Located on a flat peninsula, 300 meters wide and 800 meters long, Side is packed with archaeological wonders and surrounded on both sides by the blue water of the Mediterranean. Old Side was surrounded on all four sides by high walls to protect the city from both land and sea. The main gate of the city was built during the Hellenistic period to the east and it was protected by two towers. There were two main streets in the city, with columned porticos and shops behind them. The most impressive sites are: the Amphitheatre dating back to Hellenistic period and is one of the largest (after Aspendos) in Turkey seating approximately 15,000 people and the Roman Temples of Apollo and Artemis; the City Gates; Aqua ducts and Museum. Take an unforgettable walk through these ruins at night when all are beautiful illuminated.
Istanbul is one of the truly great romantic cities. Istanbul is home to a layering of civilization on civilization, of empire built on empire. A stroll through this historic city will reveal ancient Roman hippodromes, peristyles, and aqueducts, the greatest excesses of the Byzantine Empire and the mystique and power of the Ottoman Empire. In this sprawling, continent-spanning city you can tramp the streets where crusaders and janissaries once marched; admire mosques that are the most sublime architectural expressions of Islamic piety; peer into the sultan's harem; and hunt for bargains in the Kapali Çarsi.
Centrally located in Anatolia, Ankara is the capital of Turkey and the country's second largest city after Istanbul. It is an important commercial and cultural city. Ankara boasts a number of prestigious universities and technical colleges, as well as the largest library in the country. It is also a center for opera, ballet, jazz, and modern dance, and is home of the Presidential Symphony Orchestra, the State Theatre, and the State Opera and Ballet. The most interesting part of the city is Ulus, the old part of town. The main sight is the Kale, the fortress overlooking the city. Around town you will find a few remains of Roman times, like the Augustus temple, which became famous with historians because of the 'Monumentum Ancyranum', the legacy of emperor Augustus. Next to the temple ruin you will find the tomb of Haci Bayram and his mosque.
Formerly known as Hallicarnassus, Bodrum is the home of the great Mausoleum, one the seven wonders of antiquity, the famous castle, amphitheatre and to a very unique marine museum. Nowadays, it is Turkey's most popular seaside tourist destination, a party town with a magnificent mountain surrounding, that is full of great markets. The most impressive landmark is the Bodrum Castle, built by the Crusaders in the 15th century, overlooking the harbor and the International Marina. The castle grounds includes a Museum of Underwater Archeology and hosts several cultural festivals throughout the year. From here, you can take daytrips to the nearby islands or you can enjoy the Mavi Yoluculu (the "Blue Cruise"), Cevat's romanticized weeklong journey along the glorious coastlines of the Mediterranean.
Situated in a superb gulf in the Aegean region of Turkey, Kusadasi, or the "bird island", is known for its turquoise sparkling water of the Sea, broad sandy beaches, bright sun and large marina. Besides the great beaches there are some interesting historic landmarks not to be missed such as: the ancient ruins of the fortress and its gates, which remind to this day of the impact the Ottomans had on the city at the beginning of the 15th century. Guvercin Ada - the peninsula at the end of the bay, has a castle and swimming beaches, including a private beach and cafe with a view back across the bay to the harbor of Kusadasi. Kusadasi is also an excellent starting point to explore some impressive historical sights including Miletos and Ephesus and the rock formations at Pamukkale.
Surnamed the "Pearl of the Aegean", Izmir is Turkey's third largest city and second most important port. It is a superb city of palm-lined promenades, avenues and green parks set along a circular bay. The magnificent coastline abounds in vast and pristine beaches surrounded by olive groves, rocky crags and pine woods. Konak Square and Konak Street are the best points to start your visit to Izmir. One of the most impressive landmarks of Izmir harbor is the Clock Tower, a beautiful marble tower 25 meters height. Other sights are the nine synagogues, concentrated either in the traditional Jewish quarter of Karatas or in Havra Sokak (Synagogue street) in Kemeralti. The Izmir Birds Paradise in Cigli, a bird sanctuary near Karsiyaka, containing 205 species of birds, is not to be missed. Izmir is also a good starting point to explore the many sights in the region.
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