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Must See Places in Turkey (Outside of Istanbul)

Turkey is so much more than just Istanbul or Antalya. Let us share some of our favorite places with you!

  • Diyarbakir

  • Gaziantep

  • Mardin

  • Mount Ararat

  • Sumela Monastery

The city of Diyarbakir

What to see

  • Tigris River

  • Ten Arches Bridge

  • Caravan Saray

  • City Walls

  • Cultural Singers

In Diyarbakir, you can find the Tigris River and the Ten Arches Bridge. Diyarbakir has a famous bazar called the Caravan Saray. This old city has walls that surround it that are the second longest in the world.

Diyarbakir has cultural singers that tell ancient stories in Kurdish. These singers train for years and have excellent memories in order to remember the stories set to a tune. You can't miss these singers!

About Diyarbakir

Diyarbakir has been inhabited since at least 8,000 BC when these lands were cultivated for wheat. Geneticists believe this area is the origin of modern wheat. The first major civilization here was Hurrian. Kingdoms rose and fell in the area including the Assyrians, Parthians, Persians, and others. In the 1st-Century, Diyarbakir became the center of Syriac Christianity. The Romans colonized the area and began construction on the still-standing city walls in 297 AD. They called the city Amida. The city's current name Diyarbakir means "The Realm of the Bakr". The city is famous for its Old City Walls, a UNESCO World Heritage site. These are some of the longest city walls in the world, second only to the Great Wall of China.

The city of Gaziantep

What to see

  • Castle

  • Covered Bazaar

  • Archeology Museum

  • Yemeni Shoe Vendors

Gaziantep has a castle in the middle of the city and numerous cultural and historical museums that provide a lot of information about the region. The sunken city of Zeugma is nearby and you can see lots of relics from the city as well as gorgeous mosaics at the archeology museum.

Whatever else you choose to see while in Gaziantep, you cannot miss the Yemeni Shoe Shops. The tradesmen hand-make each shoe in their workshops behind the storefronts. They will make your shoes to custom orders.

About Gaziantep

Gaziantep used to be known as Aintab. This historic city was conquered by the Persians, Alexander the Great, the Romans, the Byzantines, and finally, the Arabs in 638 AD. In 1070 Seljuk Turks took over and it remained under Turkish rule until the Ottoman empire in 1516. The city used to have a large population of Armenian Christians. The French tried to capture the city in 1920, but the local army held on to the city, forcing French forces to surrender in 1921. Aintab became Antep and Gazi was added to the front end, which means War Hero, as a way to honor those who paid the ultimate sacrifice defending the city in the war against the French.

City of Mardin

What to see

  • The city view

  • Dara Ruins

  • Deryulzafaran Monastery

  • Kirklar Church

Mardin has a gorgeous view of its city built onto a mountain. Don't forget to stop and get pictures of the city. Right outside of the city is the Dara Ruins. It is an old city built into the stone.

A monastery that has held onto Christian belief since the time of Jesus is the Deryulzafaran Monastery. In Mardin, spend the day exploring the streets of the old limestone city (no cars allowed!) and see mansions, stone houses, and museums. Every turn in this maze-like town brings a new sight to see or a shop to visit.

About Mardin