Turkey’s 10 Most Popular Museums

Turkey’s wealth of fascinating ruins and museums scattered all over the country attract close to 25 million visitors a year. Here are the ten most popular.

TOPKAPI PALACE
Imperial residence and seat of government of the Ottoman Empire for approximately four centuries starting from the 15th, this palace attracts close to three million visitors annually.

HAGIA SOPIA
Aka the Hagia Sophia, this Byzantine church, the largest in Istanbul and the religious heart of the Eastern Roman Empire, dates back to the 4th century.

EFES
The largest ancient Ionian site in Western Anatolia with temples, theaters and the famous terrace houses, as well as the House of the Virgin Mary on a nearby wooded hill.

MEVLANA MOSQUE COMPLEX
Welcoming 1.5 million visitors on average every year, this sacred site was the home in Turkey of Mevlana Celaleddin Rumi and is permeated with the spirit of his heartfelt appeal to all men.

HIERAPOLIS
Situated on the path of St.Paul’s journeys in Asia Minor, this ancient city is well worth seeing for its historical sites, and for its neighbor, the famous Pamukkale and its travertines.

GÖREME OPEN AIR MUSEUM
A rock-carved settlement inhabited by Christian monks between the 4th and 13th centuries. Most fascinating in this valley dotted with caves and underground passages are the rock-churches.

HAREM
A separate ticket is required for these women’s quarters, one of the many sections of the giant Topkapi Palace complex.

RUINS OF MYRA
Noteworthy for its rock tombs and extremely well-preserved amphitheater, it also stands out for its giant theatrical masks carved on pediments near the ancient theater.

SANTA CLAUS MUSEUM
Wedding ceremonies can also be arranged in the church at nearby Kale (Demre) where
St. Nicholas (Santa Claus) lived and served in the 3rd century.

KAYMAKLI UNDERGROUND CITY
One of Cappadocia’s largest underground settlements, the tunnels of this eight-story rock-carved city, four levels of which are open to tourists, lead to water wells, kitchens and chapels.