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The Aegean coast of Western Anatolia was easily accessible to the ancient maritime peoples, but mountain ranges cut them off from much of the inland terrain, which was only lightly pierced by rivers such as the Gediz and Büyük Menderes in the west and the Aksu in the south. Today highways take traffic across the hills as well as along the well-worn highways of the caravansarai. The main towns in the south are Denizli and Isparta. Denizli, provincial capital of a region rich in painted mosques, is the hopping off point for the ancient sites of Aphrodisias and Hierapolis, with the adjoining spas and travertine formations at Pamukkale. Further east, inland from Antalya, Isparta is where exploration of the beautiful Lakes Region can begin. To the north are Kütahya, Bursa, the first capital of the Ottoman Empire, Iznik still in its city walls looking down a long and glorious lake, Eskişehir, now an important university city, and Bolu.
The well preserved medieval streets and historic houses have resulted in Unesco World Heritage Site status.
Bursa was the Ottoman Empire's first serious capital. Green Bursa is now very grey, but baths and beauty can still be found.
Famed for its lustrous ceramics and, as Nicaea, its ecumenical councils, İznik lies at the eastern end of Lake İznik and is a popular destination.
Best known for its distinctiuve ceramics, Kütahya has a Byzantine castle and a number of Ottoman houses.
The hidden treasures of this ancient regional capital are the painted mosques of the surrounding villages.
Snow-capped mountains look down on a scattering of lakes, the ruins of Sagalossos and Isparta, City of Roses
Turkey's largest freshwater late is overlooked by the Seljuk's 13th-century summer palace of Kubadabad
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