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Destination Aegean Sea Region

If you want to visit the real places where the mythological legends arose such as Troy, Mount Ida, Temple of Artemis; Aegean must be the main highlight of your trip. The Roman influence is very intense in the region but not the only one. Hittites, Amazons, Ionians were just some others who also left their traces behind. Gulet cruise, paragliding, scuba diving and jeep safari are some of the activities we can include in your private tour program to change the rhythm of the trip. From May to November is the perfect period to visit Aegean Region to best enjoy the natural beauties..

DID YOU KNOW ABOUT AEGEAN TURKEY?

» UNESCO declares Pamukkale, Hierapolis and Troy as World Heritage Sites.
» Virgin Mary's house where she spent her last days, situated on the top of Bulbul dagi (Ephesus), is considered as a holy place for all religions.
» Some of the historic legends such as Homer (the poet), Herodotus (the father of history) was born in this region.
» The famous Trojan Wars took place in Truva town.
» Seven Churches of Revelation are all in Aegean Region in Turkey (Ephesus, Sardis, Tyatira, Pergamon, Philadelphia, Smyrna, Collosae)
» The Color "Turquoise" comes from the clean see color on the Aegean Cost in Turkey.
» The world's greatest amphora and glass collection is in Bodrum Museum in Bodrum Castle.

EPHESUS
Established as a port on the mouth of the Cayster River, the city was founded between 1500-1000 B.C. It was the second largest city of Roman Empire, a strategic trade route in Anatolia and one of the greatest seaports in the ancient world. Once the most important commercial center of the Western Anatolia and a religious center of the early Christianity as well, today Ephesus is a unique tourism center located today in Selçuk, a small town 30km away from Kuşadası. The site hosts thousands of visitors each year. 
Ephesus was destroyed by an earthquake in A.D. 17 and then rebuilt and enlarged by Tiberius. The city was conquered by the Ancient Greeks after the Trojan War in 11th and 12th Century. After occupying it and getting involved with the local people, Greeks established an Antique City government and changed the name of the city as Ephesus. After Alexander the Great period, the city was moved from the place around castle to the valley between Bulbul and Panayir Mountain where the ruins still exists today. 
The extensive ruins include The Temple of Artemis, Library of Celsus, Gymnasium, Agora and terrace houses ;
The Temple of Artemis is considered one of the Seven Wonders of the ancient world. The temple was dedicated to the Goddess of the Hunt. Only the foundations and one column remains from the temple which once measured 425 feet long, 220 feet wide and 60 feet high. 
Originally built in 115-25 AD, Library of Celsus was dedicated to Celsus the proconsul of Asia. This restored facade is a highlight of the ruins today. The archictectural structure reflects traditional Roman library architecture. The interior measures 70 by 80 feet and helds approximately 15,000 scrolls.
Known as The “State Agora”, the market area has 360 feet square. In the Hellenistic period, it was surrounded on all sides by arched shops. It was located next to the harbor and was the city's main commercial center. 
The Theater originally holding 25000 auditors, was built in the Hellenistic period and was renovated by several Roman emperors. It was designed for theatrical performances and later, hosted gladiatorial contests. 
Terrace houses of wealthy Ephesians, had luxury bedrooms, bathrooms, kitchens and triclinium. Frescoes and mosaics are very worth to see. They were inhabited until the 7th Century AD. Built against the mountain south of Ephesus, the roof of each house forms the terrace for the house above it. 
Ephesus is also a sacred site for Christians due to its association with several biblical figures including St. Paul, St. John the Evangelist and the Virgin Mary. The 3rd Ecumenical Council was held there in 431 AD.

PAMUKKALE & HIERAPOLIS
Pamukkale is a a unique wonder in the world as well as a spectacular archaeological site with unusual well preserved ancient ruins. 19km north of Denizli, 45 minutes driving distance to Ephesus, the site is located in the in the River Menderes Valley. 
Pamukkale means ‘Cotton Castle’ in Turkish and derived from the amazing appearance of the travertines like cotton balls. The travertine pools are a strange formation caused by thermal springs. The mineral composition of the thermal water creates white travertine pools. 
It’s a very strange piece of landscape with a surreal appearance unlike any site you’ll see in Turkey and today it appears in the Unesco World Heritage list. The water in the basins is changing its colour according to how the light enters. 
The water coming from the springs contains a large mineral content, with chalk, limestone and travertine cascading down the mountain, resembling a frozen waterfall. 
You must definitely visit this fascinating place if you will visit Ephesus region.

