The vast wonders of Turkey - more than a place of remembrance

02/04/2014

This year marks the 99th anniversary of ANZAC Day which will see thousands of people visit the city of Gallipoli to pay their respects and experience the area’s rich history. But the history of that renowned time isn’t all Turkey has to offer.

Curious? The following outlines some of the great attractions and things to do in this vibrant country.

Historical landmarks worth seeing

Turkey is rich in history, both regarding the ANZACs and further into the past, with many religious structures and old cities still standing tall, giving a glimpse of how people used to live. One of the most popular regions to visit is Cappadocia. The area is known as an open-air museum, featuring many fairy chimneys and churches, with stunning vast rocky landscapes dotted with rabbits and camels. Another area that is very popular is the ancient city of Aydın Aphrodisias. This unique city was named after Aphrodite, the goddess of beauty and love, and has origins dating back to the Neolithic ages. The city is comprised of looming temples, remnants of the old city and the Bishop’s Palace, which is a huge Gothic palace open to tourists for guided tours. Today, only a quarter of the city has been excavated. Some other areas worth visiting are Anavarza, Aspendos, Kars and Colossae.

Celebrate with the locals

The country of Turkey has been called home by many different communities and civilisations for thousands of years. This great cross-section of people has spawned many traditions and rituals that are still practiced today. Everything from birth and marriage to holidays and military send-off gatherings are celebrated with great enthusiasm and special preparations. Reflecting the rich Anatolian culture, these traditions are among the most precious of the nation. The Turkish are happy to let tourists get involved, often teaching you on the spot how to dance, toast and join in the festivities.

The Turkish are also known for their art, with folk dancing, traditional music, opera and ballet, Turkish theatre and fine arts all showing a piece of the Turkish culture. The traditional entertainment performed in Turkey combines bright colours and light, airy sounds with an underlying deeper meaning. When watching a performance or looking at a piece of art, it is hard not to feel the vibrancy and depth of the act. When it comes to art, there is something for everyone.

Cuisine to make mouths water

Turkish cuisine is loved the world over, but there is nothing like getting it from the source - from classics like honey-filled baklava and rich Turkish coffee to lesser-known delicacies like Zeytinyağlılar, a vegetable dish with olive oil.

Some popular Turkish dishes include pastries, red meat dishes, kebabs, the ever-essential pilaf, seafood and mezes (appetisers). All of this is brought to life with the use of spices and contrasting tastes.

Turkish coffee in particular can give you a real taste for the region. The coffee is made with a special brewing method and has a significant place in Turkish culture. Even the coffee beans themselves are specially made, stewed in a special coffee pot. The taste is more earthy and strong and is known for being better with a large foam head. The coffee is thicker and less sweet than what you may be used to, so be prepared for a pleasant surprise!

To get a true feel for this country, why not plan a trip today and see all that Turkey has to offer? To help you out, check out our other articles on Turkey, such as The Ultimate Travel Guide and Risks and Rewards. And don’t forget to get your travel insurance from Australia’s trusted travel insurance provider, Worldcare.

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