Attractions in Aksaray – From St. Nicholas to St. Francis of Assissi
Aksaray is basically a town in the Central Anatolia area of Turkey and its capital town of Aksaray Province. With an approximate 720-km-long border with Greece, Turkey has always been vulnerable to an influx of illegal aliens, including illegal immigrants from Northern Europe and the former Yugoslavia. In recent years, however, the tourism industry in Turkey has boomed in the area of Aksaray, attracting both local and foreign tourists. The main attraction of the region is the Beyazit Desert, which is one of the largest desert in the world. It is also the site of numerous natural springs, waterfalls and attractions such as the Yavuzu and the Gokova gorges.
The best way to reach Beyazit is by taking the train from Antalya, the closest airport to Antalya. The coast line connecting Antalya and Beyazit has a number of interesting stops, such as the village of Gokova and its surroundings, the hill resort of Marmaris, the village of Gokova itself, and finally, the town of Cokertme. All these places can be visited during a single day, as there are no flights available from Antalya or from Athens itself. If you prefer to visit all of these destinations in one trip, you should be prepared for a long, leisurely drive, through beautiful countryside.
Turkey’s most popular attraction – the Beyazit Desert – can be reached from Beyazit by taking the country road. There are two approaches to this route, the first by foot and the second by car. It starts from the southernmost point of Beyazit and heads northwest; on the way it passes through the towns of Marmaris, Cokertme, and Gokova. It passes through the resort towns of Sisli and Marmaris before emerging at the confluence of Lycia and Famagusta. This natural phenomenon – a rapid change of course in the direction and altitude – is indeed an awe-inspiring sight.
Tourists who come here to bask in the sun will find Beyazit is not only very beautiful; it is also home to many interesting sites, attractions, and activities. At close range is the archeological site of Hristos, built in the fourth century BC and dating from the fifth century BC. Also within easy reach of Beyazit is the Zorion National Park. In addition to being home to many beautiful groves and forests, Zorion offers tourists the opportunity to see many wild animals – including a large variety of migratory birds – that are regularly spotted in this area.
For those interested in history and culture, Beyazit is also home to many old monuments and churches. In fact, many of these monuments date back to the 7th Century, making it one of the oldest places on the island. One of the most popular Attractions in Aksaray is the Church of St. Nicholas (or Santa Nicholas); here, tourists can see many miracles, such as the Virgin Mary washing a baby before her baptism, as well as St. Nicholas’ sidekicks, St. Baptist and St. Chrysostom. Other great places to visit in Aksaray are the Cistercian Abbey, which date back to the 5th century; and the preserved Dominican monastery, Santo Domingo. Both of these monasteries offer visitors a glimpse into the lives of the Catholic church.
Beyazit is also home to many nature preserves and sanctuaries. Among these are the Botanical Garden of Aksaray, the Mediterranean refuge known as Citta Vecchia, and the Yavala National Park, where you can hike, cycle, or explore the wonders of the region. The island’s most spectacular landmark, the Mount Aguda, can be visited with a private helicopter. There are so many more Attractions in Aksaray to explore, and if you are willing to venture out a little, there’s plenty more to come.