Pamukkale, Roman theatre of Hierapolis

Tourism: these were the most visited places in Turkey this summer

Pamukkale and Hierapolis, the Mevlana Rumi Museum in Konya, or the ruins and beaches of Phaselide in Antalya were the most visited.

Six archaeological sites and four museums in Turkey topped the list of favourite destinations for tourism this summer, in which despite restrictions due to the coronavirus pandemic, more than 3 million tourists visited these sites between June and August.

Due to the fear of the COVID-19 pandemic, the majority of tourists, both national and foreign, preferred to visit archaeological sites in the open air instead of museums, according to data from the Ministry of Culture and Tourism of Turkey, highlighting in the first place the joint site of Pamukkale and Hierapolis – both places declared World Heritage Sites by UNESCO – with 230,000 visitors received this summer.

The second most touristy place between June and August was however a museum, specifically the one that houses the mausoleum of the 13th-century Sufi mystic and poet Mevlana Jalaluddin al-Rumi, located in the city of Konya and which welcomed about 200,000 tourists. In 2019 3.47 million tourists visited this museum – one of the most visited destinations in Turkey – becoming the 2nd museum that received the most tourists in the whole country, only surpassed by Hagia Sophia.

Third, there are the ruins of the ancient Lycian city of Phaselis, located in the Kemer district of the Antalya province and also famous for its natural environment and beaches. Other places that we found among the most visited by tourism this summer were Mount Olympos (Tahtalı Dağı) in Antalya, the Byzantine monastery of Sümela (Trabzon, Black Sea region) and the ruins of ancient Ephesus, declared a World Heritage Site by the UNESCO.