Bordered by eight countries and several seas, Turkey is an independent Turkic state with an ancient cultural heritage that began when Turks migrated to the current Erasian republic in the 11th century. In fact, it the Anatolian peninsula is one of the oldest continuously inhabited regions in the world from the settlement of Troy in the Neolithic age to the capital of the Byzantine Empire after the fall of the Roman Empire.
Today, Turkey's rich ruins and stately architecture has earned it nine UNESCO World Heritage Sites, none of which the adventurous traveler should miss.
1. Archaeological site of Troy (1998) - Legendary city in Anatolia, best known for the Trojan War as described in Homer's epic the Iliad. During the Bronz Age, it was a flourishing mercantile city. Legend aside, modern excavations now identify the hill of New Ilium as the site of ancient Troy.
2. City of Safranbolu (1994) - The name comes from 'saffron,' since Safranbolu, in the Black Sea region, was a trading place and a center for growing saffron. It was added to the list of UNESCO World Heritage sites due to its well-preserved Ottoman era architecture. The Old Town boasts numerous mosques, tombs, baths, fountains, bridges and mounds of ancient settlements.
3. Ancient Istanbul - Earlier known as Byzantium and Constantinople, it is the second largest city in the world, the largest metorpolitan city in Europe and the cultural, economic, and financial centre of Turkey. It extends both on the European (Thrace) and on the Asian (Anatolia) sides of the Bosphorus, making it the only metropolis in the world that is situated on two continents. This alpha world city boasts innumerable museums, universities, theaters, hamams, night-life, shopping, architecture and festivals, making it a classic international destination.
4. Nemrut Dağ (1987) - Nemrut is a 7,001-foot high mountain in the southeast, notable for several large statues (many beheaded and unrestored) on the summit, erected around what is assumed to be a royal tomb from the 1st century BC. The nearby town of Adıyaman is a popular place for day trips to the site by bus, car or helicopter.
5. Hattusa (1986) - This was the capital of the Hittite Empire in the late Bronze Age. It was located near modern Boğazkale, within the great loop of the Kızıl River and was surrounded by agricultural fields, hill lands for pastures, and woods. The earliest traces of settlement on the site are from the 6 BC and the famous Lion Gate is now a popular tourist stop.