Weekend Getaways around Ankara, Turkey
Dubbed the “Sick Man of Europe”, the birthplace of the Byzantine Empire, and land which shares borders with both the continents of Asia and Europe, Turkey is a unique country in its own right. With massive structures, clean well laid out streets, a distinct multi-culinary cuisine, Turkey has a lot to offer and is worth mentioning in every globe trotter’s list of places to pay a visit to.
Ankara became the capital city of this country in quite recent times in 1923 by its revolutionary head of state Kemal Ataturk. Earlier Ankara was known by a Greek name Ancyra and another one, Angora. This should not come as a surprise as Turkey has one hell of relation with changing names. Just take for instance how Turkey was referred to as Anatolia and Istanbul were known as Constantinople and Byzantium in the past. Anyway, it is a picturesque city,but even more aesthetic and adventurous experiences can be found in spots away from Ankara. So here are some weekend getaways to watch out for in Turkey.
Located in the heart of Turkey is a landmass called Central Anatolian Plateau. And on this plateau, is located a bustling town called Konya. With a rich history of conquests by monarchs from Darius III to Alexander the Great, this site has places that especially a history buff should head to. There are a large number of museums featuring the Konya Archaeological Museum which is focussed on general historical phases and cultures like that of the Greeks and Ottomans, and the Mevlana Museum. This is also the mausoleum of none another than the greatSufi mystic and poet Jalaluddin Rumi. Hence, this might trigger literature lovers too. The Seljuk Tower which is the tallest structure in Konya can also be seen. While visiting the museums, you can hit the street stands and wander on the stone-lined paths with an Etli ekmek in hand (a local dish comprising of meat and bread).
Distance from Ankara: 144 miles (3 hours)
Best time to visit: May to July
Places to stay: Dedeman Konya Hotel and Convention Centre, Araf Hotel, Hilton Garden Inn, Rumi Hotel
Known as Nicomedia in the past (another example of a city with changing names), Izmit is a city located near the Gulf of Izmit. It is unique in the sense that it has one part constructed on hilly areas while the other part was on flatter plains. Main attractions at Izmit are the Dolphin centre and Kartepe Ski Centre From classic skiing tracks to chair lifts and even a tele-ski, the Kartepe Center offers a thrilling snow filled experience. Owing to its rich heritage, Izmit also boasts of remnants of Greek and Roman past. These include a centre of worship dedicated to Demeter (the Greek goddess of good harvests and agriculture), Roman aqueducts which served as water channels, tombs of kings in the Hellenistic period and a temple for Augustus, the first Roman emperor.
Distance from Ankara: 211 miles (3 hours 30 minutes)
Best time to visit: April to July
Places to stay: Hampton (Hilton), Ramada Plaza, Luxor Garden Hotel, Business Palas Hotel, Kocaeli Universitesi Derbent Uygulama Oteli
Amasya is both the name of a province and its capital city located at nearly the same distance between Ankara and Inzit. This area is famous for its apple orchards heavily favoured by the coastal climate present here. An interesting fact is that many hotels, guest houses, inns and pubs were constructed out of houses and offices during the days when Tukey was under the reign of the Ottoman Empire. Tombs are found in abundance from those of Roman rulers and scholars to Muslim saints. Major past times include fishing trout at Lake Borabay. It is a scenic location perfect for capturing moments behind your camera lens. In one region, there are also certain hot water springs and geysers.
Distance from Ankara: 211 miles (4 hours 05 minutes)
Best time to visit: June to July
Places to stay: Elit Pansyon, Theodre Butik Hotel, Grand Harsena Hotel, Sarikonak Boutique Spa and Hotel, Gul Evi Konagi
Just like the previously mentioned city, Nevsehir is a capital of the province of the same name. Along with Konya, Nevsehir is a prominent region in the Central Anatolian Plateau. Search Nevsehir on Google and ninety percent of the images that will pop up will show hot air balloon rides, something for which this city is gaining popularity amongst tourists. Soaring up at 10,000 feet in the skies, one can be enthralled with the sun bleeding down or waking up near the horizon along with a flock of many other balloons while you can look down and be enamoured with the beauty of natural rock formations and green grassy outgrowths. Nearby is another major site which is quite bizarre yet exciting in nature. Kaymakali Underground City. It’s a settlement dug inside thesoft volcanic rock. Right now, its purpose is to generate revenues from tourist visits,but at one time during the World Wars, it sheltered Turkish civilians from death and destruction.
Distance from Ankara: 157 miles (3 hours 20 minutes)
Best time to visit: June to August
Places to stay: Viva Hotel Capadocia, Turbel Cave, Kapadokya Hill Hotel and Spa, Nar Cave House
So, with a few hours drive from the capital city, you can have some fascinating travels uncovering the mysteries hidden in Turkey’s rich heritage. The climate most favoured is late summer,and therefore June and July are popular times when tourist come flocking in large numbers. The tourist experience at Turkey has usually been of goodrepute,and the hotels, spas and resorts are elegant and efficient too. These weekend getaways are great at helping you relieve stress from your everyday routine or office work. Whether at the hills or the plains or the coasts, take a whiff of Turkish air and enjoy the moment for an unforgettable Turkish reminiscence.