35 Famous Landmarks in Turkey You Have to Visit

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A city with a tower and trees on a hill next to the water
Turkey has a rich history and culture and many famous landmarks

Officially called the Republic of Türkiye, Turkey is an amazing destination with a rich history. The country sits on the Black Sea with its borders in both Europe and Asia. Notably, Turkey is home to many renowned landmarks, from mosques to ancient underground cities and the world's oldest market.

This list of the top landmarks in Turkey will cover all of the best places to visit, including the Blue Mosque, Göreme National Park, and Dolmabahçe Palace. Whether you want to admire natural landmarks or explore historical and religious sites, keep reading to discover the most famous Turkish landmarks!

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35 Turkey Landmarks

Turkey Landmarks Map

A map of Turkey landmarks. Use the map to explore all of the points of interest.

Famous Turkish Landmarks

A large mosque-style building with towers next to a green garden on a clear day
The Mevlana Museum houses the mausoleum of Jalāl al-Dīn Muḥammad Rūmī

Mevlana Museum

Established in 1927, Mevlana Museum in Konya houses the mausoleum of Jalāl al-Dīn Muḥammad Rūmī. During a visit, you can see the mausoleum and admire the lavish interior of the building, complete with hand-painted wall and ceiling designs, chandeliers, and more. Visitors can also learn more about Rumi and the history of the museum building.

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A large illuminated underground room with pillars and water on the ground
The Basilica Cistern is a 6th-century underground water storage complex

Basilica Cistern

Basilica Cistern is one of the oldest cisterns found beneath the streets of Istanbul. The ancient underground water storage system can hold 80,000 cubic metres of water and features beautifully carved columns, including those with Medusa carved into the bases.

It's thought that the Basilica Cistern was constructed in the 6th century during the reign of Byzantine emperor Justinian I, although renovations have been completed since.

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An indoor market with colourful stalls, a mosaic ceiling, and a Turkish flag
The Grand Bazaar is one of the oldest markets in the world

Grand Bazaar

You can find many amazing markets across Turkey. One of the most famous is the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul. Dating back to 1461, the bazaar is one of the oldest markets in the world. It is also one of the largest covered markets in the world, spreading over 61 streets.

Visitors can explore a range of market stalls, with various items from clothing and jewellery to handicrafts, Turkish tea and sweets, and much more. A trip to the bustling Grand Bazaar has to be on your Istanbul itinerary!

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A large building with glass windows and a sign that says "İstanbul Cevahir"
Istanbul Cevahir Shopping Mall is the largest mall in Turkey

İstanbul Cevahir Shopping Mall

İstanbul Cevahir Shopping Mall is a more modern landmark of Turkey that is well worth visiting when in Istanbul. The shopping complex opened in 2005 and is the largest mall in the country.

Covering six floors, visitors will find over 340 shops to check out, as well as restaurants, fast food outlets, and entertainment venues, like cinemas. Interestingly, the mall also features the second-largest clock face in the world, which is located on the interior of its glass roof.

A tall skyscraper surrounded by smaller city buildings under a blue sky with clouds
The 261 metre tall Istanbul Sapphire stands out on the skyline and has a viewing deck

Istanbul Sapphire

Istanbul Sapphire is another modern landmark to see in Istanbul. This 261-metre-high skyscraper sits in the central business district and opened in 2011.

The mirrored skyscraper stands out on the skyline and features 56 floors. While the tower is predominantly a residential space, the general public can access a mall, cinema, and observation terrace offering 360-degree views of the city.

Famous Buildings in Turkey

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A large palace building with columns next to a body of water and a blue sky
Sultans and Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, Turkey's first president, used Dolmabahçe Palace

Dolmabahçe Palace

Dolmabahçe Palace sits on the European coast of the Bosporus strait in Istanbul and was constructed in the 19th century in a Baroque Revival style. This building was a main administrative centre for the Ottoman Empire and was home to six Sultans from its completion in 1856 to the abolition of the Caliphate in 1924.

Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the first president of the Republic of Turkey, used the building as a summer residence from 1924 until his death at Dolmabahçe Palace in 1938. Today, visitors can explore the luxurious palace and learn about its history.

A stone tower with a pointed roof next to smaller buildings and a blue sky
Galata Tower was built as a watch tower in 1349 and is now a museum

Galata Tower

Galata Tower, or Galata Kulesi Museum, is an old Genoese tower located in Galata, Istanbul. The tower was completed in 1349 and was used as a watchtower. Today, the 63-metre-tall Romanesque tower houses an exhibit space. It also has a balcony on the top floor where you can look out across the city.

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A large white building with a domed roof next to a path, grass, and trees
Topkapı Palace was completed in 1465 and is now a museum with 80,000 artefacts to see

Topkapı Palace

Topkapı Palace is one of many landmarks of Turkey that dates back to the Ottoman Empire. Located in Istanbul, the palace was completed in 1465 and was the administrative centre of the Ottoman Empire. Today, the palace is a museum.

