If the only turkey you know is the winged bird that graces the Thanksgiving table each Autumn, you are seriously missing out. Ancient ruins, myths, and culture are calling out from one of the world’s oldest countries. Walk the same streets as some of the greatest martyrs and visit the wonders you’ve read about in history books. There are thousands of years to uncover.
The Persian word Cappadocia translates to “land of beautiful horses”, which only begins to describe the magic of this natural phenomenon. Dating back to 3000 BC, the volcanic landscape often referred to as a dreamland was once a massive shelter for Christians who fled the Roman Empire in the second millennium before Christ. One can still explore the houses and churches carved within the fantastical rock formations.
The Underground City
Below Cappadocia is another wonder; a manmade marvel. Over 350 feet beneath the volcanic spectacle lies a city that is estimated to span across 460,000 square meters. Access routes and tunnels were uncovered in 2013 when a construction team went into the area to demolish the neighbourhood of houses above ground. Further research by archeologists concludes that the underground city was a fully self-sustainable community into which the Cappadocians fled in times of crisis. They made subterranean accommodations for livestock, access to water, air shafts, and high security against outside threat. The living arrangements, while simple in comparison to modern day structures, remains an architectural wonder that everyone should see with their own eyes.
An underground masterpiece lost and rediscovered in 1545, the Basilica Cistern is the largest surviving Byzantine cistern in Istanbul. The 336 columns that reach up towards ground level have been standing there since the year 532, before which they had served as columns in other temples around the city.
In the Aegean region of Turkey is another natural wonder; something one might only imagine in stories. The “cotton fortress”, as it was named, refers to a collection of mineral springs set in natural limestone terraces, filled with the most piercing turquoise water you have ever seen. An especially popular spa is the Antique Pool at Pamukkale, where you can float amongst the remnants of marble Roman columns; a haunting dance with history. The travertines are surrounded by luxury hotels and spas and are easily accessible by car.
As a lover of culture and unique experiences, all of these natural wonders are on my bucket list. Places like these bring goosebumps to the back of my neck; how amazing is it that we can tread the same paths and dip our toes in the same waters as men and women who lived so long ago?
What wonders of the world have amazed you?
Written by Britany Powell