Turkey: Where East Meets West…. Sites for Catholic Travelers
Ask anyone who has ever visited there and they will tell you what a great experience it was to visit this modern yet ancient country. It is also rich in Biblical history and has many interesting sites for Catholic Christians. Modern Turkey was founded in 1924, after fighting a war of independence and forming a new Republic. Under its founder, Mustafa Kamal Attaturk it adopted many Western traditions, including switching from the Arabic alphabet to the Latin alphabet, outlawing polygamy and establishing a secular government. Although he died in 1938, Attaturk remains a popular hero to this day and statues of him abound throughout the country. His influence in turning his country away from the old Ottoman Empire and turning it into a modern state cannot be over-stated.
An estimated 28 million foreign tourists visit Turkey each year. They encounter a warm, friendly people eager to welcome foreigners.
Although the Muslim religion predominates, it has traditionally been a secular state that is home to many Orthodox Christians as well as Roman Catholic Christians. We encourage you to explore this beautiful and diverse country.
Be aware, however, that recent turmoil in the country, as well as the increasingly autocratic rule of President Erdogan, mean that you should be aware of your surroundings. Just use common sense, and it will be a great visit.
Among those places in Turkey of particular interest to Catholics are the following:
Antioch: the Grotto of Saint Peter
Demre-Kale: Church of Saint Nicholas
Ephesus: The House of the Virgin Mary
Istanbul: Catholic churches in Istanbul
Smyrna (coming soon)