Sometimes a job comes up and we go to another country for a few days. We thumb through guidebooks, we read magazines, we make plans, we wear ourselves out.

But it’s quite simple actually. Just have a look at UNESCO’s World Heritage List. All the world’s treasures are listed there. And nine of those cultural drawing points, which are considered sites of significant value with natural and cultural assets that have been taken under preservation by the government of the country in which they are found, are in Turkey, with another 23 in the works…

‘If the earth was a single state, Istanbul would be its capital.” So said Napoleon. After all, what other city on earth has been ruled by 120 different emperors and sultans? With thousands of years of history and innumerable works of art and the myriad natural wonders of its geographical setting, Istanbul and all its historic areas have been on the UNESCO World Heritage List since 1985.

A town that brings stories from the past right up to our day with its mosques, market, streets, quarters and houses, Safranbolu has been on the UNESCO World Heritage List since 1994. The traditional houses are of special importance in this town, which acquired its present layout in the 17th and 18th centuries. Close to 800 of those houses, whose rich architecture is an unadulterated reflection of the traditional Turkish way of life, are protected by law. Safranbolu is a must-see for anyone who wants to meet Anatolia in the flesh.

A cultural treasure, Hattusha, former capital of the Hittite Empire, has been on the Unesco World Heritage List since 1986. The focus of the art and architecture of its time, Hattusha, which is divided into a Lower City and an Upper City, is an open-air archaeological museum dating back to the 1600’s B.C. The city’s largest religious structure, the Great Temple rises from the center of the Lower City, the area associated with civic life. A perfect opportunity for those eager to witness history first-hand. NATURE’S OWN DESIGN: CAPPADOCIA With their fairy chimneys on the slopes of the Göreme Valley, the valley’s rich springs and plant cover, and the rock-carved churches with their wall paintings, Göreme National Park and Cappadocia are one of nature’s own inimitable designs. Included on UNESCO’s World Heritage List in 1985, Cappadocia covers an area of 40 square kilometers between the towns of Ürgüp and Avanos 14 kilometers from the provincial capital at Nevşehir.

The first architectural monument in Turkey to be declared a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage site (in 1985), Divriği Great Mosque and Hospital were commissioned by Ahmet Şah and his wife Melike Turan of the Mengujek beylicate in the 13th century. Designed and commissioned by Hürrem Şah of Ahlat in 1288, the Great Mosque of Divriği is noteworthy not only for its monumental appearance but also for its hexagonal dome and outstanding stonework.

Dubbed the world’s highest open-air museum with its ten-meter-tall sculptures and inscriptions several meters in length, Nemrut Dağı, a site dating back to the Commagene Kingdom, is one of the most impressive ancient places of worship in all Anatolia. Included on the UNESCO World Heritage list in 1987, Nemrut Dağı not only boasts giant sculptures and monumental tombs, it also witnesses some of the most beautiful sunrises and sunsets on the face of the earth.

Located 46 kilometers from Fethiye on the Fethiye-Kaş road near the village of Kınık on the River Eşen, which divides Muğla and Antalya provinces, Xanthos was the home of Sarpedo, who composed poems to embolden Prince Hector during the Trojan War.

Its foundation laid in the Phrygian period, Hierapolis is named after the beautiful wife, Hiera, of Telephos, King of Pergamum in the Hellenistic period. At its zenith between 96 and 162 A.D., Hierapolis boasts the following structures, which are still standing today: a necropolis, the Domitian Way and Gate, a theater with friezes depicting scenes from mythology, Frontinus Avenue and Gate, an agora, the North Byzantine Gate, the South Byzantine Gate, a fountain with Tritons, the Apollon sacred area, defense walls and the Direkli, or Columned, Church. The city, which was included on the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1988, is located at Pamukkale, a natural travertine formation of gleaming white.

Mentioned in Homer’s Iliad and known as the scene of the Trojan War, the ancient city of Troy was included on the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1998. One of the world’s most famous archaeological sites with a 4,000-year history, Troy lies in the foothills of Mt. Ida in Çanakkale province. Foundations of houses, a theater, an advanced sewer system, baths and various other finds have been unearthed at Troy, which is known to consist of nine archaeological layers.

Sites awaiting inclusion on list
Afrodisyas Arkeolojik Ören Yeri
Aphrodisias Archaeological Site
Ancient Cities of the Lycian Civilization
Sagalassos Archaeological Site
Çatalhöyük Neolithic Site
Perge Archaeological Site
Karain Cave
Sumela Monastery of the Virgin Mary
Alahan Monastery
Church of St. Nicholas
Harran and Şanlıurfa
Tombstones of Ahlat and Urartu and Ottoman Citadels at Van
Walls and Citadel of Diyarbakır
Seljuk Caravanserais from Denizli to Doğubeyazıt
Seljuk capital of Konya
Citadel and Dockyard of Alanya
Mardin Cultural Landscape
Bursa Cumalıkızık
Selimiye Mosque at Edirne
Church of St. Paul
İshak Pasha Palace
Termessos / Mt. Güllük National Park