Exploring Turkey beyond Istanbul

Istanbul is one of the world’s great cities. Straddling the Bosphorus, it famously links Europe and Asia, offering much to travellers who appreciate history and heritage. Exploring Turkey beyond Istanbul means opportunities to visit ancient sites such as Ephesus and enjoy relaxing beach holidays.

Disclosure: This post is paid for by e-visa.co.uk. The company operates a premium visa application service via which travellers can apply for the e-visa Turkey visitors from many countries are required to have in order to visit the country.

Do you need a visa for Turkey? That’s a question you’ll need to address before crossing the Turkish border. Unless you’re a citizen of a visa-exempt country, a visa is a necessity for business or leisure travel to Turkey.

It’s possible to apply for a visa online via the Republic of Turkey’s Electronic Visa Application System. Alternatively, you could submit your application via e-visa.co.uk.

Reasons to use e-visa.co.uk

“Regarding the visa application cost, the reason our prices are higher than the official site is because we offer various supplementary services the official site does not. These include smart application forms that automatically track down frequently made mistakes, for example if a passport number is too long or too short,” explained Arthur Young, an Account Manager at e-visa.co.uk.

“We also operate a 24/7 customer service by telephone and e-mail, including during weekends and holidays. This goes beyond the frequently asked questions that tend to be listed on official visa application websites,” he added.

“Another of our value adds is the manual checking of all applications by our visa specialists, to make sure they are 100% correct. If we suspect any errors, customers are contacted immediately to double-check facts and ensure the application details are correct,” said the Account Manager.

“Additionally, we operate a generous refund policy. If a visa is denied, for whatever reason, e-visa.co.uk promises to refund the application cost,” said Mr Young.

“Basically, we find that people are willing to pay a little more in order for some of the work and pressure of applying for a visa to be taken off their hands,” he explained, as to why people use e-visa.co.uk when applying for a visa.

Night view of the coastal city of Kusadasi in Turkey.
Night view of the coastal city of Kusadasi in Turkey.

Exploring heritage in Istanbul

Istanbul is a rewarding destination for a long weekend. Formerly known as Constantinople, after the Roman Emperor Constantine, who made the city the capital of Empire, it has many historic sites to visit. The city flourished during the Byzantine Empire and subsequently became the base of Ottoman power. The Topkapi Palace Museum stands as a legacy of the Ottoman era and is one of Istanbul’s UNESCO-designated World Heritage Site historic areas.

So too is the Hagia Sophia, which for almost 1,000 years stood as the world’s largest cathedral before conversion into a mosque.

Boat tours on the Bosphorus are a relaxing way of orientating on the water. If you enjoy shopping don’t miss the opportunity to explore the Grand Bazaar, which has been a location in many movies, including the Bond films From Russia With Love and Skyfall.

Roman mosaic excavated in terraced housing at Ephesus. Turkey has a rich and varied history.
Roman mosaic excavated in terraced housing at Ephesus. Turkey has a rich and varied history.

Turkey as a beach holiday destination

Patara, Antalya and the Bodrum Peninsula count among the destinations that draw international travellers to Turkey for beach holidays. Even if your primary holiday objective is to flop on the sand and spend a fortnight relaxing, Bodrum Castle warrants an excursion. The fortress, known as the Castle of St Peter, was constructed under the Knights of St John from 1502 onwards.

Kalkan is another of Turkey’s outstanding beach destinations. It became part a part of the country following the Greco-Turkish War of 1919-1922. In common with other Greek territory in Anatolia, Kalkan was ceded to Turkey in the Treaty of Lausanne.

For decades the village of Şirince, close to Selçuk, remained in a state of semi-abandonment. In recent years buildings have been restored, yet it retains a rustic feel.

Christian pilgrims are now drawn to that part of Turkey due to the building known as the House of the Virgin Mary. It is reputed to be the place where the mother of Jesus Christ lived out her last years. The house was rediscovered in the 1880s after a visionary, known as Blessed Anne Catherine Emmerich, described it despite never having visited.

Minaret in the village of Şirince, Turkey
Minaret in the village of Şirince.

A stroll through Ephesus

Ephesus, less than 30 minutes’ drive inland from the port city of Kuşadasi, is one of the best-preserved cities of the Roman Empire. It was the location of the Temple of Artemis, one of the Seven Wonders of the World, and since 2015 has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Library of Celcus and Great Theatre of Ephesus count amount two of Ephesus’s key attractions.

Excavated terraced houses hold a wealth of details about everyday life during Roman times. You can see frescos of the muses and detailed mosaics within the remains of buildings formerly occupied by wealthy citizens of Ephesus.

Acquiring a visa is a way of exploring Ephesus and elsewhere in Turkey.

Facade of the Library of Celcus at Ephesus in Turkey.
Facade of the Library of Celcus at Ephesus in Turkey.

Fun factoids to ponder

Did you know that Istanbul is the only city in the world that straddles two continents? Istanbul has almost 15 million inhabitants.

The poultry popularly eaten at Christmastime in the United Kingdom and at Thanksgiving in the United States of America is, of course, known as turkey. The name in English is thought to be derived from the fact the bird was first imported to England via the Ottoman Empire by Turkey Merchants or members of the Levant Company of traders.

Seating within the Great Theatre of Ephesus, which is renowned for the quality of its acoustics.
Seating within the Great Theatre of Ephesus, which is renowned for the quality of its acoustics.

Further information

Discover more about things to do and see in Turkey via the country’s official tourism information website, Go Turkey Tourism.

Find information about attractions in Istanbul via the Visit Istanbul website. Turkish Airlines operates flights to Istanbul Airport.

Photographs illustrating this post are by Why Eye Photography, which is based in North East England and can be reached on 07947 587136.

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