Throughout history, Turkey has hosted many civilizations such as the Hittites, Lydians, Ionians, and empires such as the Great Seljuks, Byzantium, Pontus, and Ottomans. There was a reason why so many civilizations wanted to settle here: It is located in a very special geographical location. It is a country located in both Europe and Anatolia, surrounded by water on 3 sides. In the past, important transit routes such as the silk and spice route took place in Anatolia. And in these ancient lands lived important figures of history such as King Midas, Herodotus, Homer, Al-Jazari, Ali Qushji, Architect Sinan, Atatürk, and many others. 

With its 7 regions, it has a historical accumulation, archaeological sites, natural beauties, natural areas, and many heritages on the Unesco World Heritage List. It has a historical texture that preserves its impressiveness. There are many places to see and explore, from Göbeklitepe, the world’s oldest temple, to the world’s oldest ancient temples, from Çatalhöyük, where the first neolithic drawings are located, to the Aegean coast, where the turquoise color is deeply felt. In this article, I will take you around the streets of Turkey to be discovered. Streets in Turkey continue to preserve and keep their deep-rooted historical texture and beauty alive. 5 places to visit to explore the cities and feel their textures with your walks were examined.

1. İstiklal-Beyoğlu / İstanbul

“On the meeting point of two worlds, the ornament of the Turkish homeland, the treasure of Turkish history, the city cherished by the Turkish nation, İstanbul, has its place in the hearts of all citizens, ” says Mustafa Kemal ATATÜRK (Founder of Turkish Republic)

Istanbul is Turkey’s most populous and cosmopolitan city. Each district has its beauty. It contains many destination points. Istiklal street is one of the most iconic places in Istanbul.

Istiklal is a large and popular street in the Beyoğlu district of Istanbul, with one end connected to Taksim square. The square is in the shape of a circle and there is a republic monument in the middle. You will likely find this place crowded and lively at any time you wander on this pedestrian-only street, where dynamism takes place. There are passages, shops, inns, and apartments as well as cinemas, bookstores, and art galleries that allow cultural activities. There are also many churches, embassies, and consulate buildings. The nostalgic tramway is a significant symbol of this place. This place has taken its place in the minds as a place of publicity and protest, where the cultural and political environment coexists.

Walking through the streets of Turkey - SHeet1
Crowded İstanbul_ ©

2. Alaçatı-Çeşme / İzmir

The ancient name of Alaçatı is “Agrilia”. Although its history dates back to the archaic period, settlements begin here with the Ottoman period. Greek workers working in the swamp drying works in the vicinity settled here and established their villages. Later, with the Greeks taking part in viticulture and trade, this place came to life. Due to the population exchange, it became a Turkish settlement in 1923. It has become famous for its wind. Extreme water sports have started. With the increase in tourism, it is declared an urban protected area to preserve its historical texture. Alaçatı is located in İzmir’s Çeşme district a little far from the sea and has restored historic stone houses and colorful neighborhoods.

It draws you in with its cobblestone streets on its streets, bougainvillea surrounding its walls, and its ornate doors and windows. The typical texture of houses with bay windows, which bear traces of Ottoman architecture, is 2-story conjoined and has a garden. Pleasant streets abound, each oriented with lots of wind and little sun, and most are winding. The most famous 2 streets are Kemalpaşa Street and Hacımemiş neighborhood. It can be said that these 2 streets are visited and known so much because of the authentic entertainment venues and the attractive places of Alaçatı.

Walking through the streets of Turkey - SHeet2

3. Safranbolu/ Karabük

Safranbolu, which is on the World Heritage List, has hosted many different civilizations throughout its history. Located 90 km from the Black Sea, it is a town named after saffron. It is a good example of a place that reflects and preserves Ottoman urban architecture. Nearly 2000 traditional houses in it have their unique architecture. Stone, adobe, Turkish tile, and wood were used in their construction. The houses are placed in such a way that no neighbors block the view of the other. In addition to the houses, Safranbolu draws attention to its urban culture. You can explore the lifestyle, customs, and traditions by wandering through the streets and bazaars. Hıdırlık Hill is one of the important stopping points to take a look at the whole view after you finish walking around the streets.

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Historical places of Safranbolu_©

4. Cappadocia-Ürgüp/ Nevşehir

Cappadocia, where fairy chimneys formed due to geographical events and houses built on man-made rocks combined, is a fascinating place that shows us the traces of thousands of years of civilizations. Traces of human life dating back to the Paleolithic period are found here. Since it is located on the Silk Road, it is a region where trade develops. The kingdom of Cappadocia was established in 332 BC, and years later it became a part of the Roman Empire. Christians fleeing from Roman oppression have been hiding underground for years and building underground cities due to the favorable conditions of the region. It has been on the UNESCO World Cultural Heritage List since 1985. Cappadocia is ranked 5th in the Times’ “New 25 Wonders of the World” list. In Cappadocia, you can watch the hot air balloons and the view of the sunset in the Kızılçukur Valley, visit the chapels inside the fairy chimneys in the Priests Valley, visit the world’s first and only underground ceramic museum, Göreme open-air museum, and Uçhisar castle.

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Cappadocia tour_©
Walking through the streets of Turkey - SHeet6

5. Halfeti/ Şanlıurfa

Urfa has been the transition area between Mesopotamia and Anatolia for years. This has made Urfa the cradle of culture. It leads to unknown history along with archaeological research. With the discovery of Göbeklitepe, the man-made structure in the Neolithic period changed the answer to the question of when people started settling life. Harran Houses have domed structures built at the bottom of the walls, thus keeping them cool in the hot climate in summer. However, there is another exemplary place in Şanlıurfa where you cannot walk on its streets.

Unfortunately, you cannot walk around the streets of Halfeti, which is located in the west of Şanlıurfa, because it was flooded by the Euphrates during the construction of the dam. But you can explore the mystery of the flooded city with boat tours. While walking around this submerged area, you can be affected by the water and time-based settlement and be sad. On the one hand You can see buildings that are not completely submerged, such as Halfeti Ulu Mosque, only partially filled with water. The historical value of this district, which has its  authentic features, still makes it among the important places to visit. In Halfeti, which has the title of Cittaslow, the living spaces consist of mansions with courtyards and terraces built with stone architecture. There were black roses, which are endemic plants, in the garden of the houses.

Cittaslow Halfeti_©

It is a great passion for Elif Demirci, a student of the department of architecture, to examine all the works, materials and projects going on in the field of architecture. She believes that her writings will improve the built environment.

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