Istanbul, known as the only city in the world to be located in two continents, namely Europe and Asia, is arguably the top pick for any visitor.
OCTOBER 29: TURKEY REPUBLIC DAY SPECIAL
With Istanbul as its capital, the ancient Ottoman Empire was at the epicentre of interactions between the western and the eastern world for more than six centuries. At present, known as the Republic of Turkey, it still attracts millions of visitors from around the world. In addition to its rich history and culture that have been nurtured over many centuries, Turkey has a variety of attractions for its diverse visitors; turquoise blue coasts, quaint old towns, natural wonders such as the world famous Cappadocia region, beautiful architecture, and delicious food ranging from stuffed grape leaf sarma, to world famous Turkish delight.
However, the COVID-19 pandemic was devastating for many countries, especially for those that relied on tourism and travel for economic stability. Tourism sector as one of the major pillars of Turkish economy was severely affected due to the unprecedented pandemic. According to the data compiled by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism and Statistics Institute of Turkey, foreign visitors arriving in Turkey contracted by nearly 72% with only 12.7 million foreign visitors recorded in 2020 whereas Turkey welcomed 45 million foreign visitors during 2019 pre-pandemic period. In terms of tourism income this reduction equals to a loss of USD 22.5 billion.
Looking at the way forward while gearing up to welcome more visitors, Turkey has successfully employed a measured approach that included a speedy vaccination program. As part of the measures, Turkey also disinfected entire towns and city neighbourhoods while certifying health and safety standards to make sure tourists enjoy the country’s wonderful attractions without any fear.
Istanbul, known as the only city in the world to be located in two continents, namely Europe and Asia, is arguably the top pick for any visitor. With attractions such as Hagia Sophiawhich was originally a Greek Orthodox Christian patriarchal basilica and later an imperial mosque, and the Blue Mosque with its ornate interior, the city boasts of numerous historic attractions for any tourist. There are also a number of palaces which served the Ottoman Empire around Istanbul and in certain cities.
Some other top cities for tourists include Antalya, a coastal gateway to the Mediterranean, and Cappadocia, which is full of other worldly rock formations referred to as the “fairy chimneys”. Another fascinating region is Ephesus, an ancient city located in Turkey’s Central Aegean region, and Pamukkale with its hot springs and mineral-rich thermal waters flowing down white travertine terraces.
For tourists looking for an active holiday, there are a number of activities that will amaze your stay in Turkey. The geographic structure of Turkey is an appropriate ground for hunting in connection with its plant cover and wild life. Turkey is also an important centre of winter activities and attractions with its high altitude mountains covered with snow all throughout the year.
In recent years, since the golf facilities with international quality entered into service respectively, Turkey has become an elite golf center where golf players all around the world meet in an environment of delicacy, quality and prestige. Furthermore, surrounded by the sea in three directions, Turkey is a treasure chest of coves, inletsand bays at which yachtsmen can choose a different and private anchorage each night. With an approximate number of 40.000 caves and caverns present, Turkey is like a ‘ paradise of caverns ‘ when compared to other countries. Without doubt, Turkey is an ultimate destination for those fond of air sports such as, Paragliding, Glider, Parachute and Balloon.
Last but not least, Turkey as a homeland of various religions, possesses monuments worth seeing by people having different beliefs. ŞanlıurfaGöbekliTepe is one such archaeological site one should definitely visit in their lifetime as it is considered to be the oldest and largest ritual site of the world which proved the effect of religious belief on the transition to a settled life.
For the compulsive shopper, Turkey is a paradise with its modern shopping malls, historical bazaars to local markets. The country has been a magnet for tourists from the time of the ancient silk route, and even today its bustling markets are a great place to shop for handwoven Turkish carpets, jewellery, antiques and ceramics. Istanbul, Antalya, and Izmir are some of the best shopping destinations.
With millennia of history and culture shaped and influenced by being located at cross roads between the East and the West, Turkey’s picturesque landscapes, its friendly people and delicious food are the things that make memories for a lifetime.