Magnificent ancient cities, rock-cut churches, and jaw-dropping temple ruins are just a few of Turkey’s historical treasures. Because the country was home to numerous civilizations, various architectural designs can be found here. You can view historical artifacts from the Roman, Seljuk, Ottoman, and Byzantine civilizations. If you’re a history buff, a visit to Turkey won’t disappoint you! Here’s a guide to the 8 top-rated historical attractions in Turkey.

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8 Must-See Historical Attractions In Turkey

Göbekli Tepe

Gobekli Tepe

The ancient ruins in Göbekli Tepe, also known as the Belly Hill are one of the best historical attractions in Turkey that you have to visit. They’re found in the Germuş mountains near Anatolia.

Göbekli Tepe represents large carved stones (megaliths) that are around 11,000 years old and were assembled by prehistoric humans who didn’t have access to metal tools or pottery. It’s considered to be the world’s oldest temple, making it around 6,000 years older than Stonehenge. Super interesting!

Location: Örencik, 63290 Haliliye/Şanlıurfa, Turkey

Hotels Near Göbekli Tepe: Hilton Garden Inn Sanliurfa, Dedeman Sanliurfa

Patara Antique Theater

Ancient Patara Theater

This magnificent Roman Theater, which was once buried under sand, is now open to the public. The structure was built during the Hellenistic era, but it was remodeled in the Roman era when Antoninus Pius and Hadrian were in power.

It’s located in Patara, an ancient city older than 2,000 years. The Lycian League held its conferences in Patara, which also served as its harbor. The ancient city was still significant during the Roman era since it was the provincial governor’s residence and a port connecting Rome to the eastern provinces.

Location: Merkez, Gelemiş (Patara), Kaş, Antalya, Turkey

Hotels Near Patara Antique Theater: Erdem City Hotel, Bahar Pansiyon, Payam Hotel

Hierapolis Pamukkale Denizli

Pamukkale thermal pools, Turkey

As one of the most visited historical sites in Turkey, Hierapolis finds a spot on the Unesco World Heritage list. The ancient Greek city has been an interesting spot since the 2nd century BC. It’s known for its gorgeous hot springs that served as a spa and a healing center. Plus, there are many ancient ruins surrounding it: Necropolis, Temple of Apollo, Shrine of the Nymphs, Sanctuary to Pluto, the Theater, and St. Philip Martyrium.

Location: 20280 Pamukkale/Denizli, Turkey

Hotels Near Hierapolis: White Heaven Hotel, Halici Hotel

The Blue Mosque

The Blue Mosque

All history lovers need to visit Blue Mosque in Istanbul. It’s a prominent sight in Turkey and it’s often called Sultan Ahmed Mosque or Sultan Ahmet Camii. It was constructed between 1609 and 1616, under the reign of Ahmed I.

The architectural masterpiece features hand-painted blue tiles, 200 glass windows, and a marble mihrab. Incredible! Furthermore, some argue that the remarkable structure defines Ottoman architecture.

Location: Sultan Ahmet, Atmeydanı Cd. No:7, 34122 Fatih/İstanbul, Turkey

Recommended Read 5 Amazing Hotels Near Blue Mosque In Turkey

Goreme Open Air Museum

Goreme region in Turkey

Goreme Open Air Museum represents a collection of numerous refectory monasteries and ancient churches that are arranged side by side and carved into the rock. It’s recognized as a Unesco World Heritage site and it’s frequently visited by tourists from all over the world.

When Kayseri Bishop of St. Basil arrived to preach his teachings and train students, the area was regarded as a place for a calm monastery life. Up until the 13th century, the Goreme region served as a hub of the educational and training system.

Apart from the jaw-dropping rock-cut churches, the region boasts natural formations called fairy chimneys. They formed from volcanic lava after the eruption of Mount Erciyes millions of years ago.

Location: 50180 Göreme/Nevşehir Merkez/Nevşehir, Turkey

Hotels Near Goreme Open Air Museum: Goreme Kaya Hotel, Royal Stone Houses

Derinkuyu Underground City

Ancient underground city in Turkey

Located near Nevşehir in Cappadocia province, this ancient underground city was discovered by accident in 1963. A citizen was remodeling his home and came across a collection of tunnels and caves several meters deep.

With livestock, supplies, and food reserves, up to 20,000 people could’ve lived here – all thanks to creative ingenious ventilation systems. The underground city was meant to be used as a safe place to hide during wars or in case of religious persecution.

Location: Bayramlı, Niğde Cd., 50700 Derinkuyu/Nevşehir, Turkey

Hotels Near Derinkuyu Underground City: Hermes Cave Hotel, Antik Stone House, Tabal Cave Hotel

Basilica Cistern

Basilica Cistern

Basilica Cistern is Istanbul’s most notable ancient cistern. It was built by the Byzantine Emperor Justinian I and is characterized by marble columns, Medusa heads, and a dark ambiance. The main use of the cistern was to provide a water filtration system for important buildings like the Great Palace of Constantinople and others.

The Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality cleaned and restored the cistern in 1985, and it opened its doors to the public in 1987. Visitors can stroll along its elevated wooden platforms and see the water drip from the ceiling.

Location: Alemdar, Yerebatan Cd. 1/3, 34110 Fatih/İstanbul, Turkey

Hotels Near Basilica Cistern: Dosso Dossi Hotels Old City, Antusa Palace Hotel & Spa

The Temple Of Artemis

The Temple of Artemis

The Temple of Artemis (or Temple of Diana) is listed as one of the seven wonders of the Ancient World. It was constructed in the 6th century BCE, but it was damaged by fire in the 4th century BCE. Luckily, it was successfully rebuilt before it got destroyed again in the Late Antiquity and the Gothic invasion.

After being reconstructed once again, it was almost completely demolished in 401 CE by the Christians of that era. Today, the site of the largest temple in the ancient Mediterranean is now only marked by the foundations and a single column.

Location: Atatürk, Park İçi Yolu No:12, 35920 Selçuk/İzmir, Turkey

Hotels Near The Temple Of Artemis: Akanthus Hotel Ephesus, Hotel Mary’s House


What are Turkey’s most famous historical places?

Famous historical places in Turkey are:

  • Göbekli Tepe

  • Patara Antique Theater

  • Hierapolis – Pamukkale

  • The Blue Mosque

  • The Basilica Cistern

  • The Temple Of Artemis

What is the oldest building in Turkey?

Göbekli Tepe.

What are other must-see historical attractions in Turkey?

Other popular tourist attractions in Turkey are:

  • Topkapi Palace

  • Hagia Sophia

  • Grand Bazaar

  • Sumela Monastery

  • Galata Tower

  • Dolmabahce Palace

  • The Golden Horn

  • The House of Virgin Mary

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