Lyrbe

Off the beaten track, in Taurus mountains, lie picturesque ruins of ancient Lyrbe. Only a few years ago, the ruins of this ancient city were not easily accessible to the public. What is more, even the identification of this city and its name raised serious doubts among researchers. Recently the road leading to the gate of Lyrbe has been tarmacked and the ruins have attracted more and more tourists, mostly brought there by the pompously called "jeep safari" tours. However, if you are lucky and plan the timing of your arrival carefully, you will be able to have this entire ancient city entirely at your disposal. Lyrbe is located far away from the Mediterranean coast, but the well-preserved agora and the picturesque location in the middle of the forest make this trip a spectacular experience.

The ruins of Lyrbe
The ruins of Lyrbe

Symmetrical Church (Aynalı Kilise) in Göreme

Halfway between Göreme and Ortahisar hides one of the most charming rock churches in Cappadocia. It is the Symmetrical Church (tr. Aynalı Kilise), called so because of its geometric ornamentations, mirrored on the opposite walls. Exploration of the interior and the adjacent monastery complex is a great adventure for all travelers who are not afraid of the dark and narrow, steep passages.

Symmetrical Church (Aynalı Kilise) in Göreme
Symmetrical Church (Aynalı Kilise) in Göreme

Rise in museum admission fees in Turkey 2016

Topkapı Palace in Istanbul
Topkapı Palace in Istanbul

On 4 January 2016, ticket prices to many museums and archaeological sites in Turkey were significantly increased. On the one hand, it is an economically justified move, since Turkish lira has recently been depreciated against the euro and the US dollar. On the other hand, this decision has caused discontent and many protests, especially among the representatives of the Turkish tourism sector. They fear that high ticket prices will deter tourists from visiting the most popular places in Turkey, including - Pamukkale and Ephesus. Also, the largest opposition party in the Turkish parliament, i.e. CHP, issued a request to the Minister of Culture and Tourism, Mahir Ünal, urging him to cancel the decision.

Notion

Extensive, but overgrown ruins of the ancient city Notion (Notium) are picturesquely situated on a hilltop overlooking the Aegean Sea coast, Ahmetbeyli village. Its history is closely related to nearby Colophon, hidden inland 17 km to the north. The name Notion in Ancient Greek means 'southern'.

Notion
Notion

Belha Monastery near Özkonak

Belha Monastery is one of those places in Cappadocia, which are not frequently visited by organised tours. Although it is located just 5-minute-drive from a popular underground city in Özkonak, this historical monument remains poorly studied and is still surrounded by mystery. Not much can be learnt about its history, and rudimentary information provided by different sources about this monastery is often contradictory.

Belha Monastery near Özkonak
Belha Monastery near Özkonak

Kilistra

Do not be deceived by the photos of rock-carved houses and churches, similar to the structures in Cappadocia and the Phrygian Valley. Here we will be talking about the tiny village of Gökyurt, located off the main roads, about 45 kilometers southwest of Konya. In this site, forgotten by tourists and by the majority of Turks, there are the remains of the ancient settlement Kilistra. It is the settlement carved in rocks, which was reportedly once visited by St. Paul.

Even from a distance you can see that Gökyurt village is a unique place. From the access road, you can admire the settlement, located on a stony hillside, surrounded by natural stone spires instead of defensive walls. However, the biggest attraction of Kilistra is hidden from the eyes of passers-by. These are rooms carved into the rock, which are still used by Gökyurt residents.

Kilistra
Kilistra

Dara

When travelers visit the south-eastern Anatolian province of Mardin, they usually feel that they need to see just one place - the capital of the province. Meanwhile, in the area there are relatively little known but very interesting ruins of the ancient city of Dara. In the early Byzantine times, Dara was an important fortress, located in northern Mesopotamia, near the border with the Persian Sassanid Empire. Because of this strategic location, in the 6th century AD Dara witnessed many military conflicts, of which the most important was the famous Battle of Dara, fought in 530 AD. So if you get to Mardin, then try also to go to Dara, and certainly you will not regret this trip.

Ancient City of Dara, Mesopotamia
Ancient City of Dara, Mesopotamia

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