Visitors can explore parts of the palace and the four main courtyards, admiring the beautiful architecture. You can also see artefacts, with around 80,000 items on display.

A large white stone building with many columns and windows next to trees and water
Beylerbeyi Palace was used as a summer residence by Ottoman Sultans

Beylerbeyi Palace

Another famous palace in Istanbul is Beylerbeyi Palace. This palace sits on the Asian side of the Bosporus strait and opened in 1865. The landmark was mainly used as a summer palace for Sultans of the Ottoman Empire.

In the present day, the palace is a museum that is open to the public. Visitors can explore its grand halls, 24 rooms, and beautiful gardens and courtyards.

A small tower with a small white and orange house next to it surrounded by water
Maiden's Tower was first constructed in 1110 and has featured in movies and TV show

Maiden's Tower

Maiden's Tower, or Leander's Tower, is located near Istanbul on an islet on the Bosporus Strait. Construction of the tower dates to 1110, when a wooden structure was built at the request of the Byzantine Emperor Alexios I Komnenos.

The tower has been reconstructed a few times since 1110. The current structure was completed in 1725, with a handful of minor renovations over the last three hundred years. Notably, the tower has been featured in movies, TV shows, and video games and was on a Turkish banknote from 1966 to 1981.

Famous Monuments in Turkey

A rocky cliff with many stone statues and ruins next to a clear blue sky
Mount Nemrut's summit features an ancient site with statues from the 1st century BC

Mount Nemrut

Mount Nemrut is situated in the southeast of the country and stands at 2,134 metres high. The mountain is unique as statues and a royal tomb, dating back to the 1st century BC, are found at the summit.

Antiochus I of Commagene commissioned the tomb, which features a statue of himself, two eagles, two lions, and Greek and Iranian gods. There are also many statues featuring only a head instead of a whole body of a person or animal.

The mountaintop site was excavated in 1881, with additional excavations carried out through the 20th century. Mount Nemrut was also designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1987.

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A large stone monument with oxidized statues of people on it
The Republic Monument in Istanbul commemorates the founding of the Republic of Turkey

Republic Monument in Taksim Square

Located in Taksim Square in Istanbul, the Republic Monument, or Cumhuriyet Anıtı, is one of the most important monuments of Turkey. The structure commemorates the creation of the Turkish Republic in 1923.

Featuring depictions of the new country's founders, it officially opened in 1928 and was designed by Italian Pietro Canonica. Seeing this renowned monument has to be on your to-do list when in Istanbul!

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An oxidized statue of a reclining cat with a real black and white cat next to it
The Kedi Tombili Heykeli statue commemorates the famous Istanbul street cat Tombili

Kedi Tombili Heykeli

Kedi Tombili Heykeli is one of the fun landmarks in Istanbul. This statue features a reclining cat and commemorates Tombili, an internet-famous street cat, who passed away in 2016. The statue was commissioned the same year after locals petitioned for a memorial to the beloved feline.

After viewing the cute monument, you can keep a lookout for the city's many other friendly street cats. The felines can be seen across the city and are treated like pets by Istanbul's residents.

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A large stone building with columns and a Turkish flag to the side
Anıtkabir in Ankara is the mausoleum of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk

Anıtkabir

Anıtkabir is a monument to and the mausoleum of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk. The landmark was completed in November 1953 and is located in the Turkish capital of Ankara. This is one of the more modern landmarks to be seen in Turkey and also features a museum.

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A statue of a person riding a horse atop a stone pedestal
The Victory Monument commemorates the Turkish victory in the War of Independence

Victory Monument

Also known as the Ataturk Statue, the Victory Monument is another landmark in Ankara. Opened in 1927, the bronze statue commemorates the Turkish victory in the Turkish War of Independence.

The monument features a person on a horse, two male soldiers, and a woman holding a cannonball. The latter honours the contribution of Turkish women in the war.

Natural Landmarks in Turkey

A beach town next to a sandy shore, turquoise ocean, and greenery-covered hills
Ölüdeniz is a renowned winter sun destination and a popular tourist spot in Turkey

Ölüdeniz

Ölüdeniz is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Turkey and is known for its beautiful blue lagoon. Located on the Turquoise Coast, or the Turkish Riviera in southwestern Turkey, the resort village is also a renowned European winter sun destination and a top-rated paragliding spot. No matter what activities you enjoy when visiting this coastal paradise, you will have an excellent vacation!

A beach with people on it by a cliff and the bright blue ocean
Kaputaş Beach is a beautiful Mediterranean beach between Kaş and Kalkan

Kaputaş Beach

Turkey has many beautiful beaches, like Kaputaş Beach. Situated in the southwest of the country between Kaş and Kalkan, the beach is seen as the perfect Mediterranean beach.

