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Turkish Cities Other Than Istanbul That You Must Visit

The 16 million population living on a city that was founded even before some of the major countries on Earth, might be the hook that pulls you to Turkey. It is admittedly the most famous city in the country, and perhaps the world. The historical importance alone is enough to make it a worthy visit, but the rest of Turkey also deserves your time as much as Istanbul. Here is a quick rundown of other cities that have played important roles in ancient times.


This Turkish province settled by the south of the Marmara and north of the Aegean regions, has played the biggest role that changed the world TWICE. Çanakkale was the original land that the city of Troy was founded. You can still visit the same lands the Helen of Troy walked once, or Achilles and other Greek heroes invaded. The now in ruins city of Troy is a magnificent and captivating for any traveler.

By the Eastern coasts of Çanakkale, the Gulf of Gallipoli lies. The gulf was the turning point of the Turkish Independence War against the ANZAC forces that served under the British Empire at the time of WWI. Now, the same lands that are a grave for both sides, is home to a Monument to remember those who have fallen for their people. Those who arrive Çanakkale by the sea will be greeted by the immortal words of Atatürk about the conflict itself.


The heart of Turkish summer tourism, Muğla has been an attraction since ancient times. Although it has a population of 938 thousand, the whole province receives more than double that number as tourists. It is home to the popular beach towns like Bodrum, Fethiye and Marmaris with gorgeous seas. It also has its airport for easy travel. It is possible to find leftovers of ancient civilizations on every part of Muğla. In the coastal town of Datça, the Knidos ancient city’s own Naked Aphrodite statue is a must-see spot for the history geeks.

As the coastal city right by the junction of Aegean and Mediterranean Seas, Marmaris is a highly visited location for sailing fanatics who visit the coves in the region. Marmaris is home to plenty of luxury hotels that welcome millions of tourists every year. It is chosen for its warm weather all year round, especially during early summer. When you do visit it, be sure to take a yachting trip, either to visit the uncharted beaches, or to experience the beauty of Marmaris’ Coves. For those who enjoy the nightlife, the town is also known for its incredibly attractive bars. There is a themed nightclub for everyone.

One of the 13 districts of Muğla, Fethiye carries the weather of Izmir, with the coves of Bodrum. The district is famous for historical sites such as the Tomb of Amyntas, Ancient City of Letoon, and a natural tower created in the sea called Af Kulesi where divers frequent for adventure. Fethiye’s main source of revenue is the beaches of Ölüdeniz. Winner of the “Most Beautiful Beach of the World” Title in 2006, Ölüdeniz is one of the calmest and clearest waters in the world. 

Home to a castle that carries the district’s name, Bodrum is a developed town that benefits from the history and sea tourism, as well as the alive nightlife. The district is a frequent stop for sailing fans for its beautiful and modern ports. The ancient city of Halicarnassus was founded on the land of Bodrum. One of the World Wonders, the Mausoleum used to stand on the land. Bodrum nowadays is a great escape spot for those who wish to have their villas in a more secluded setting.  


Surrounded by mountain ranges, Ankara is Turkey’s capital city. It has a rich history as people have been inhabiting the region since the Stone Age! It has been conquered, and visited by ancient leaders, such as Roman Augustus, and Alexander the Great from the west, and Seljuks, from the East. Once a small town, Ankara has grown exponentially since the foundation of the country in 1923 and is now racing with Istanbul in terms of city development. Ankara had a population of 75 thousand in 1927, but the city grew much faster than anticipated over the decades. The city is now considered as home to 5,5 million people in 2019. 

During the early days of the foundation, Ankara was designated as a city for less than a million inhabitants, but in the 1950s as unemployment in rural areas forced people to move into the city, Ankara became massively overpopulated. The city's large border size led to the famous parts being scattered around, and help the city develop from not just one central location. but by boosting the local economies of several small towns. Ankara is still a massive landmark that provides transportation between the towns through a railway system.

With a population of approximately 1 million, Çankaya is the highest populated district of Ankara, as well as the whole of Turkey. As the community is home to government buildings, the population can reach to 2 million during the day. The presidents until the last decade resided in this province, and you can still visit the rooms the founder of Turkey, Ataturk, lived. There is also a monument built for the Korean War veterans, as Turkey was the second country with the highest number of casualties in that war. The subway system is highly incorporated into the city life, and you can easily traverse most of the province from Çankaya. The subway system is highly incorporated into the city life, and you can easily traverse most of the province from Çankaya.


An ancient city founded by the Aegean Sea, it is full of rich history, and an up and coming infrastructure in Turkey. It endured the conflicts of Turkey’s Independence War in 1922, as well as being founded by the Trojans of 3000 B.C. Izmir is a highly touristic location as well as a city full of villas for private space. You will experience a warm summer throughout the year, and the beaches most of the year. Now, Izmir has become one of the three biggest provinces of Turkey next to Istanbul and Ankara.

As a coastal district of Izmir, it is a highly historical town. Nowadays, the beaches alone are enough to draw global attraction in the summer season. Urla is a rather quiet town compared to other parts of Izmir. The villas here are an excellent opportunity for those who like to have peaceful and quiet days. In Urla, you should visit the Ancient City of Klazomenai, and step on the same lands as people from 4000 BC.

Home to the temple of Apollo, the statue of Medusa, as well as the world-famous beach Altınkum, Didim is a district of Aydın. It is located south of İzmir and north of Muğla. Although it is a small district with 74 thousand people, Didim receives a high number of tourists in the summer because of the ancient importance it carries.

Last Words

For a country with 81 provinces, Turkey is not defined by the metropolis that is Istanbul. Every inch of lands outside the mega-city, offers an equally worthy experience as the Bosphorus. Some of the cities mentioned above are the birthplaces of so many Greek heroes, as well as the zero point of many of the battles they fought, that even stopping for a moment during a cross-country car ride to breathe in the air at them is enough to appreciate their beauty.

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