Istanbul is a European city full of art, gorgeous architecture, rich history and amazing food. It is also located near many of Turkey’s famous cities and archeological sites. If you’re planning a trip to Istanbul, you may want to consider taking a day trip to one of these fascinating cities.
The ancient city of Iznik—once called Nicaea—is surrounded by a 33-foot wall with 108 towers. Though the wall was originally built for defense purposes, it is now the top tourist destination in Iznik. The city is known for its tiles and pottery, and visitors come hoping to score a beautiful souvenir.
Other tourist attractions include an old theater built in 112, now considered Roman Ruins. A museum full of Greek and Roman artifacts gives visitors a glimpse into the past and once served as the Nilüfer soup kitchen, which opened here in 1388 and was started by a sultan’s wife. The most popular attraction in Iznik is a red, angular Byzantine-style cathedral, St. Sophia Cathedra.
Gallipoli gained its claim to fame during World War I. One of the most important battles of the war, the Battle of Dardanelles, lasted for nine months in 1915. The Allies were defeated by the Turks and Axis powers at this location, and visitors can now follow in the footsteps of ill-fated soldiers on 14 sites on the Aznac Walk, site of the Aznac battlefield. Continue along the peninsula and learn about how battles were fought and how both the land and the ocean were used in tactical maneuvers.
The Battle of Canakkale’, fought nearby was responsible for the founding of the Republic of Turkey. Here, you can visit the 31 cemeteries for the fallen soldiers.
Visit the famous city, home to Hellen, the Trojan War and the Trojan horse, made famous by Homer’s epic poem, The Illiad. Troy was founded in the third millennium BC and has been destroyed and rebuilt many times over. Visitors can watch archeologists uncover secrets from the past at open archeological sites. There are plenty of shops and museums for you to find that perfect “Trojan” gift to bring home for that special friend. A wooden horse playground pays homage to the city’s past while staying grounded in its future.
Edirne was originally a capitol city in the early days of the Ottoman Empire. Until the 1930s it was called Adrianople for the Roman Emperor Hadrian. Like Gallipole, it has a rich military history that includes 16 battles. The most popular sites are the gorgeous mosques, their domes soaring high in the sky. The Silimiye Mosque boasts the tallest minarets in Turkey.
The city also played a large part in the medical care industry’s history. The Beyazid II Kulliyesi Health Museum shows the history of musical therapy in the treatment of medical illness. If you happen to visit Edirne in June, you can watch the centuries-old oil-wrestling tournament—and maybe even dive into the pit yourself!
Bursa is Turkey’s fourth largest city and spearheads the country’s automotive industry. Once one of the first capitals of the Ottoman Empire in the 14th century and part of the Roman Empire, the city of Bursa was established around 200 BC. Visitors can visit the burial sites of the empires founding sultans.
The Great Mosque, the Ulu Cami, is also a top attraction—it dates back to the 14th century and shows off Ottoman architecture. The city also has plenty of parks for weary travelers to rest. Once you’ve taken a load off, recharge your batteries at the Kapalı Çarşı, a traditional Turkish bazaar.
Only a day trip away from Istanbul, these sites let you explore Turkey’s rich history. These destinations are easily accessible from Hotel Büyük Keban. Call the hotel for more information on these day trips or let us help you book your stay!