Unusual places in Turkey

Table of contents:

Unusual places in Turkey
Unusual places in Turkey
photo: Unusual places in Turkey
photo: Unusual places in Turkey
  • Paradise and Hell caves
  • Nemrut-dag
  • Avanos Hair Museum
  • Lycian tombs of the city of Myra
  • Underwater city near the island of Kekova
  • Abandoned village Kayakoy
  • Monastery of Panagia Sumela

Turkey for many tourists is a luxury coastal resorts and the amazing historic city of Istanbul. However, few people assume that the country at the junction of Europe and Asia can offer its guests much more: grandiose natural attractions, tea plantations, ancient cities, giant palaces, mosques pierced by minarets of clouds, authentic villages and the like. From big cities like Istanbul or Ankara, it is easy to get to many unusual places in Turkey.

Turkey is constantly changing. Here, new resorts are being built up with modern hotels, golf courses are being developed, roads are being laid, and shady gardens are being created. Only historical and natural objects remain unchanged, which are treated with great care here.

Some guests of the country spend their entire vacation on the beach, breaking away from a snail-style vacation only on organized excursions. Others are still at home planning independent trips to remote beautiful corners that will be remembered for a long time.

How to get to the unique Turkish sights? Mostly by bus. As a last resort, we recommend using the services of taxi drivers.

Paradise and Hell caves


The caves with the unusual names Paradise and Hell are located in the Taurus Mountains, about 3 km from the Mediterranean coast, between the towns of Silifke and Mersin.

These names were given to the cave for a reason. Many residents of the surrounding villages and cities really believe that through these underground formations you can get to the next world.

A symbolic fee is charged for access to the caves. By purchasing a ticket, you can visit:

  • the Hell cave, which is located at the bottom of a deep gorge. There is no way to go down to it, so many visitors look at it from the observation deck. They say that in the old days, guilty fellow tribesmen were thrown into the gorge. According to another legend, the monster Typhon, defeated by Zeus, languished in the cave for some time;
  • Rai cave, located 75 m from the Hell cave. The cave is also located in a gorge, where 450 steps lead. Remember that on the way back you will have to climb them, so assess your strength sensibly. The staircase to Paradise is laid along a picturesque ravine slope overgrown with forest. In the cave itself, you will also have to go down the wet steps covered with a layer of clay. Below there is a river - supposedly the legendary waterway Styx, which carries its waters between two other worlds;
  • Chapel of the Virgin Mary, which is located at the entrance to the Paradise Cave. Paintings made in the 12th century have been preserved inside.

How to get there: take the D 400 road along the coast to the village of Narlykuyu. This can be done by buses going from Antalya to cities located east of Silifke. From the village of Narlykuyu about 2 km you need to go to the mountains on foot or take a taxi for about 15-20 lira.


Nemrut-dag with a height of 2150 m, which can be found about 90 km from the city of Adiyaman, would have been one of the most ordinary Taurus mountains, if not for the ancient sanctuary of the ruler of the kingdom of Kommagen, Antiochus I, based on its top.

On the flat top of Mount Nemrut-dag over the tomb of the king in the second half of the 1st century, a mound of small stones was poured. On two rocky terraces near the mound, the king's eternal sleep is guarded by giant statues of ancient gods and heroes. From the east, you can see five stone seated figures, each 8 meters high. Among the images of Zeus, Apollo, Hercules and Tyche there is also a statue of the ruler Antiochus. Behind the sculptures, which are gradually crumbling under the influence of rain and wind, there is a fragment of an altar. Huge heads of the gods stand next to him.

The same heads are installed on the western terrace. On the site, which adjoins the mound from the north, there are no decorative details. Probably, it served for religious cults. Some scholars believe that this was the site for the tomb of the next ruler of Commagene.

How to get there: the easiest way is to book an excursion at one of the travel agencies in the city of Adiyaman. Tours to Nemrut-dag involve meeting sunrise or sunset at the top. Independently from Adiyaman to Mount Nemrut can be reached through the city of Kyakhta. A bus or dolmush will take you there in half an hour. Dolmushi run from Kyakhta to Nemrut-dag.

Avanos Hair Museum

There is an eerie and unusual place in the city of Avanos. This is the Hair Museum, more reminiscent of a maniac's cave, but many tourists are delighted with visiting this strange institution and even offer the owner their hair as exhibits. Each strand attached to the wall is signed. All hair belongs to our contemporaries.

The hair museum is open in the most ordinary pottery workshop. Its owner, named Chez Galip, in the late 70s of the last century parted with a woman who was dear to him. As a souvenir of their relationship, he asked her for a lock of hair, placed this relic in his store and willingly told visitors a heart-warming story about his girlfriend. Sensitive ladies were so imbued with the story that they offered the potter their curls.

The Hair Museum began its work in 1979. Currently, it contains 16 thousand strands of different colors. Thanks to this, the Museum was included in the Guinness Book of Records.

Several times a year, the guests of the workshop help the owner to choose the most beautiful and lush strands. Their hostesses receive invitations to master classes on making clay products and the right to free accommodation in a guest house at the workshop.

The hair in the Museum hangs from the walls and ceiling. In the next room you can look at the dishes made by the owner and choose something to remember about visiting such an unusual place.

How to get there: Avanos is located southeast of Ankara. Route taxis go to him from the nearest cities, for example, Goreme and Nevsehir. On the way, tourists will spend about 40 minutes.