It features sparkling blue water, a tranquil beach to relax on, and scenic mountains that protect it from being overly windy. The beach is also a popular surfing location and is surrounded by a charming coastal village with shops and eateries.

A park with rock formations and colourful hot air balloons in the sky at sunset
Many opt to see Göreme National Park's unique rock formations from a hot air balloon

Göreme National Park

Göreme National Park is another UNESCO World Heritage Site in Turkey. The park is located in the Nevşehir Province and includes the Rock Sites of Cappadocia.

This vast park also includes fairy chimneys, other unique geological formations, and the ruins of underground dwellings. If you are in the area, exploring some of the amazing Göreme National Park can't be missed!

While you can walk through the park, taking a hot air balloon ride is highly recommended to best admire the park's scenery.

Travertine hot springs with snow and water next to green trees and a blue sky
Pamukkale is a popular tourist destination known for its thermal pools

Pamukkale

Pamukkale is a town in western Turkey that is predominantly known for its mineral-rich thermal waters. Many tourists visit to swim in these warm pools, with the public travertine pools and Cleopatra's Pool being the most popular. When in the area, you can also visit a museum with ancient artefacts and see the beautiful Gözler Lavender Gardens.

An aerial view of a city
The Bosphorus Strait flows through two continents, Europe and Asia

Bosphorus Strait

The Bosphorus Strait is a renowned waterway that runs through Istanbul. Interestingly, the 31-kilometre strait covers two continents, Europe and Asia. When in Istanbul, you can take a boat ride along the waterway on which you will travel between Europe and Asia! You can also see the 15th of July Martyrs Bridge, also known as Bosphorus Bridge.

Islamic Landmarks in Turkey

A large mosque building with a large dome and minarets on a clear day
Hagia Sophia has been used as a church, a mosque, and a museum throughout its history

Hagia Sophia

Hagia Sophia is, without a doubt, one of the most famous historical landmarks in Turkey. Also known as Hagia Sophia Grand Mosque, the landmark in Istanbul was initially constructed as a Greek orthodox church in 360 AD. It was completed in 537 AD and used as a church until 1453 when it was converted into a mosque.

The structure was used as a mosque for almost 500 years. It closed as a mosque in 1931 and reopened as a museum in 1935. However, it was reclassified as a mosque in 2020 but remains open to all visitors who can admire the architecture and learn more about the landmark's rich and interesting history.

Suleymaniye Mosque

Suleymaniye Mosque dates back to about 1557 when the mosque was inaugurated. The Ottoman imperial mosque features both Ottoman and Islamic architectural elements and houses mausoleums, including that of Suleiman the Magnificent.

You can visit the mosque, except during prayer times, to admire the design and view the mausoleum and various inscriptions, many of which were added in the 16th century.

A large mosque with a dome and minarets next to trees and a blue sky
The 16th-century Selimiye Mosque became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2011

Selimiye Mosque

Another Ottoman imperial mosque to visit is Selimiye Mosque in Edirne. Sultan Selim II commissioned the mosque in the 16th century, and it was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site around 500 years later in 2011. The breathtaking structure includes a prayer room and courtyard, as well as fountains and many ornate carvings and mosaic patterns.

A large white mosque with dome roofs and minarets
The Çamlıca Mosque is the largest mosque in Turkey and can hold 63,000 worshippers

Çamlıca Mosque

Çamlıca Mosque, or Grand Çamlıca Mosque, is currently the largest mosque in Turkey and one of only three to have six minarets. It can hold 63,000 worshippers and was completed in 2019.

This beautiful mosque combines Turkey's Islamic Heritage with modern design. You can see the structure from many parts of Istanbul, and it is open to the public for tours.

A large building with a dome and six minarets with a body of water behind it
The Blue Mosque is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, which was opened in 1723

The Blue Mosque

The Blue Mosque is a Turkish landmark known across the globe. Also called Sultan Ahmed Mosque, this world famous landmark opened in 1723, with construction beginning in 1609.

The mosque gets its name 'The Blue Mosque' due to being covered in painted blue tiles. Other notable design elements include five main domes, eight smaller domes, and six minarets. There are also stunning stained glass windows to view.

Sultan Ahmed Mosque was added to the UNESCO World Heritage Site list in 1985 and remains an active mosque to this day. The landmark is also open to the general public, who can admire the Islamic and Ottoman architecture and learn more about the building's history.

Historic Landmarks in Turkey

Tombs with columns carved into a mountains with trees around it
The Carian Rock Tombs were constructed between the 4th and 2nd century BC

Carian Rock Tombs

The Carian Rock Tombs are part of the ancient ruins of Kaunos. These tombs have been carved into the surrounding rock cliffs and can be found near the modern town of Dalyan. They are thought to have been constructed between the 4th and 2nd century BC.

