Home Page > Turkey > About

About Turkey

A Country For All Tastes

Turkey has so much to offer her visitors: breathtaking natural beauties, unique historical and archeological sites, steadily improving hotel and touristic infrastructure, a tradition of hospitality and competitive prices. It is not surprising therefore that this country has recently become one of the world's most popular tourism destinations. Due to Turkey's diverse geography, one can experience four different climates in any one day. The rectangular shaped country is washed on three sides by three different seas. Its shores are laced with beaches, bays, coves, ports, islands and peninsulas. The summers are long, lasting as long as eight months in some areas. Turkey is also blessed with majestic mountains and valleys, lakes, rivers, waterfalls and grottoes perfect for winter and summer tourism and sports of all kinds.

Skiing fans, mountain climbers, trekkers, hikers and hunters can enjoy new and unforgettable experiences in Turkey. But Turkey is, above anything else, a huge open-air museum, a repository of all the civilizations nurtured by the soils of Anatolia. The huge amount of historical and archaeological wealth in Turkey seems more appropriate for an entire continent than a single country. Recently, a new field of  tourism has opened up health tourism.The country is in fact rich with hot springs, healing waters and muds which come highly recommended by the medical authorities as a remedy for many diseases.
For centuries,Turkey has also been a crossroads of religions, not only of Islam and Christianity, but of many others now forgotten by history.Many religious devotees can find a site, a shrine, a monument, a tomb or a ruin connected with their faith or belief.It is not possible in this page to represent all the touristic attractions of Turkey. So, we suggest you to spare more time browsing our webpage l further.
Nature Aplenty
Turkey is a vast peninsula, covering an area of 814,578 square kilometres or 314,510 square miles and linking Asia to Europe through the Sea of Marmara and the Straits of Istanbul and Çanakkale. Across the Sea of Marmara, the triangular shaped Trace is the continuation of Turkey on the European continent. Anatolia is rectangular in outline, 1500 kilometres long and 550 kilometres wide.
It is characterised by a central plateau surrounded by chains of mountains on the north, west and south and a rugged mountainous region in the east with an average elevation of 1050 metres. In the west, the mountains descend gently towards the sea. The northern Anatolia mountain range, and the Taurus range in the south, stretches like arcs, becoming ever denser in the east. Turkey's highest mountain peak at 5165 metres or 16,946 feet is Ağrı Dağı (Mount Ararat), situated in the north east. It is believed to have been the resting place for Noah's Ark.
Turkey has over 300 natural and 130 artificial lakes. In terms of numbers of lakes, the Eastern Anatolian region is the richest including Lake Van, (the largest of the country with its 3,713 square kilometres surface), and the lakes of Ercek, Cildir and Hazar. There are also many lakes in the West Taurus Mountains area: the Beysehir and Egirdir lakes, Burdur and Acigoller lakes. The lakes of Sapanca, Iznik, Ulubat, Manyas, Terkos, Kucukcekmece and Buyukcekmece are in Marmara region, and the  second largest lake of Turkey, Tuzgolu and The lakes of Aksehir and Eber are located in the Central Anatolia region. A number of dams have been constructed during the past thirty years, which have resulted in the formation of several large dam lakes including the Atatatürk, Keban and Karakaya.
Turkey is like a mosaic made up of many different reliefs and formations: parallel mountain ranges, extinct volcanoes, plateaux fissured by valleys and plains. Surrounded on its three sides by warm seas, it falls in the temperate climate zone. The climate varies considerably however from region to region: a temperate climate in the Black Sea Region, a Mediterranean climate on the southern coast and the Aegean, a continental and arid climate on the central plateau and a harsh mountain climate in eastern Turkey. Because of these variations in climate, the fauna and flora are some of the richest in Europe and the Middle East.
Turkey is separated into seven geographical regions, which are, in order of size: East Anatolia (21 %), Central Anatolia (20%), Black Sea (18%), Mediterranean (15%), Aegean (10%), Marmara (8.5%) and Southeast Anatolia (7.5%).
There are more than 10,000 species of plants in Turkey, 20% of which are found only in these lands. The abundant rainfall in the Black Sea region allows the growth of rich forest vegetation. The Çanakkale Strait forms a transition between the Black Sea and the Aegean regions and therefore has a mixture of temperate and Mediterranean type of vegetation. Thrace has fine forests which are subject to the continental influence of the Balkans. The coasts of the Aegean and the Mediterranean, from the Çanakkale Strait to the Gulf of Iskenderun, have typically Mediterranean vegetation which extends to the plains and western slopes of mountains as high as 1000 metres. The southern coast has very hot and dry summers and the vegetation in some places is subtropical with banana trees and date palms. In the Taurus Mountains, the vegetation consists of pine and cedar forests, with even junipers at higher altitudes. Central and eastern Anatolia are isolated from all maritime influence by mountains. Rainfall is low, the summers hot and dry and the winters harsh. In certain areas, the vegetation is steppe-like but also with forests of pine, oak and beech. The region around the Salt Lake is almost entirely barren. The climate in eastern Turkey is even harsher, although the rainfall in the Southeast allows birches, walnuts and oaks to thrive.
Turkey has a great variety of wild animals, with over 114 species of mammals. The forest belt in the north is home to grey hears and in the south to wild goats. Sea turtles and seals play in the waters of the Mediterranean and the Aegean, just as in other parts of the world, some species have become extinct or on the verge of extinction such as the wild Asian donkeys, lions and tigers. Some 400 species of indigenous or migratory birds live in Turkey, some of which are extinct in Europe such as the black vulture.
Turkey is an important stopover for birds migrating between Africa, Asia and Europe, with the predatory birds stop in these places before continuing on Istanbul Strait and Artvin being the preferred sites. According to the International Office of Aquatic Birds and Areas, there are some 800 aquatic species in Turkey spanning sixty different areas. The shores of Lake Manyas near Balıkesir are home to over 200 species of indigenous or migratory aquatic birds. This lake is considered to be one of Europe s richest aquatic bird centres. Over 250 indigenous or migratory birds live in the Sultan Marshes (Sultan Sazlığı) near Kayseri; 20 of these are considered endangered species, although they come here to mate and breed. The Sultan marshes are thought to be the only place where flamingos, cranes, herons and pelicans breed together. The protected salt marshes near Izmir are like a natural museum, with some 190 species of birds living in its marshes, lakes and hills. The hills also shelter rabbits, foxes and even boars. The Iztuzu sand beaches near Dalyan are the main breeding area for sea turtles.
Official Name
Republic of Turkey
Date of Foundation
October 29, 1923
Largest Cities
Istanbul, Ankara, Izmir, Adana, Antalya
814.578 km2
Geographical Coordinates
Eastern Meridians 26° and 45° and Northern Parallels 36° and 42°
Coastal Borders
Mediterranean Sea in the south, Aegean Sea in the west and Black Sea in the north
The official language is Turkish. English is widely spoken in major cities.
TL (Turkish Lira) 1 Euro approximately equals to 2,30 Turkish Liras.
Time Zone
GMT+2; CET +1; and EST (US -East) +7
Business Hours  
The workweek in Turkey runs from Monday to Friday. Banks, government offices and majority of  corporate offices open at 9 AM and close at 5 PM.
Public Holidays
There are two types of public holiday in Turkey: Those fall on the same day each year; and the religious festivals which change according to the lunar calendar and, therefore, fall on different dates each year.
1 January, 23 April, 1 May, 19 May, 30 August, 28 & 29 October
Eid (Ramadan): 8-11 September 2010
Greater Eid: 15-19 November 2010
Visas are easily obtained upon arrival to the air­port and are required for citizens of most countries.
220V. European standard round two-pin sockets.
Health Services
Cities and major touristic towns have a selection of private inter­national and public hospitals with good standards.
 As with many Mediterranean nations Turkish food is very healthy, fresh and enjoyable.
Tap water is chlorinated and, therefore, safe to drink. However, it is recommended that you consume bottled water, which is readily and cheaply available
Turkey has three GSM operators, with all of them offering 3G services and almost over 95% coverage over the country. Internet service is available all around the country. 
International Dial Code +90

