Best ancient cities of Turkey

Vying for attention amongst the vibrant modern day cities, are the ancient cities built by our forefathers, each speaking a different story. On the map of Turkey you see all the development of the technological age intertwined with spectacles of the past; you simply cannot miss it. If you started counting the number of civilizations that once habited this region you’ll be amazed. From the Hattians to Phrygia and Lydia, the Seleucids, Romans, Byzantines, Seljuk, and finally the Ottoman Empire, the legacy is astounding.



Having said all this, it’s quite hard to decide which ancient cities are the best. Though it’s impossible to cover them all, here are the best ancient cities of Turkey!



Aphrodisias was an ancient Greek city in Caria. It’s about 90 kilometers from Aydin town center and very well preserved considering that it was a prehistoric settlement from before 5000 BC! Here you can marvel at the famous Temple of Aphrodite, a grandiose council house and stadium, and the imposing buildings that stand witness to the grandeur of another era.



I’m also quite taken by Konya, which although these days is one of the major cities of Turkey, has a heritage dating back to the Late Copper Age, and was also a capital of the Seljuk Sultanate. It was known as Iconium in Latin. The important sites include the Mevlana Museum, mosques dating back to the time of the Seljuk Sultanate and an ethnography museum. But I’m very much taken by the fact that it was the backdrop of the famous events in the life of the poet Jalal al-Din Rumi, who inspired the whirling dervishes that are a sight to behold, and his tomb is also located here.



Ephesus, bordering modern day Selcuk also has some well preserved Roman and Greek ruins. It’s ironic that there are more Greek and Roman ruins in Turkey than in Greece and Rome! You can see the library of Celsus, the Temple of Hadrian, and an awe inspiring cave of the seven sleepers, where it is believed that seven Christian boys sought refuge and slept, only to wake up centuries later. The impressive Isabey Mosque should not be missed out if you happen to be in the area.


Ephesus Best ancient cities of Turkey

The library of Celsus, ancient city of Ephesus


While you are in Ephesus you may also visit the ancient cities of Priene and Miletus, the former being an ancient city lying between Kusadasi and Bodrum, with Miletus nearby. Although it’s a smaller city, it’s the place to go if you want relative peace and quiet. Here again, ancient ruins are in abundance, like the Roman baths, the Temple of Athena, and other relics of the Hellenistic era that you can imbibe by taking a walk around the city.



Another Carian city called Kaunos may also be a competition if one sees the ever so elegant rock tombs with facades resembling temples that are destined to take your breath away. The quality of the masonry is unrivalled, and there are also ancient city walls, and temples, but these rock tombs are definitely the eye catchers!



Other best ancient cities in Turkey to visit include Hierapolis, Bergama, and the underground cities in Cappadocia, Myra, Olympos and many others. Well if you really want to decide which are the best ancient cities in Turkey I’d suggest a tour to Turkey. After all, wonders can only be seen, not described.

Cooking classes in Turkey

There is an old saying that goes “When in Rome, do as the Romans do”. But I believe now it is more apt to say “When in Turkey, do as the Turks do” because you’ll never run out of things to do here. Travel is a combination of experiencing the culture and cuisine, and as far as the latter is concerned Turkey provides enough to load the palate. But it is not solely about tasting the food, rather being a part in creating a dish using local recipes and ingredients that makes the whole experience so rewarding.

There are many cooking classes organised in various cities catering specially to tourists, particularly in Istanbul. Most of these classes last about 4-5 hours, wherein you are taught to prepare a five course meal and later on can enjoy the fruit of your own labour in the form of lunch or dinner (depending on the class you choose). Sample it and also prepare some extra for the other diners. Personally, I am thrilled at the idea of returning from one of my travels and surprising my family with my adeptness at making a Turkish five course meal!

Of course, the chefs don’t promise to make you an expert within a single class. It all depends on your previous experience and the skills you bring to the table. The environment is laid back and hassle free, and it depends on team work, with tasks like chopping and cutting divided. However, everyone is made privy to the crucial steps of preparing any dish. The local ingredients generally include, but are not confined to, lamb, eggplant, vine leaves, yogurt, mint, chili, cumin, lentils, figs and walnuts.

Cooking Alaturka is a popular class, focusing on Anatolian dishes. The chefs provide hands on training, which means you are actually doing the cooking, not just watching the pros do it. Many classes in the area focus on the culinary heritage of the Turkish and Ottoman dishes. You can also boost up your knowledge by visiting the renowned Spice Bazaar, as well as the Wednesday Market in the streets around Fatih Mosque for full immersion in the local culture and what makes them tick.

For confirmation, at least two people are required, and the classes may extend up to ten members. It is not advisable to have many members as that could create hindrance towards learning. The classes cost about €65, which is totally worth it for one whole day spent among people experienced in local cuisine, picking up tips and tricks from them. Moreover, many of these classes also arrange for refreshments like tea, coffee and soft drinks as well. Needless to say, aprons and kitchen tools are provided.

I think whoever came up with the idea must have had a brilliant insight, because what more is travel but a new sensation for all your senses; sight, hearing, smell, touch and taste! So make sure you enroll for this class, which is mostly available from Monday to Saturday, and therefore ensure that you take a part of Turkey home with yourself.