Incredible Turkey … the destination at the intersection between East and West influences. Just one lonely column (topped by a stork’s nest) is all that remains of the Temple of Artemis, once one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. Excavations carried out by archaeologist JT Wood here showed that the site was originally occupied by a stone platform on which the cult image of the goddess stood, while underneath were rooms where votive offerings were presented. The renowned gigantic marble temple of Seven Wonders fame was built in the 6th century BC and boasted a staggering 127 columns. Although destroyed by fire and other disasters across the centuries, it was twice restored and rebuilt before finally falling into a state of complete dilapidation in the Byzantine era, when its stones began being used as a quarry for building material, including for Constantinople’s Hagia Sophia (now the Aya Sofya), where some of its columns and marble slabs can still be seen.

Located in the city of Bodrum in southwest Turkey, Bodrum Castle was built by the Crusaders in the 15th century as the Castle of St. Peter. It is one of the world’s best preserved monuments dating back to medieval times. The castle now operates as a museum, with the focus on the Museum of Underwater Archaeology. It overlooks the internal marina of Bodrum filled with millions of dollars worth of sailing crafts.

Sumptuous beyond belief, the Topkapi Palace takes you into the fantastical, opulent world of the sultans. It was from here that the sultans of the Ottoman Era carved out an empire that would extend up into Europe and down through the Middle East and into Africa. The interiors, with their decadently exuberant tiling and lavish jeweled decor, are an unforgettable peek into the Ottoman’s power base. The surrounding public gardens were once the sole domain of the Royal Court but are now open to the public and provide a tranquil, green respite from the city streets.

The fifteenth century former residence of the Ottoman Sultans, the Topkapi Palace in Istanbul is a huge, ornate palatial compound which was a focal point of Istanbul’s social and political life for hundreds of years. A UNESCO World Heritage site, visitors flock through its gates to see its Ottoman architecture, courtyards and famous Muslim and Christian relics. A must see sight, it consistently ranks among the top attractions in Turkey. The Harem is also quite popular, but costs extra. Audio tours are available.

The region where Ephesus is has dry and warm summers, mild and sometimes rainy springs and autumns and short, cool winters. This means you can visit Ancient Ephesus all year round. Ephesus visiting time is between 8.00am to 17.00pm in the summertime and between 8.00am to 19.00pm in the winter time. We suggest you start your Tour of Ephesus early in the morning when it is cooler, an not so much sun, wear protective cream and cover up from the sun. Entrance fees to Ephesus are approximately $11.00 per person, and an entry fees of $7.50 is charged for The Church of the Virgin Mary these prices can fluctuate seasonally and depending on exchange rates. Many Ephesus Tours will include both entrance fees and usually include lunch. Souvenirs are typically priced in USD, and they are not cheap at the sites, water and food are also a little more expensive around $5.00 – $10.00 for a sandwich. Read more about Ephesus private tours.

The Chora Church may be a little bit off the beaten tourist path, but visitors say the beautiful Byzantine art is well worth the effort to get there. Magnificent mosaics and frescoes depict the life of Jesus and his mother, Mary. Known as the Church of the Holy Savior in Chora, it has been described as one of the most beautiful surviving works of Byzantine architecture. Dating back to the days of Constantine, the Chora was a monastery in its early years; a few centuries later, it became a mosque, and in 1948, it was converted to a museum.

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