Turkey’s hidden gems: 4 must-see attractions you probably didn’t know about

There are two types of travelers, the ones that want to visit all the must-see attractions and the ones that want to discover the secrets that the new country has to offer. If you’re from the second group, then you need to visit the lesser known places on this list. They’re the hidden gems, the ones you find beyond the beaten path.

##The Cliff-hanging Sumela Monastery

 

In the heart of the Altindere National Park there’s an uncommon monastery, hanging on the side of a mountain. According to legend, Greek monks discovered a little figurine of the Virgin Mary buried in one of the mountain’s caves and chose to create this wonderful monastery. However, at the beginning of the 20th century the monks went back to Greece and the monastery was abandoned. Only recently the site was recovered as a tourist attraction and is open for visitors to enjoy. Delight in the frescos on the walls, enjoy the view from the many viewpoints, or explore the surrounding trails. Either way, don’t miss a visit to this fantastic place.

##The Magical Sazova Park

 

It’s actually not magic but science that powers this park, the fairy-tale castle with workers dressed in medieval clothing will remind you of Disneyland. Within the park grounds, there’s a scientific park, an aquarium, a zoo, children’s games, restaurants, and pubs.

 

The park is particularly popular among families. Visitors will enjoy fresh air and rolling lawns for the kids to burn off some steam. Children will especially have fun in the small park, which features playgrounds with bouncy castles, mushroom playhouses, and giant dinosaur slides.

##The Mystical Mount Nemrut

 

You must see this one-of-a-kind world site at least once in your life. Mount Nemrut is the name of both the mountain and the spot where these magnificent human or eagle heads etched in stone were discovered. It has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1987. The massive statues that flank a gigantic tomb at its pinnacle. The tomb corresponds to Antiochus Theos of Kommagene, a Roman-Persian king. The tomb has not yet been explored and doesn’t appear to have been pillaged, many people assume it will be as rich in goods as other Egyptian tombs. Until today it remains one of Turkey’s best-kept secrets.

##Pamukkale’s Healing Thermal pools

 

Pamukkale, which means “cotton castle” in Turkish, gets its glittering whiteness from a unique natural phenomenon.  They are considered one of Europe’s best natural pools.

The white color comes from calcium oxide, and the vast terraces that form actual ponds and natural swimming pools are the result of another natural catastrophe, most likely an earthquake.

 

Of course, you won’t be the first or only one to bathe there. These pools are as popular as they’re ancient. The Antique Pool, preferred by Cleopatra, Queen of Egypt, is pure clear warm water, unlike the white water of the lower pools. It was once topped by a Roman temple dedicated to Apollo, with an elegant roof supported by Doric columns. While you bathe there, we recommend you close your eyes and imagine how Cleopatra must have felt back in the day when it was at its peak.

###Do you need a visa to enter Turkey?

 

Most nationalities do! The good thing is that there’s a [Turkey eVisa for US citizens]. Unlike a regular paper visa, to get this visa you don’t need to visit an embassy or consulate. You’ll only need to fill out an online form, upload a scan of your passport and pay for the visa fee. The process can be completed in 15 minutes, and you can get your visa in 30 minutes after finishing your application. Getting a visa for Turkey is as easy as that!

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