Most tourists view the tombs from the Dalyan River while on a riverboat cruise. Alternatively, you can see them when walking from Maraş Caddesi to the western end of Kaunos Sokak.

One of the numerous historical landmarks in Turkey is the Goreme Open Air Museum
The Goreme Open Air Museum is one of many historical landmarks in Turkey

Goreme Open Air Museum

A popular tourist attraction within Göreme National Park is Goreme Open Air Museum. The outdoor museum features an ancient Byzantine monastic settlement that was carved into the surrounding rocks. Notably, you will see many churches, monasteries, and chapels when exploring the museum.

Derinkuyu Underground City

Another fascinating ancient attraction in Turkey is the Derinkuyu Underground City. This multi-level city is thought to have been home to as many as 20,000 people and dates as far back as the 8th century BC.

It's believed that the city was fully completed during the Byzantine era and was used by populations for centuries after. The ancient underground city was rediscovered in 1963 and opened to the public in 1969. Notably, it's one of the largest underground cities to be discovered in the Cappadocia region.

The remains of a stone structure with columns and other ancient ruins next to trees
Ephesus features the ruins of an Ancient Greek city from the 10th century BC

Ephesus

Ephesus is one of many fascinating historic sites in Turkey. This landmark is an Ancient Greek city that is believed to have been constructed in the 10th century BC. Various excavations in modern times have unearthed a range of structures, from temples to libraries and theatres.

The landmark was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2015 and is a highly popular tourist attraction. Visitors can explore the ruins, see some artefacts, and learn more about the ancient city's history.

A large stone building carved into a cliff and surrounded by green trees
The Soumela Monastery is a Greek Orthodox structure that dates back to 386 AD

Soumela Monastery

The Soumela Monastery sits within the Pontic Mountains in Altındere National Park and is a Greek Orthodox structure. This is another landmark in Turkey that is hundreds of years old, dating all the way back to 386 AD.

This religious site was used through the 20th century and today is a tourist site. However, much of the structure is currently under reconstruction.

A small brick building surrounded by a stone path and trees
The House of Virgin Mary was discovered in 1881 on Mt. Koressos

House of Virgin Mary

Located on Mt. Koressos, or Bülbül Mountain, the House of Virgin Mary is a Catholic shrine. The site was discovered in 1881 after a German nun had a vision relating to the house's location.

A construction date relating to the house cannot be confirmed; however, many believe the Virgin Mary lived in the area in the years after Jesus' death. Many Catholics also think that this is where she lived for the rest of her life.

Kaymakli Underground City

Kaymakli Underground City is another interesting underground settlement in Turkey. It is thought that caves were first built into the soft volcanic rock here between the 8th and 7th century BC by the Phrygians.

The city continued to be expanded and used to some degree until it was finally abandoned centuries after its founding in approximately 1923. In 1964, part of the complex opened as a tourist attraction, and the landmark became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1985.

A large rock structure with doors and windows carved into it
Many civilizations, such as the Romans and Ottomans, have used Selime Monastery

Selime Monastery

Another interesting rock-cut structure in Turkey is Selime Monastery. Located in the Cappadocia region, the large church building is carved directly into the rock face and features interior frescoes.

The monastery is thought to date to the 9th and 8th century BC, and there is evidence of many civilizations using the site. These populations include Romans, Ottomans, Byzantines, and Seljuk Turks. Visitors today can reach the monastery by hiking from the village of Ihlara.

The ruins of a stone castle with an archway door next to trees and a blue sky
Alanya Castle was constructed in 1226 and is now an open-air museum

Alanya Castle

Located in Alanya, Alanya Castle is a medieval castle that was constructed in 1226. The structure has been used as a coastal defence and as a residence, with villas added in the 19th century. Today, it is an open-air museum, and visitors can enjoy beautiful views of the Mediterranean sea.

A tower and castle wall next to the turquoise ocean and a hill with a town in front
Kızıl Kule has been open since 1226 and appears on Alanya's city flag

Kızıl Kule

Kızıl Kule, or the Red Tower, is another ancient landmark in Alanya. Like Alanya Castle, Kızıl Kule opened in 1226 and is now a symbol of the city. This tower even appears on the city's flag! Visitors can climb steps to the top of the tower to enjoy breathtaking coastal views.

In Conclusion

Turkey is home to an array of attractions and landmarks, many of which date back centuries. Whether you want to visit natural, cultural, or historical places in Turkey, you will find no shortage of top landmarks to add to your itinerary!

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Written by Alli Sewell

allisewell WRITER Currently based in Canada, Alli has also lived and worked in the UK and Brazil and traveled in North and South America, Europe, Australia, and Asia. She loves finding the best photo-ops and food and drink locations wherever she goes.


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