The land that shelters 13 UNESCO World Heritage Sites and two of the ancient world’s Seven Wonders


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Turkey has 13 UNESCO World Heritage Sites: the “Historic Areas of Istanbul”, the “Rock Sites of Cappadocia”, the “Neolithic Site of Catalhoyuk”, “Hattusa: the Hittite Capital”, the “Archaeological Site of Troy”, “Pergamon and its Multi-Layered Cultural Landscape”, “Hierapolis-Pamukkale” and “Mount Nemrut”.

Natural Pamukkale basins full of water
Natural Pamukkale basins full of water

Other 51 world heritage sites in Turkey are on a pending list, such as Gobekli Tepe, Gordion, Ephesus, Aphrodisias, Perga, Lycia, Sagalassos, Aizani, Zeugma, Ani, Harran, Mardin, Konya and Alanya.

Turkey is also hosting two of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, namely the Mausoleum of Halicarnassus and the Temple of Artemis.

Temple of Artemis
Temple of Artemis


Did you know that Turkey…

  • hosts Istanbul,  the only city in the world straddling in two continents, Europe and Asia?
  • has a city called Mardin, located in the south eastern part of Turkey, which is one of the few places where you can hear Aramaic, the native language of Jesus Christ?
  • hosts the final home of the Virgin Mary, to which she traveled with St. John?
  • has the first church ever built (St. Peter’s), in Antioch, southern Turkey? It is also the site of the oldest temple, at Urfa, dated between 8500 and 9000 BC.
  • has what is said to be the first church of Virgin Mary, in Ephesus, which is blessed by the pope?
  • is the place where the First Ecumenical Council was held (Iznik), which stated that Christ and the Father were of one substance?
  • is the birthplace of St. Nicholas, (Demre-Myra) popularly known as Santa Claus, St. Paul (Tarsus – Antioke) and Abraham (Sanliurfa)?
  • is where Noah’s Ark is thought to be landed, at Mount Ararat, in Eastern Turkey? The last meal on Noah’s Ark, a pudding of sweet and sour taste (asure), is still served throughout Turkey.
  • is where Alexander the Great cut the intricate Gordian knot – a shortcut to ”solving difficult problems”?
  • was the center of two of the major empires in history, Byzantine and Ottoman?
  • is where the names of Paris, Philadelphia and Europe originate?
  • gave the English language many words, including turquoise, parchment, yogurt, meander and angora?
  • is the location of the city of Troy, of Homer’s famous Illiad, in Western Turkey, where the Trojan War was fought for ten year?

    Ruins in Troy
    Ruins in Troy
  • is derived from the same language family as Finish and Hungarian?
  • has the oldest American school outside the United States, Istanbul’s Robert College (established in 1863)?
  • is the birthplace of Homer (Izmir) and Aesop?
  • is the place where Julius Caesar proclaimed his celebrated words, “Veni, Vidi, Vici” (I came, I saw, I conquered) when he defeated the Pontus, a formidable kingdom in the Black Sea region of Turkey?
  • once was subject to a design from Leonardo da Vinci for a bridge over the Bosphorus, the strait that flows through Europe and Asia? It was never built.
  • has the oldest known human settlement in Catalhoyuk (7th millennium BC)?
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