Category Archives: Middle East

Turkey: The Majestic Land of Shahs

Mount Nemrut Turkey
Mount Nemrut Turkey  If you want to enjoy some sunbathing and historical relics then a trip to the land of the Shahs, that is Turkey should be on your cards. I was always marveled by this country that spreads across two continents. Turkey is also the closest point between three continents – Asia, Europe and Africa. There are marvelous sandy beaches across the expanse of this great country. More than 97% of Turkey’s total landmass is in Asia and it is known as Anatolia, while the rest lies in Europe and better known as Thrace. What enthralled me since childhood was the statement that “Turkey is the cradle of cultures and civilizations”. Since the beginning of history Turkey witnessed the first major settlements. The rich cultural heritage of Turkey was enhanced with all the empires ruling these lands such as Byzantines, Seljuks, Sumerians, Hittities to the Ottomans.


Turkey is a land of superior beauty. It is surrounded by many seas such as Bosporus, Dardanelles, Aegean, Mediterranean, Black and Marmara seas. On my tour across the expanse of Turkey I came across sights with great beauty. Feeling that I had on seeing some of these beautiful locations are very hard to describe. I would like to share some of the places I visited during my recent tour to this marvelous land.


  • Lake Nemrut VolcanoNemrut: This is one of my best picks on Turkey tour. Nemrut is a site with historical magnificence. It is rightfully called the Eighth Wonder of the World. There are numerous monuments spread across the expanse of this mountain. The mountain is about 2206 meters in height and overlooks the Firat River. This is an ideal spot to take some memorable snaps. Nemrut has statues of Persian and Greek gods that were built under order of the Commagene King Antiochus. It is also the place where the remains of the ancient king rest.
  • Side: Another memorable destination. Side refers to the goddess of Anatolia. This city flourished in the early 700 B.C. and it was a center for culture, trade and science. The place has remnants of some remarkable architecture. Side’s architecture is heavily influenced by the Cretans. This site of historic importance is located east of Antalya. I took a shuttle from Antalya Airport to reach Side.
  • Sumela MonasterySumela Monastery: Nested within the rocks is a scenic monastery that holds significant historical importance. Sumela means “Virgin Mary of Soumela” and the monastery was built way back in the 4th century B.C. by two priests Sophronius and Barnabus who had seen an icon of Virgin Mary in the cave. Ever since the monastery, situated atop a steep cliff has, has witnessed the ravages of time. The frescos existing within the monastery are very beautiful. While going through these partially destroyed frescoes I wondered how many civilizations have tried to destroy its beauty. I used a tour package to get to Sumela Monastery as personal tours are hard to organize.
  • Zeugma: This ancient Turkish city was erected by Selecus, one of Alexander the Great generals. It was known as “Euphrates Selevkaya” under the Greeks, the present name was used by the Romans. The city has relics of Roman mosaics, which are superb. The tour across the city is divided into three sections – A, B and C. All the sections bear witness to the Roman architecture and cultural heritage.


Being a history lover these places were bound to be in my list. But my Turkish tour was not all about history it was also for merriment. So, I visited some sandy beaches at Fethiye, Kas, Gocek, Alanya and Marmaris.


Days fleeted passed when I was in Turkey. I was left wondering and at times felt poetic viewing the beauty of this great country.