Bursa, Troy, Canakkale, Pergamon, Ephesus
Bursa Citadel's Hisar Gate.
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Bursa is on the way from Istanbul to Turkey's greatest sights out east across the Bosphorus. Alternatively a long day trip there is possible.
We would categorise Bursa as a might-see as opposed to a must-see.
It was the first capital of the Ottoman empire and is consequently scattered with fine Ottoman architecture in the shape of old half-wooden buildings and five elegant mosques.
Bursa is also famed for its natural hot mineral water spas, bazaar specialising in silks and forested, mountainous surroundings that are accessible by cable car for hiking in summer or skiing in winter.
Bursa's Great Mosque and Uludag (Great Mountain)
Tourists that are short of time
would do well to focus on the Green Mosque (Yesil Cami) and district for historic sights; the City Centre for bazaar, parks and the Great Mosque; the Citadel for tombs, old houses and panoramic views; and Cekirge for hot springs and more mosque and tombs, though it's a bit out of the way.
It is possible to travel Istanbul to Bursa via a fast car ferry to Guzelyali port near Mudanya, and then hop a couple of buses. With luck that should take 2-3 hours.
After Bursa most tourists with time to travel head south to Troy/Gallipoli or to Ephesus (see below) or to Mediterranean beaches or head east to Cappadocia, probably via Ankara. Turkey Map.
Ankara. No thanks.
Ankara, Turkey's capital, has little to offer the traveller - a mediocre citadel, a good Museum of Anatolian Civilisation and Ataturk's (the founder of the new republic) Stalinist Mausoleum, though it is on the way to Cappadocia, unless you choose to detour via Troy, Gallipoli, various ancient sites, beaches and other coastal attractions.
A bas-relief of mythological beings, in the Museum of Anatolian Civilisations, in Ankara.
A pathetic but kid-friendly reproduction of the Wooden Horse of Troy (Truva in Turkish). There are some authentic but hardly exciting 3,000 BC ruins of the ancient city of Troy nearby and the landscape is not unattractive.
Historians and archeologists enjoy the site, as do those some that take the trouble to hire an informative guide but many tourists are disappointed as Troy looks just like a pile of discarded stones to many tourists.
Canakkale and Kilitbahir Castle, the Dardanelles, with convenient hotels for Gallipoli tour groups.
Tours of Troy and Gallipoli battlefields are popular with Australians and New Zealanders, whose troops fought the Turkish for control of the crucial Dardanelles (now known as the Strait of Canakkale) choke point in World War I under the definitely misguided and probably moronic British command, dying in their tens of thousands. Anzac Day is April 25th and the peninsula is likely to be crowded then.
It's possible to take in
Gallipoli on a day trip from Istanbul but it would be bloody hard work mate, 5 hours each way. Most tours run over 5 or 6 days and take in Gallipoli, Troy, Pergamum and Ephesus, but you'd need to be keen on history and archeology to really enjoy that itinerary. Throw in either the weirdness of Cappadocia or some beach time and make it a more varied pleasure!
Pergamon, also known as Pergamum, a Greek city 281-133 BC, near modern Bergama.
Pergamon's Temple of Trajan. Photo by Horacio36.
Bergama town is a 90 minute bus ride from Izmir through some attractivr coastal towns and
Pergamon Acropolis is at the top of the hill. The Grand Theater makes the Amphitheater at Ephesus look tiny and pathetic while Temple of Trajan is magnificent. The site is much less busy than Ephesus.
The famous Ephesus library, along with the less famous droves of tourists.
Ephesus started life as a Greek city and later became an important Roman city. Ephesus had a population of over 250,000 in the 1st century BC, which made it the second largest city in the world at that time, after Rome.
The city's decline started with an earthquake in 614 AD followed by loss of trade as the harbor and Cayster River slowly silted up, making sea access impossible.
Ephesus access is easy via Adnan Menderes Airport and the port of Kusadasi.
pleasant town of Selcuk is about 3km (nearly 2 miles) away and offers
reasonable accommodation and restaurants, though carpet touts can
be a pain unless you are firm with them. The local museum is well-designed
and interesting while various other ancient bits and pieces are scattered
around the town.
A shady 40 minute walk will get you to Ephesus or there are plenty
of private and public buses on the route.
The main drag into Ephesus, Curetes street. Aaaargh! Photo by Radomil. Next, Turkey Coast Pictures.
It's well worth hiring a guide to make the most of the wonders of Ephesus, not to mention distracting you from the milling herds and giving you a reason to live. The bugcrew fled unguided, sweating and shrieking out of the grand place after a mere hour or so (in mid summer). Result: time wasted. Get help!
Ephesus email from luvstotravel of Orlando, Florida: We really enjoyed our visit to Ephesus. The ruins are well preserved and there are a lot in a small area so two hours should do it. An audio tour or human tour guide is vital to understand and enjoy the place. Visiting the Terrace Houses is a must, as are the library and stadium.
We visited out of season but we know that the place is horribly crowed during the summertime.
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