Ancient Greece in the middle of Turkey
Holidays in Turkey offer relaxation and historical experiences at the same time. Around 80 kilometers from Izmir, for example, the city of Bergama, now inhabited by 70,000 people, is located at the foot of a mountain of great historical importance and attractiveness. In the distant past, ancient Pergamon, which formerly belonged to Greece, was located on this 300-meter-high mountain spur. The capital of the Pergamene Empire at that time is always worth a visit because of its ancient relics.
The historical remains of ancient Greece
A visit to Pergamon takes you back in time, even if today only the foundations and historical remains are reminiscent of Greek antiquity. As early as the 4th century BC, the Athena sanctuary was probably the oldest temple of this admirable culture. An attractive point of attraction, even if only the foundations can be viewed. This also applies to the world-famous Pergamon Altar, which was built in honor of Zeus and Athena at the time. Preserved parts of this altar can be viewed in the Berlin Pergamon Museum and the name of this museum alone illustrates the great importance of Pergamon. Other sights include the ruins of the Asklepieion, the Demeter sanctuary, the Temple of Hera and Dionysus as well as the Trajaneum, a temple built by Trajan and Zeus Philios. This central collection of numerous historical monuments alone makes Pergamon, or today Bergama, an attractive travel destination. In addition, Pergamon is considered the birthplace of parchment paper, which gives the place a further historical significance.
The optimal combination of past and present
Even if some of the monuments are around 2,500 years old, the Bergama of the present and the historical Pergamon are a perfect amalgamation of the present and the important antiquity. This is exactly what makes a visit so valuable, because you can experience the present and immerse yourself in the past at the same time. This is also ensured by the annual summer festival, which turns the sacred spring and an equally ancient theater into a stage and brings Greek history to life.
According to topschoolsintheusa, the region around Issus, located on the Gulf of Iskenderun in the extreme south-east of Turkey, is known to most of us from history lessons: “333, at Issus brawl” – this is how we memorized the date of the famous battle in which Alexander the Great defeated the Persian king with his Macedonian army. Only one aqueduct is worth seeing on site today, but it comes from a much later time.
It was also Alexander the Great who founded the city of Iskenderun about 37 kilometers south of the battle site. The port city on the Mediterranean, in which an important US air force base is located today, primarily attracts individual tourists who want to experience the country in its origins.
Iskenderun industrial and commercial center
As a result of the city’s eventful history, the inhabitants are still made up of population groups of different ethnicities. In addition to Kurds and Turks, Armenians and Arabs, among others, live here.
Thanks to the oil pipeline arriving from Iraq and a huge coal-fired power station, Iskenderun is an industrial location. The city also plays an important role as a trading center for agricultural products, gold and silver jewelry.
Package tourists rarely get lost here. But if you really want to get to know other cultures on your study or vacation trip, you will get your money’s worth here. A large number of restaurants offer Turkish specialties, and the local agricultural products are available in the typical small markets. Silver and gold jewelry at reasonable prices can be found in numerous shops along palm-lined streets.
Iskenderun does not have its own beaches, but a 3 kilometer long, very beautiful promenade leads directly along the sea.
The moderately warm climate in and around Iskenderun is characterized by high humidity and relatively cool nights.
The Turkish metropolis Istanbul has countless sights and attractions to offer. One of the highlights of the city that you should definitely pay a visit here is the Suleymaniye Mosque on the third hill of the city. The mosque consists of a large inner courtyard, which is surrounded by porticoed halls with a total of 28 domes. The center of the 59 meter long and 58 meter wide building complex in Ottoman architecture, which was built in the middle of the 16th century at the behest of Sultan Suleyman I, is the 50 meter high main dome with a diameter of 27 meters. The second largest house of prayer in the city also has four minarets.
Suleyman Shrine in the garden
In addition to the impressive main mosque, the Suleymaniye Mosque also has a soup kitchen, a hospital, a bathhouse and a school. The library belonging to the mosque in the immediate vicinity of the mosque complex also houses one of the world’s most important collections of Islamic manuscripts. The interior, which is kept rather simple, is characterized above all by excellent acoustics. The main mosque is surrounded by an extensive garden. There are also two large mausoleums in which, among other things, the valuable Süleyman Shrine can be found. The Suleymaniye Mosque is open daily from 9 a.m. to 5.30 p.m. Admission is free.