By Yasemin Kalyoncuoglu
ANKARA (AA) - Over 3 million tourists visited historical places in Turkey in the June-August period of this year as travel restrictions related to the novel coronavirus eased.
This summer, domestic and foreign tourists preferred to visit mostly historical sites rather than museums due to the pandemic, according to the information obtained by Anadolu Agency from the country's Culture and Tourism Ministry.
Six archaeological sites and four museums were Turkey's top most popular destinations this summer.
Hierapolis-Pamukkale ancient city is the most visited place with over 230,000 visitors.
Pamukkale is a UNESCO World Heritage site known for its mineral-rich thermal waters and white travertine terraces in Turkey's Aegean province Denizli.
Also, the museum dedicated to the 13th century Muslim mystic poet Mevlana Jalaluddin al-Rumi is the second most visited place, hosting nearly 200,000 tourists.
The Mevlana Museum, located in Konya, drew a total of 3.47 million domestic and foreign tourists last year, becoming the country's number two museum destination after the Hagia Sophia in Istanbul.
With the unique combination of its historical ruins, stunning beach and natural beauty, Turkey’s antique city of Phaselis in Antalya’s Kemer district came third in attracting tourists.
The other popular destinations are Olympos in Turkey's southern resort city of Antalya, Sumela Monastery in Turkey’s Black Sea region and ancient city of Ephesus in the picturesque Aegean region.
After February, Turkey postponed the tourism season to June and cancelled a number of events such as fairs and expos.
With the normalization process starting in June, tourist facilities in Turkey reopened with rigorous measures to ensure safety of tourists.
Last year, more than 45 million foreigners entered Turkey, up from nearly 39.5 million in 2018.