Turkey is a country where people from different cultures, religions and ethnic backgrounds come together! A geography, as ancient as the human culture, where the ancient continents of Asia and Europe meet. Turkey is a paradise of sea, sun and mountains, at the same time offering the visitors the pleasure of historical treasures of magnificent ancient cities.
From April to October, most parts of Turkey have an ideal climate providing perfect conditions which a visitor can enjoy the comfort of sandy beaches and also the unique atmosphere of Ancient Cities. It is doubtless that just one visit will not be enough, one will want to come back time after time as the extraordinary places and tastes are discovered.
Turkey, exotic, colourful, many-faced, romantic, ever-old and ever-new, is the gateway and the key to the fabled East. Turkey has a magnificent past and is a land full of historic treasures.
Modern Turkey is a country of 780,576 km², somewhat larger than the state of Texas or France and Great Britain combined. It is bordered by the Mediterranean, Aegean and Black Seas. In clockwise order, Turkey shares borders with Greece, Bulgaria, Georgia, Armenia, Iran, Iraq and Syria. About three percent of the country is in Europe. South and East of the Dardanelles, the Sea of Marmara and the Bosphorus stretches the peninsula known as Asia Minor or Anatolia. Fertile plains fringe the coast; mountain ranges separate them from the high central plateau. Nineteen mountains are over 4,100 meters (13,800 feet) high; of them Mt. Ararat (Agri Dag) is the highest at 5,073 meters (16,910 feet). Both the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers (Dicle and Firat) rise in Anatolia.
Turkey has been called ‘’the cradle of civilization’’ and by travelling through this historic land the tourists will discover exactly what is meant by its phrase. The world’s first town, a Neolithic city at Catalhoyuk ( by Konya ), dates back to 6,500 BC. From the days of Catalhoyuk up to the present time Turkey boasts of a rich culture that trough the centuries has made a lasting impression on modern civilization. The heir many centuries of cultures makes Turkey a paradise of information and cultural wealth. Hattis, Hittites, Phrygians, Urartians, Lycians, Lydians, Ionians, Persians, Macedonians, Romans, Byzantines, Seljuks, and Ottomans have all held important places in Turkey’s history, and ancient sites and ruins scattered throughout the country give proof to each civilization’s unique distinction.
Turkey also has a very fascinating recent history. Upon the decline of the Ottoman Empire, a young man named Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, who was a soldier by occupation but a great visionary in character, took the defeat of World War I and turned it into a shining victory by liberating Turkey of all foreign invaders. Mustafa Kemal Ataturk founded the Republic of Turkey on the 29th of October, 1923. He led his country into peace and stability, with tremendous economic growth and complete modernization. Through decades of change and growth Turkey still boasts of this success by effectively living by their adopted motto of ‘’Peace at Home, Peace in the World’’.
The current population of Turkey is over 70 million people, of whom 60% live in the cities. Then ten most populous cities in order are Istanbul, Ankara, Izmir Adana, Bursa, Gaziantep, Eskisehir, Kayseri and Diyarbakir. More than half the population is under the age of 20.
The Turkish Language belongs to the Ural Altaic group and has an affinity to the Finno Hungarian languages. Since 1928 Turkish has been written in a phonetic, Latin alphabet of 29 letters and is spoken by some 150 million people around the world.
While Turkey is a secular state, about 98% of the people are Muslims; their faith is that of Islam. ‘Islam’ means ‘submission’; a Muslim is one of who submits himself to God. Islam is the most recent of the three great monotheistic religions, having developed from the revelations by God to the Prophet Mohammed. He was born in Mecca and lived from about AD 570 to June 8th AD 632. His activity as a Prophet encompassed the ten years before his death. The holy book of Islam is the Koran; it is believed to be the revelation of God to Mohammed. It contains 114 suras (chapters) and 6,666 ayets (verses). Allahuekber (God is incomparable) are the words calling the people to prayer. The non-Muslim minority people are concentrated in Istanbul. There are Sephardic Jews and Christians of several backgrounds: Greek Orthodox, Armenian Orthodox, Greek Catholic, Syrian Orthodox, a few Protestants and some others.
The Turkish Republic is based on secular democratic, pluralist and parliamentary system, where human rights are protected by law and social justice. The National Assembly is elected by popular vote and the nation is governed by the Council of Ministers headed by the Prime Minister. Turkey is a founding member of OECD, the Black Sea Economic Cooperation Organization, a member of NATO, the European Council and the European Parliament, and an associate member of the European Community.
Tourism – In recent years Turkey has become a major tourist destination in Europe. With the rapid development of both summer and winter resorts, more and more people from all over the world are able to enjoy the history, culture, and beautiful sites of Turkey.
Agriculture – It has got a very important place in the Turkish economy. The main crops are wheat, rice, cotton, tea, tobacco, hazelnuts, and fruit. Sheep are Turkey’s most important livestock, and Turkey is one of European wool and cotton producer. Southeast Anatolia Project (Gap) is a multipurpose, integrated development project comprising of dams, hydroelectric power plants and irrigation facilities, that are to be built on the Firat (Euphrates) and Dicle (Tigris) rivers. It will affect agriculture, transportation, education, tourism, health and other sectors.
Cuisine – The Turkish Cuisine is one of the best in the world. It has a wide variety of dishes many prepared with fresh vegetables and olive oil. Turkish food is very healthy as well as delicious. The fresh fruits are plentiful and very tasty.
Visas – are required by many countries in order to visit Turkey and therefore one must check with the appropriate Embassy or Consulate in your country of residence to learn what is required. For US citizens, GB citizens and most of EU citizens, no prior request is necessary, but a visa must be purchased upon arrival in Turkey. Usually it is issued just before passing passport control.