Explore the UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Turkey

Updated on Apr 30, 2024 | Turkey e-Visa
Visiting Turkey is stepping into the dreamland, and it is still one of the favorite European tourist destinations for many travelers. The country never lacks in anything, from natural wonders to modern charm. Turkey is a land where the air is filled with ancient whispers and civilization history. Located in the territory of Europe and Asia, Turkey offers travelers numerous ancient ruins, monuments, beautiful beaches, etc., to explore.

Turkey is a treasure trove for ancient Greek and Roman ruins, historical remains and heritage sites. Majority of Turkey's land is filled with such monuments. Out of all the wonders offered by the country, 22 sites have been inscribed to the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Here are a few of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Turkey, each carrying the country’s past and lasting glory.

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Aphrodisias

Aphrodisias is an ancient Greek city located in Karacasu, in the Caria region of southwestern Turkey. The city is named after the Greek Goddess Aphrodite. Thus, it holds great significance in terms of history, mythology, and culture dating back to the 6th century B.C. The city played a prominent role during the Roman Empire period. Besides the ruins, the city was home to public buildings, museums, lower towns, markets, etc. Among them, the Temple of Aphrodite and the Greek Stadium, with a capacity of 30,000 spectators, become the central attraction.

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Archaeological Site of Ani

The ruins of Ani, also quoted as The City of 1001 Churches, is located in the northeast of Turkey. The historic ruins of the medieval period form natural borders with America. The history of the city dates back to the 5th century A.D. The city was surrounded by fertile valleys, and the geographical location made it one of the important centers on the Silk Road into Anatolia. The archaeological remains of the historic site mirror the diverse culture of American, Islamic, and Georgian traditions. The site also includes the ruins of the church, Kamsaragan palace, fire temple, Silk Road bridge, etc.

Nemrut Dag

The stunning ruins of Nemrut Dag is located in the Adıyaman Province of southeastern Turkey. The rich history of this heritage site secured a lasting place in history and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Nemrut Dag’s ancient stone tombs and colossal statues ruins date back to the 1st century B.C. The tombs were built by King Antiochos I of Commagene. The site includes various ruins, including the five giant limestone statues and the tomb of King Antiochos I of the Hellenistic period. Besides the heritage site, travelers can enjoy the view of the surrounding landscape, sunset, and sunrise, which captivates all explorers.

Hattusa

Hattusa, the capital of the Hittite Empire, is located in the Bogazkale District, Corum province, central Anatolian region of Turkey. Hattusa is referred to as the Bogazkale Archaeological Site. The famous marvels of this site are the beautifully carved Lion’s Gate, Royal Gate and the rock art. The stunning city is surrounded by a massive wall that is 8 km in length, gateways, a Sphinx Gate, etc. The ruins of a temple in the lower city date back to the 13th century B.C. The popular rock art sanctuary of Yazilikaya and the open-air temple are cut into bedrock, reflecting the richness of Hittite art and architecture.

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Ephesus

Ephesus is referred to as the pearl of western Turkey. The ancient Greek city is located towards the south of Izmir, Turkey, and it played a significant role in promoting trade during the Mediterranean period. Ephesus is one of the most famous tourist attractions in Turkey. The city is home to one of the seven wonders of the world, the Temple of Artemis. Ephesus, being one of the second largest cities during the Roman period, is one of the best examples to explore the ancient port city and harbor. The other famous attractions of the site are the terrace house, house of the Virgin Mary, Cathedral of Saint John, Mosque and the Library of Celsus ruins.

Diyarbakir Fortress

The mighty castle is located in Sur, the Diyarbakir province. The culture and history of the past are etched in the stones of the castle. The fortress's four gates and walls date back to the period of the Roman Empire. Located near the banks of the Tigris River, the castle stands as a living testimony of diverse civilizations such as Sassanid, Roman, Islamic, Byzantine, and Ottoman. The Diyarbakir fortress wall is the world's second-longest wall. The historical site includes the majestic walls, inner castle, gates, watchtowers and other inscriptions, including the Hevsel Gardens and Ten-Eyed Bridge.

City of Pergamon

The ancient city of Pergamon is located above the Bakircay Plain in Bergama district of Izmir. The steep rock castle city of Pergamon dates back to the 3rd century B.C., and it was the capital of the Hellenistic Attalid dynasty. The city was built on the slopes of Kate Hill, which provides a stunning view of the landscape. The ruins of Pergamon include other famous tourist attractions such as Zeus Altar, the temple of Athena, Pergamon Library, a steep Theatre on the hillside, etc. The city is a living monument that showcases the architectural brilliance of the Hellenistic and Roman dynasty.

Exploring the UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Turkey offers travelers a history of human civilization. Each heritage site embodies a unique story of human settlement, lifestyle and cultural heritage. The remains of the site endured over centuries, carrying the rich history of the land. The stones, monuments, mighty walls, and landscape are the treasure trove of Turkey as they exhibit the profound diversity of Turkey.

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