Off the Beaten Path: Discovering Turkey’s Lesser-Known Closed Sites
Editor Comment: Turkey is one of the most visited countries in the world, famous for its rich history, fascinating culture, and stunning landscapes. However, most tourists only visit the well-known sites, such as the Hagia Sophia, the Blue Mosque, and Cappadocia. But Turkey has so much more to offer, and there are many lesser-known closed sites waiting to be explored. In this article, we will introduce you to some of Turkey’s hidden gems that are off the beaten path.
The Hidden Gems of Turkey
1) Ani: Known as the “City of a Thousand and One Churches,” Ani is a ruined medieval city located near the Turkish-Armenian border. Once a bustling city, it was abandoned in the 14th century and forgotten until the 19th century. Today, it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a must-see for history buffs and architecture enthusiasts.
2) Sumela Monastery: Located in the Maçka district of Trabzon, Sumela Monastery is a Greek Orthodox monastery built into the side of a cliff. It was founded in the 4th century and abandoned in the 20th century due to political turmoil. Today, the monastery is being restored, and visitors can explore its stunning frescoes, chapels, and treasury.
3) Harran: Located in southeastern Turkey, Harran is an ancient city known for its mud-brick beehive houses. It was once a major center of learning and trade, and its university was renowned throughout the Islamic world. Today, it is a charming town that offers a glimpse into Turkey’s past.
4) Nemrut: Located in eastern Turkey, Nemrut is home to a giant statue of a god that sits atop a mountain. The statue is surrounded by several smaller statues and is one of the best-preserved examples of Hellenistic art. To reach the statue, visitors must hike to the top of the mountain, but the views are worth it.
Exploring Closed Sites in Turkey
1) Derinkuyu Underground City: Located in Cappadocia, Derinkuyu Underground City is a remarkable feat of engineering. It was once home to thousands of people and was built to protect them from invaders. Today, it is closed to the public, but with special permission, visitors can explore its labyrinthine tunnels and chambers.
2) Istanbul’s Basilica Cistern: Located beneath Istanbul, the Basilica Cistern is an ancient underground water storage facility. It was built in the 6th century and can hold up to 100,000 tons of water. Today, it is closed to the public, but visitors can catch a glimpse of it on a boat cruise along Istanbul’s Bosphorus Strait.
3) Kuzuluk Hot Springs: Located in the Sögüt district of Bilecik, the Kuzuluk Hot Springs are known for their healing properties. The water is rich in minerals and can help with various illnesses, such as rheumatism and skin diseases. The hot springs are closed to the public, but visitors can enjoy a relaxing soak in one of the local hotels.
Q: Are these closed sites safe to visit?
A: Yes, most of these closed sites are safe to visit with proper permission and guidance from local authorities.
Q: How can I get permission to visit closed sites?
A: The best way to get permission is to contact the local authorities or a licensed tour operator.
Q: Are there any fees to visit closed sites?
A: Yes, there may be fees to visit closed sites, and it is best to check with the local authorities or tour operator for more information.
Q: Can I take photos at closed sites?
A: It depends on the site’s rules and regulations, and visitors should always ask for permission before taking photos.
In conclusion, Turkey’s lesser-known closed sites offer a unique and exciting way to experience the country’s rich history and culture. With proper permission and guidance, visitors can explore these hidden gems and discover the beauty and wonder that lies off the beaten path.