This cistern is thought to have been built after the Nika revolt in 532 AD. It was known as the Basilica Cistern during the Roman period, as there was a Stoa Basilica above the pre-existing one at the time. After the conquest of the city by the Ottoman Turks, it was forgotten of and nobody knew that it existed. Re-discovered in 1545, it was used to water the gardens of Topkapi Palace. Today it has a rather eery and mystical ambiance. Clever spotlighting makes the water shimmer with coloured dancing lights and the water ripples from an occasional fish swishing its tail in exuberance.
The Topkapi Palace is the biggest and one of the most popular sites to visit in Istanbul. It was built in between 1466 and 1478 by the sultan Mehmet II on top of a hill in a small peninsula, dominating the Golden Horn to the north, the Sea of Marmara to the south, and the Bosphorus strait to the north east, with great views of the Asian side as well. The palace was the political center of the Ottoman Empire between the 15th and 19th centuries, until they built Dolmabahce Palace by the waterside.
The Red Valley is one of the most spectacular valleys of Cappadocia with its different kind of rock formations in variety colors. The hidden rock-cut churches in the valley surprise the visitors.
GOREME OPEN AIR MUSEUM
The rupestral sanctuaries of Cappadocia constitute an unique artistic achievement in a region of superlative natural features, providing irreplaceable testimony to post-iconoclast Byzantium. The dwellings, village convents and churches retain the fossilized images of a province of the Byzantine Empire between the 4th century and the Turkish invasion.
The eroded plateau of the Göreme valley is a spectacular example of the effects of differential erosion of the volcanic tuff sediments by wind and water. The historical setting, the rock-hewn churches and the unusual eroded landforms combine to produce a mixed cultural/natural landscape of unusual appearance. Architectural styles are based on the local stone and the valley has changed little over the centuries.
Göbekli Tepe is located in southeastern Turkey. It was first noted in a survey conducted by Istanbul University and the University of Chicago in 1964, which recognized that the hill could not entirely be a natural feature, but assumed that a Byzantine cemetery lay beneath. The survey noted a large number of flints and the presence of limestone slabs, which were thought to be Byzantine grave markers. In 1994, the German archaeologist Klaus Schmidt of the German Archaeological Institute of Istanbul visited the site, and recognized that it was, in fact, a much more ancient Neolithic site. Göbekli Tepe is the oldest known human-made religious structure. The site, located on a hilltop, contains 20 round structures which had been buried, four of which have been excavated. Each round structure has a diameter of between 10 and 30 meters (30 and 100 ft) and all are decorated with massive, mostly T-shaped, limestone pillars that are the most striking feature of the site.
SUMELA MONASTERY OF TRABZON
The Sümela Monastery is a Greek Orthodox monastery, standing at the foot of a steep cliff facing the Altındere valley, in the region of Maçka in Trabzon Province, modern Turkey. Lying at an altitude of approximately 1200 metres, it is a major tourist attraction of Altındere National Park. Today the monastery’s primary function is as a tourist attraction. Its place overlooking the forests and streams below, makes it extremely popular for its aesthetic attraction as well as for its cultural and religious significance. Currently restoration work funded by the Turkish government is taking place. It is currently enjoying a revival in pilgrimage from Greece and Russia.
ASPENDOS ANCIENT THEATHER IN ANTALYA
Aspendus was an ancient city in Pamphylia, Asia Minor, located about 40 km east of the modern city of Antalya. It was situated on the Eurymedon River about 16 km inland from the Mediterranean Sea; it shared a border with, and was hostile to, Side. According to later tradition, the (originally non-Greek) city was founded around 1000 BC by Greeks who may have come from Argos. The wide range of its coinage throughout the ancient world indicates that, in the 5th century BC, Aspendus had become the most important city in Pamphylia. At that time the Eurymedon River was navigable as far as Aspendus, and the city derived great wealth from a trade in salt, oil, and wool.