The land that is now Turkey has been under several civilizations and at their wake, left ruins and traces of their existence. But while they may be long gone, they have left their mark on the culture and the landscape for you and all other tourists to explore.

If you are planning a cultural tour of Turkey, here are some spots you should never miss:

1. Ancient Caria and Lycia

The coastlines are not the only highlight of a visit to Ancient Caria and Lycia. The ruins are just as breathtaking, from the remains of Knidos at the top of the Datca Peninsula, the tombs of Kaunos near Dalyan, and the remains located in Lycian Xanthos are a must-see.

2. Contemporary Art and History

The doorway to Asia and Europe, Istanbul, is now becoming more popular because of its growing art scene. This is all thanks to the Istanbul Modern the flagship gallery, and the Istanbul Biennial. There are many galleries all over the city, with tour companies offering special tours to both bigger and lesser-known galleries.

3. Aspendos Opera and Ballet Festival

This 2,000-year-old Roman theater is a sight to behold but imagine watching an opera, classical music concert or a ballet under the stars. Culture seekers should never miss out on this destination and better yet, catch a performance as well. During the Aspendos Opera and Ballet Festival, guests will be able to see this whole theater full of life while enjoying a top performance.

4. Traces of the Ottoman Civilization

Most visitors only visit the biggest sites of the former Ottoman capital in Turkey (Istanbul). However, there are other parts of the country that were also important capitals before Turkey, like Bursa and Edirne. They have some wonderful buildings from this time. Another stop is Iznik, which is known for its tiles. These places are perfect for history lovers.

5. Old World Anatolia

The bigger cities have been modernized, so if you want to see how the previous civilizations who lived in Turkey have left their dent, then you might want to head over to the countryside. A tour around Central Anatolia is to trace the past while enjoying the beautiful surroundings.

6. Searching Alexander the Great in Turkey

The famous city of Troy is one of the highlights of a trip to Asia Minor. Visitors can trace thousands of years of history here, from the ancient Greeks to Alexander the Great’s start of his 22,000-mile trip. You will also see important spots in the Gallipoli Campaign during the First World War.

7. Istanbul International Music Festival

Istanbul is not really a favorite among classical music lovers but this changes when the International Music Festival is in town. It happens in June when the days are warm and perfect for strolling around or watching the musical performances.

8. Archaeology along the Aegean Coast

A trip along the Aegean coast allows you to visit the most popular classical cities from Aphrodisias, Pergamon, Miletus, and Ephesus. You can also combine the trip with a stop at lesser-known ruins. The first stop is Troy and ends at the World Heritage Site of Hierapolis.

Turkey has so much to offer those who are looking to experience the culture, arts, and history of the country. In fact, ruined cities by themselves are already plentiful so make sure you allocate enough time to check everything out.