Lycian tombs of the city of Myra

One of the attractions of the modern city of Demre are the ruins of Myra, a settlement founded in the 5th century BC. NS. and abandoned in the 9th century AD. NS. From one of the largest Lycian cities, there is an amphitheater built by the Romans, and a number of cave tombs built on the hillside.

The Lycians believed that the dead people were carried to the afterlife by magical winged creatures, therefore, in order to facilitate the latter's task, they buried their high-ranking citizens on high cliffs. The most ancient burials are in simple caves created in the rocks. In the 4th century and later, the entrances to the tombs began to be decorated with massive Romanesque columns and beautiful reliefs. From the burials of the Lycians, only empty burial chambers remained. All tombs were plundered in past centuries.

When visiting the Lycian tombs of Myra, you need to know the following:

  • in the ancient city they were buried in two necropolises - ocean and river. The Oceanic Necropolis is located northwest of the Roman theater;
  • the most famous tomb in the river necropolis, which is located 1.5 km from the amphitheater, is called Lion, or Painted. The first name is explained by the fact that the facade of the burial chamber is decorated with images of a lion and a bull. The second name is due to the fact that the walls of the tombs were covered with bright colors in the middle of the 19th century, when the traveler Charles Fellowes studied them. Now the colors have faded and are almost indistinguishable;
  • sarcophagi stand at the foot of the rock tombs. It is believed that representatives of the common class were buried in them;
  • access to the tombs is currently prohibited. They can only be admired from below.

How to get there: Demre is located on the D400 highway connecting the coastal Mediterranean cities of Turkey. Buses from Antalya, Kemer and other resorts go through Demre. From Antalya to Demre, it takes about 2.5 hours to go. From the bus station Demre, the ruins of Myra can be easily reached on foot.

Underwater city near the island of Kekova


Once in the Turkish resorts of Kas and Kalkan, any tourist will be faced with the fact that he will certainly be offered a boat trip to the sunken city near the island of Kekova. The underwater ruins are rarely mentioned in guidebooks, but they are quite popular among travelers. In summer, there will be a lot of pleasure boats in the vicinity of the island. This is also where yachts stop for cruises from Fethiye to Olympos.

The island of Kekova is located near the coast, along which the famous 560 km trail runs, which covers places associated with the Lycians.

Kekova is now uninhabited, but this was not always the case. The island flourished during the Lycian and Byzantine eras. Then, in the II century, there was a terrible earthquake, and most of the island went under water. People did not leave Kekova until the 19th century, although they suffered from the raids of the Arabs.

In 1990, Turkish authorities learned that divers were diving near Kekova, and feared that valuable artifacts raised from the bottom of the sea could be sold on the black market. Therefore, there was a ban on sailing near the banks of the Kekova.

You can only see the ruins that have sunk under the water from the side of the boat. Under the water you can see the walls of houses, old stone steps going into obscurity, the remains of a shipyard.

How to get there: from Antalya, where the international airport is located, take a bus to the Kas resort, from where ferries start to Kekova.

Abandoned village Kayakoy

There are many abandoned villages in the world, but they all always arouse serious interest among tourists who do not miss the opportunity to visit where time has forever stopped.

The ghost village of Kayakoy was abandoned not so long ago - in the 1920s, after the end of the Greco-Turkish war. By that time, about 20 thousand Greeks lived in Kayakey, who professed Orthodoxy. After the war, the Greeks living in Turkey began to be oppressed. The Muslim Turks in Greece were subjected to the same persecution. Then the governments of the two countries agreed on the "great migration of peoples." Greeks and Turks moved to their original homeland.

Kayakei was abandoned and forgotten. The village consisted of 350 houses, of which only dilapidated walls now remain. The roofs have long ago rotted and collapsed. The village also contains the ruins of two Orthodox churches, the remains of fountains and water reservoirs.

In Kayakey you can find a small private museum, the exposition of which tells about the past of the village.

How to get there: Dolmus, which goes from Fethiye to Oludeniz through the mountains. The journey takes no more than 15 minutes. An option for hikers is to go to Kayakoy on foot from Oludeniz. The route is marked with special signs, which means that tourists will not get lost. They will be in place in 2, 5-3 hours.

Monastery of Panagia Sumela

The phrase "Panagia Sumela" can be translated as "Mother of God of the Black Mountain." This name was given to the miraculous icon, on the site of the discovery of which a cave monastery was built near Trabzon. It is believed that the author of the image of the Virgin Mary was the evangelist Luke. Today this icon is kept in Greece, in the village of Kastanya.

In the IV century, Orthodox monasteries that appeared in the Trebizond area, as Trabzon was formerly called, were not only holy monasteries, but also defensive structures. The Panagia Sumela Monastery was one of them.

Currently, the monastery is just a tourist attraction. It occupies four levels of caves, carved into the rock at an altitude of 1200 meters above sea level. They contain 72 cells. From the top floor, it was possible to monitor the surroundings and repel enemy attacks.

The monastery has always enjoyed the favor of those in power. Even the Muslim sultans supported the Sumela monastery. The monastery flourished until the devastating earthquake that struck in the 1920s. The restoration of the monastery continues to this day.

How to get there: Panagia Sumela Monastery is part of the Altyndere National Park. Excursions are carried here from Trabzon. This is the easiest way to get to the holy monastery. Otherwise, you will have to order a taxi.


Unusual places in Turkey
Unusual places in Turkey
Unusual places in Turkey
Unusual places in Turkey
Unusual places in Turkey
Unusual places in Turkey
Unusual places in Turkey
Unusual places in Turkey