APHRODISIAS
1 hour distance from Pamukkale and 230 km from İzmir city center, Aphrodisias has the best prepared marble statues of the antique era. It was the school of sculpture and you can still see the artworks today in the garden of Aphrodisia’s Museum of Archeology.
Evidences show that Aphrodisias was inhabited since Neolithic times making it one of the earliest settlement areas in Anatolia. Aphrodisias was just a shrine for many centuries despite being situated in a strategically important area and being close to many major trade routes. It only grew into a town in the 2nd Century BC.
The Roman city of Aphrodisias set amongst the mountains in one of the most picturesque sites and one of the oldest sacred sites in Turkey. The site has been sacred since as early as 5,800 BC, when Neolithic farmers came there to worship the Mother Goddess of fertility and crops. In Greek times, the site was dedicated to Aphrodite, the goddess of love and fertility. The site was named Aphrodisias during the 2nd Century BC and The Temple of Aphrodite was built in the 1st Century AD.Today, the Temple of Aphrodite is well-preserved and partially restored. 
This ancient city of sculptors also houses extensive ruins of a large theater which was completed in 27 BC, Odeon, Bishop’s Palace, Stadium and an on-site museum with the marble scultures, gorgeous reliefs, statues and artifacts. 
The first structure you see upon entry to the site is Tetrapylon, a lovely 2nd Century gateway with four groups of 4 Corinthian columns (from which it gets its name). 
The stadium is one of the best preserved from the classical era with a unique elliptical shape. It was specially designed for athletic contests and was hosting games in Roman times.

The remains are settled on a high plateau surrounded by mountains and creates an amazing scenery, definitely a must-see place those who seek a touch to the ancient history.

BODRUM
One of the gems of the Aegean coast, Bodrum is the site of the ancient city of Halikarnassus, home to the famous Mausoleum of Halikarnassus (Tre Grave of King Mausolos: built after 353 BC) - one of the Seven Wonders of the ancient world. The Mauseloum was built by Artemisia, the sister and the wife of King Mausolos, B.C. 355.
Bodrum has a unique history and wealthy natural resources such as crystal clear waters, sandy beaches, fresh climate. All those features made it a popular site for human settlement for many centuries since ancient times.
The Castle of St. Peter is identified with Bodrum region and it’s a fine example of 15th Century Crusader architecture. It has been converted into the Museum of Underwater Archaeology and contains findings from the oldest Mediterranean shipwreck ever discovered.
Bodrum Amphitheatre, historical white windmills and Myndos Gate are other historical remaining structures from ancient world. 
Besides the historical highlights, today Bodrum is a leisure tourism center as well for those who seek a “blue voyage” and considered as the pearl of the Aegean with its magical atmosphere mixing blue and green. 
Did you know that?
Herodotus, known as the father of history, was born in Bodrum in 484 BC.

HOUSE OF VIRGIN MARY
The belief that Virgin Mary had spent her last days in the vicinity of Ephesus and that she had died there, focused attention on a nun named Anna Katherina Emmerich who lived in the late 18th century. 
The efforts to find the house where she lived in, were greatly influenced by her detailed description of Virgin Mary's coming to Ephesus, her life and the characteristics of the city. 
Located on the top of the "Bulbul" mountain 9 km ahead of Ephesus, The House of Virgin Mary enjoys an amazing atmosphere hidden in the green. Visited by thousands of tourists each year, this place of pilgrimage is still a holy place for the Moslims as well as for the Christian world. People who believe in the godly qualities of the Virgin Mary, come here and drinks from the water believed to be sacred and they make wishes in the mystic and quite atmosphere of the area. 
It is believed by many that Virgin Mary may have come in the area together with St. John, who spent several years in the area to spread Christianity. Paul VI was the first pope to visit this place in the 1960's. Later, in the 1980's, during his visit, Pope John-Paul II declared the Shrine of Virgin Mary as a pilgrimage place for Christians. The site is also visited by Muslims who recognize Virgin Mary as the mother of one of their prophets. Each year on August 15th, a ceremony is organized in the area to commemorate Mary's Assumption.
The House of Virgin Mary is a typical Roman architectural example, entirely made of stones. In the 4th century AD, a church combining her house and her grave, has been built. Today, the building looks more like a church than a house. At the exit of the church area, you can see a source of fountain which called the “Water of Mary” and believed to have curative effect. 

