Top 3 UNESCO World Heritage Sights in Turkey

With Turkey’s rich history and breathtaking natural phenomenons it’s not surprising that the county is home to many UNESCO World Heritage sites.

Turkey is blessed with a rich and colourful history and several sites of immense natural beauty which explains why there are so many UNESCO World Heritage Sites spread across the entire country. Whether you journey to the far east to explore The Ghost City of Ani, to the Black Sea for Hattusha, the Capital of the Hittite Empire or the ruined cities of Ephesus, Hierapolis or the former Constantinople in western Turkey you are guaranteed to see unique ancient examples of ancient history.

Turkey 4
Historic Areas of Istanbul

Since the Roman era Istanbul, formerly Constantinople and Byzantium, has been the pinnacle city connecting east to west and Europe to Asia via the Bosphorus strait. A major trading link both for the Silk Road and for ships passing from the Aegean to the Black Sea and on to Russia. Wedged between two continents, Istanbul naturally became a junction of cultural acceptance and diversity which is still evident in the city today. There are four historic areas of Istanbul which have been recognised as UNESCO World Heritage Sites and all can be found around the central Sultanahmet district.

The Archeological Park; the most famous of the four UNESCO areas, the archaeological park includes 6th century AD churches, Topkapi Palace which served as an Ottoman headquarters during the 15th century, the Hippodrome of Constantine and the iconic Blue Mosque, built and dedicated to Sultan Ahmet, the Ottoman ruler.

The Zone of the Ramparts; which encompasses the remains of the Theodosian stone walls built in Byzantine times to fortify the city. A 6 km stretch of the walls can be walked in a few hours or leave yourself an entire day so you can make stops at Mihrimah Mosque, quaint tea houses and the remaining watchtowers.

The Zeyrek Quarter; here you can still find examples of original wooden houses between lively market streets, modern life mixes with old as butchers are hard at work preparing their goods while neighbouring stalls offer tasters of village cheese, nuts and baklava, and all this happens under the shadow of the 12th century Pantokrator Monastery. Originally two orthodox churches which were later converted to Zeyrek Mosque in the 15th century, the building overlooks the Golden Horn in the centre of Istanbul.

Suleymaniye; located on the Third Hill of Istanbul, this historic neighbourhood is where you can find the Suleymaniye Complex including Istanbul’s largest mosque, a library, soup kitchen and the tombs of Suleyman and his Ukrainian wife and former slave who came to be known as Roxelana and ruled the Ottoman Empire alongside her son, Sulin II.

Turkey 1


The City of Safranbolu

This traditional Ottoman City was declared a UNESCO world heritage site in 1994, and preserves its narrow cobblestone streets of whitewash houses and red tiled roofs. In the 13th century the city became a major point on the Europe-Asia Silk Road and traveling tradesmen would seek rest and make business deals within the wooden houses and inns of the city. Over the centuries the city became known for its production of handicrafts and more famously for its production of Saffron which is how Safranbolu earned its name. While the city no longer a make the spice on a large scale the city has retained its Ottoman structures and today you can wander through the historic houses, mosques, markets and bathhouses and soak up the rich cultural heritage of the City of Safranbolu.

Turkey 3



Nestled between lush mountains just a 30 minute drive from the stunning beaches of the Turkey’s Aegean Coast and seaside resort towns are the ruins of the once prosperous Greek-Roman trading city of Ephesus. Despite its landlocked location Ephesus was considered a port and the surrounding hills allowed the city to be protected from frequent pirate raids and foreign invasions. As a result this UNESCO World Heritage Site has remained in very good condition and has earned the title of the 2nd largest city of the Ancient World as well as being noted as a former capital of Asia Minor under the reign of the Roman Empire.

Estimated to be over 2,000 years old, walking through the marble columned entrance way on an Ephesus Turkey tour may well make you feel like you have been transported back to a bygone era. Take a seat in the colossal amphitheatre where 2,500 toga clad Romans once sat to witness tournaments, and stop by the impressive library or hike to the hilltop acropolis before or after visiting the Ephesus museum in Selcuk Old Town.

While visiting Ephesus you’ll probably be based in the traditional town of Selcuk and if you have a day or two free on your vacation then you can also visit some remarkable Early Christian sites like the House of the Virgin Mary, St John’s Basilica and the Cave of the Seven Sleepers, or explore Seljuk-Ottoman history at the Isa Bey Mosque and Ayasuluk Castle.

Share this story, choose your platform!

About the author:

Leave a Comment

Essential Guide to Visiting Macao

Nestled on the southern coast of China, Macao is a unique and utterly fascinating destination. A rare jewel, with its fusion of Eastern and Western cultures and traditions, this former Portuguese colony has become known as “the Las Vegas of the East”. It’s much more than just an entertainment paradise, though.  A trip to Macao is

Read More »

Vietnamese athletes in the Olympics 2024

As 2023 came to an end, Vietnamese sports fans celebrated three remarkable athletes who clinched the official berth for the Paris Olympics 2024 in France. The Vietnam sports authority is hoping to take 12-15 athletes to represent their nation at the Olympic Games in France, but only five have qualified so far. That puts them

Read More »

Momentous Sporting Events in Vietnam

Vietnam has always been known for its resiliency, history, and culture. These qualities are only further exemplified in the sporting events that they hold in the country. This Southeast Asian has been the stage for many milestone moments for the country and the region as a whole. It doesn’t look like Vietnam is about to

Read More »


Shaping the Future of HoReCa Bangkok, Thailand – The Department of International Trade Promotion, the Thai Chamber of Commerce, and Koelnmesse are thrilled to announce the upcoming THAIFEX – HOREC ASIA 2024. Scheduled from March 6th to 8th at IMPACT, Muang Thong Thani, this premier event is poised to redefine the HoReCa (hotel, restaurant, and

Read More »

Adventure Travel in Uganda: Rafting, Hiking, and Wildlife Safaris

Uganda, often called the Pearl of Africa, is a hidden gem for adventure seekers. With its diverse landscapes, ranging from dense forests and snow-capped mountains to vast savannas and majestic rivers, Uganda offers a wide array of thrilling activities for those looking to explore the wild side of Africa. From adrenaline-pumping white-water rafting on the

Read More »

Streets, Stories, and Pho: A First-Timer’s Guide to Hanoi

Hey there, Hanoi Newbies! Welcome to the chaos, charm, and downright deliciousness that is Hanoi! Buckle up because we’re about to dive headfirst into this city where every street has a tale to tell, and the aroma of Pho is practically a love letter to your taste buds. This first-timer’s guide is your golden ticket

Read More »