 BC, the Hittites created and extended their great empire. During its heyday, it extended to most of modern Turkey, Mesopotamia and the Levant. The capital of this empire was the city of Hattusa (Hattusash), located near the modern town of Boğazkale in the Black Sea region of Turkey. This ancient capital of the Hittite Kingdom was erected on top of a rocky hill.

Historic districts of Istanbul

Istanbul probably needs no introduction. This city, connecting Europe with Asia through the Bosphorus Strait, played a key role in the rise and fall of several world powers. During its centuries-long history, the city has changed more than one name: from Byzantium and Constantinople to the modern name Istanbul.


Ephesus is another place in Turkey, whose history has been written for many millennia. Being the capital of the ancient kingdom of Artsav, Ephesus already in 1500 BC fell into Greek dependence. Most of the structures and artifacts of Ephesus that have survived today belong to the Roman period, which began in 129 BC. Even in ancient times, Ephesus had the status of a legendary city. It was one of the 12 cities of the Ionian Union in Ancient Greece.

Mount Nemrut

In the southeast of Turkey, Mount Nemrut rises on the Eastern Taurus Mountain Range. Its peak is located at an altitude of 2134 meters above sea level, near the modern city of Adyaman. At the very top of Mount Nemrut is the tomb of King Antiochus I. It was built in the 1st century BC in the middle of a huge mound surrounded by artificial terraces and many sculptures.

Archeological sights of Troy

When the Greeks sailed across the Aegean Sea on a thousand ships to bring back the beautiful Helena from Troy, their goal was present Turkey. After many years of bloody battle, the Greeks were cunning. They pretended to retreat to the valor of the Trojans. As a gift, the Greeks built a large wooden horse for them. We know the further fall of Troy.

The Grand Mosque and Hospital in Divrigi

The city of Divrigi is located in the eastern central part of Turkey. It was one of the first cities besieged during the early Turkish conquests in Anatolia. The Great Mosque in Divrigi was built in 1228. Its architecture is impressive with its vaulted ceilings and exquisite stone carvings on gates and columns. The hospital adjoining the mosque has an equally unusual architecture. The mountainous terrain of the region creates a feeling of complete remoteness from civilization.

Pergamum and its multifaceted cultural landscape

On the territory of Turkey there are many World Heritage sites related to Greco-Roman history. But Pergamos stands out against their background. In ancient times, the city was ruled by both Greeks and Persians. The highest heyday of Pergamos was in the Hellenistic era. In those days, it was the capital of the kingdom of Pergamum under the Greek Attalid dynasty.

The Neolithic settlement of Chatalhuyuk

Over 5,000 years ago, people in this part of the world began doing things that had never been done before. They began to settle down. The end of the nomadic way of life led to the birth of agriculture. It served as the basis for the construction of villages, cities, and eventually led to the formation of civilizations.

Diyarbakir Fortress and Hevsel Gardens

In the city of Diyarbakir in southeast Turkey, ancient and modern times are intertwined. Situated on the bank of the Upper Tigris River, modern Diyarbakir covers the vast territory of the old city and fortress with preserved walls and watch towers, ruins and beautiful views of the river basin. The gardens of Hevsel form a green corridor that connects the city with the Tigris River.

Bursa and Jumalykyzyk: The Birth of the Ottoman Empire

In the outskirts of the modern metropolis of Bursa there is a village, which can safely be called the homeland of the Ottoman Empire. This is where Orhan Gazi, the founder of the Ottoman dynasty, is buried. Walking through the cobblestone streets of Jumalykızık village and admiring the well-preserved architectural style of the Ottoman era, you can feel that time has stopped here.

Xantos and Letoon

To the south of modern Fethiye are the ruins of the ancient city of Xantos (Xanthos). Xanthos was the center of Lycia, a Late Bronze Age civilization in southern Turkey. In 540 BC the city fell under pressure from the Persians. Later it was captured by the Greeks, and then by the Romans. Xantos is a place for those who are interested in ancient history and heritage of ancient Lycia.

Historic city of Ani

One of the new UNESCO World Heritage sites in Turkey is the ruins of the medieval city of Ani. This site is located near the city of Kars in eastern Turkey. The history of settlement in this place dates back probably to 500 BC. However, the city became widely known only around 900 AD. The Great Silk Road trade route passed through this region.


In the southwest of Turkey there is another landmark that was included in the UNESCO World Heritage List in 2017. The ruins of the ancient city of Aphrodisias are 166 km from the resort town of Kusadasi, near the village of Geyre. Aphrodisias was first the center of the cult of the Mesopotamian goddess Ishtar and then Aphrodite.

Göbekli Tepe

In the upper reaches of the Euphrates River, in the southeast of Turkey, among the many hills lost a small town of Shanlyurfa. In 18 kilometers from it one of significant archeological discoveries of our time was made. Kurgan Göbekli-Tepe hid for millennia what today archeologists consider the most ancient cult construction of mankind.

On the territory of Turkey, many sites have already been recognized as UNESCO World Heritage Sites as masterpieces of human genius or natural phenomena of exceptional beauty and aesthetic importance.