Turkey is one of my favorite countries, as there is an abundance of historical sites. There are several destinations in Turkey that you can reach from Kuwait with a nonstop flight, including Bodrum (where you can see the ruins of the Mausoleum at Halicarnassus) and Trabzon (where you can see a monastery dating back to the 4th century CE). You can also fly direct to Antalya and Istanbul, here are some sites in or nearby those cities:

I first heard of the ancient city of Perge in a Great Courses lecture “Fall of the Pagans” when it was mentioned that St. Paul visited on his first mission. While staying in Antalya, I took a day trip to visit the ruins. The legend is that it was founded by Calchas, famed seer from the Iliad, after the Trojan War (around 1200 BCE). The city’s identity remained linked to the Trojan War, seen by the mosaic which depicts the sacrifice of Iphigenia. In the 4th century BCE, Alexander the Great went to the city. It became part of the Seleucid and then Roman Empire—most of the ruins today are Roman. The city declined and was finally abandoned in the Seljuk period, around the year 1000 CE. It has been excavated since 1946.

In that day trip you also visit Aspendos, a well preserved Greco-Roman theatre, and Side, where I got to see some archaeologists at work!

Within Antalya you can visit the Mevlevi Lodge Museum and the Yivliminare Mosque, both constructed in the 13th century. There is Hadrian’s Gate and the Antalya Museum can’t be missed.

There are also day trips offered from Antalya to Myra, an ancient city from which Saint Nicholas was from. You can also visit his church in Demre, which has really exquisite frescos.

In November of 2022 I went to Istanbul, primarily in order to visit Troy. There are day trips offered from the city, which take the entire day: 5 hours to Troy, visiting the site, and 5 hours back. It is quite exhausting, but worth it in my opinion (there are also overnight options where you get to also visit Gallipoli). I’ve been interested in Troy, particularly in its modern excavations, for a long time. Frank Calvert and Heinrich Schliemann began excavating at Troy in the 1870s, the site of the semi-legendary Trojan War, which may have occurred sometime around 1200 BCE. In 1960 Marjorie Braymer published a book entitled “The Walls of Windy Troy,” which tells the story of the excavation. She writes that upon uncovering what they believed to be the Scaean Gate, “into their minds moved a procession of heroic figures who had passed through that famed gateway and into legend… this was near where Hector bid farewell to his wife, where Aeneas had fled the burning city.” When you first enter the archaeological site, you see the ruins of wall that someone imagine to be the wall that Achilles rode around, dragging Hector’s body behind him. Alexander the Great is said to have visited Troy on route to conquer the Persian Empire, stopping at and making a sacrifice at the Tomb of Achilles, which remains undiscovered.

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