Turkey is a popular holiday destination for Brits, from families with young children to newlyweds on their honeymoon. Its position in the Mediterranean, between Asia and Europe manages to bridge the gap between east and west.
The country has been home to various settlements due to invasions from a number of surrounding countries, which has led to the unique blend of religions and cultures that co-existing in Turkey today.
Today, the Turkish population is largely made up of Muslims (around 99 per cent), but as a secular country, the residents have freedom of religion. However, considering its history, it’s no real surprise that Turkey is home to hundreds of religious sites, which are dotted all over the landscape. All holidays to Turkey should include a visit to at least one of the following top three sites:
Also known as the Church of the Holy Cross, Akdamar Kilesi is the ruins of an Armenian cathedral. Back in 915BC, it formed part of royal complex, but the church is all that’s left behind after it fell into disrepair.
However, after a $1.5 million (approximately £990,000) worth of restoration, it was opened as a museum in 2007. It is situated on a small island in Lake Van, Turkey’s biggest lake, which many believe to be enchanted.
Temple of Artemis
The Temple of Artemis was once one of the Seven Wonders of the World, but today you’ll find just the remains of it left behind. It was built around 650BC on a sacred site of marshy land, which was chosen to protect the temple from earthquakes.
The temple was set alight on the night of Alexander the Great’s birth. Many years later, he offered to rebuild it, but the offer was rejected by Strabo. It was later rebuilt many times, but today only a single column is still standing, with some remains on the ground. To truly appreciate this site, it’s best to visit during the summer.
Goreme Open Air Museum
The most popular attraction in Cappadocia is the UNESCO World Heritage Site and Open Air Museum. The museum is home to 11 refectories, each with its own church.
The cave churches, which were painted by Orthodox monks, are a fascinating sight that shouldn’t be missed. There is plenty to see in the area when it comes to churches, but make sure you don’t miss out on some of the finest: the Nunnery, St. Barbara Church, Apple Church, Snake Church, Dark Church, Carikli Church and Buckle Church.