BERGAMA
Pergamum was an ancient Greek city founded by colonists on the Aegean coast of Anatolia. The city became the capital of the Kingdom of Pergamon during the Hellenistic period, under the Attalid dynasty, 281–133 BC. This Hellenistic city was the center of culture, commerce and medical with its philosophers, scientists and artists like Galen (131-210 AD)., boasting an outstanding library, a famous school of sculpture, excellent public buildings and monuments and several art works at good taste. 
Pergamum was the most eminent center of culture in the Hellenistic period. It has inhabited since the times of Troy and witnessed two great ancient civilisations the Hittites and the Greeks. The site is also known as the place where parchment was invented. 
In the Roman period, Pergamum played an important role in the early history of Christianity. It was also numbered among the Seven Churches of Revelation.Today, the main sites of ancient Pergamon are to the north and west of the modern city of Bergama.  
Asceplion, the first edifice to visit,  was a sanctuary and a medical complex out of the city. The complex was built in the 4th Century in the name of Aesculapius, meaning the god of Health and Medicine and provided healing and cure for many philosophers, scientists etc. 
Pergamon's library on the Acropolis (the ancient Library of Pergamum) is the second of the three famous ancient libraries in the ancient Greek civilization. 
The finest altar ever built can be accepted as the Zeus Altar in Pergamum, dating back to 180 BC, which stands in its own precinct but, most unusually, without a temple. 
The Sanctuary of Athena dedicated to victory-bringing Athena by King Eumenes, The Temple of Trajan dating back to 2th Century AD, The Theater in the acropolis of Pergamum which is the steepest raked Hellenistic theater in the world, are well-worth places to visit to feel the magic of the history.

TROY
“The love for the most beautiful woman on Earth, Helena” and that was the beginning of the end of the legend handled in Homer’s Troy.. Starting from 3000 B.C. people inhabited that city and its 9 layers of civilization underneath the city give us an indication of their way of living.
The legendary city of Troy is located near the modern city of Canakkale. The village on top of a hill overlooking the Aegean Sea, is imprrssive with the ruins and city foundations dating back to 3000 BC. 
Troy is the scene of the famous Trojan Wars, the first multinational war. It was conquered many times, destroyed by earthquakes and rebuilt throughout milleniums. Today, the site does not offer much to see for a standard traveler because of that it only houses city foundations not like magnificent edifices in Ephesus and Aphrodisias but it will be a nice experience to see one of the most important historical scenes in the world for those who are keen of ancient history.

GALLIPOLI
The World-I battlefields known as Gallipoli are just 15 kms west of Çanakkale. Soldiers from each corner of the world was here for about 8 months in 1915 and fought against the Turks to open Dardanelles to their warships. Despite being defeated, the losses were on both side. A total of 250.000 soldiers lost their lives. This war is also called ' gentlemes war', being very long and close fight, the trenches only 10 meters apart from each other.

Gallipoli is one of the most visited places in Turkey by Australians, New Zealanders and British travelers. Especially during the Anzac Day,thousands of Australians, New Zealander and also Turkish people travel to Gallipoli Peninsula to experience the Anzac Day Commemoration. A visit to the battlefields, the cemetaries and the museum has become a "must do" pilgrimage for Australians and New Zealanders. The best time to visit is April 25th where all the people gather there and remember that most bloody war of the human kind. 

Today, the Gallipoli battlefields are silent anymore and preserved as a national park adorned with marble and bronze monuments.
It’s among the most emotionally touching places to visit in Turkey you should definitely visit if you will pass by Çanakkale on your route.