The history of Turkey tells of a 10,000 year-old civilisation. Anatolia is a melting pot where cultures from Sumer, Babylon and Assyria interacted for centuries with peoples such as the Hattis, Hittites and Hourrites. The result was a unique Anatolian civilisation which has long inspired the thoughts and legends of the West. The ancient Bronze Age witnessed the establishment of the first independent city states. At that time, the centre and southeast of Anatolia were inhabited by the indigenous Hattis. The most spectacular findings from this time are those of Alaca Hoyuk in the Kızılırmak region and of Horoztepe near Tokat, in the Black Sea region. They are contemporary with the royal tombs of Mycenae in Greece.

Troy was founded around 3000 BC, and played a major role in the importation of tin, vital for the production of bronze.
The Hittites arrived in Anatolia towards the second millennium BC. They absorbed much of the Babylonian civilisation and long enjoyed amonopoly of iron in Asia. This, combined with the use of the chariot, gave the Hittites a military superiority over Egypt and other Mesopotamian states. The victorious raid against Babylon in 1590 BC was the climax of the first Hittite empire, followed by a period of decline. Then, in the first half of the fourteenth century, came a revival of power. This second era saw a Hittite hegemony snatching from the shores of the Mediterranean to the Persian Gulf.
The Mitanni kingdom was a contemporary and the enemy of the Hittites. It was founded by the Hourrites, a people originally from the South Caspian Sea. The Hourrites exercised considerable influence over the religion of the Hittites, and spread the use of two-wheel chariots and the breeding of horses throughout the Near East. 

At the beginning of the first millennium BC, the Urartus created a unified state whose territory extended from the Caucasus to Lake Urmiya, with its capital in the present city of Van. The Urartus were masters in hydraulic works and skilled in irrigation, drainage and the construction of canals and artificial lakes. They were also known for their horse breeding and formidable cavalry. 

The Phrygians (750-300 BC) settled in Central and Western Anatolia, in the Afyon-Ankara-Eskisehir triangle, declaring Gordion on the Sakarya river to be their capital. Their civilisation met its apogee in the second half of the 8th century BC, under the famous King Midas whom, according to the mythology, Apollo ridiculed by having him grow ears of a donkey, and whom Dionysus invested with the power to turn everything he touched into gold. Gordion fell to Persian domination around 550 BC and was liberated in 333 BC by Alexander the Great. 

Around East of Izmir in Sardes, lived another people, the Lydians, thought to have invented money between 800 and 650 BC. In the 6th century BC, Croesus, the King of Lydia, agreed with the advancing Persians to divide Anatolia along the river Kızılırmak. The Persians, however, did not keep this commitment and continued to encroach on Lydian territory. They remained the sovereign power in Anatolia until the arrival of Alexander the Great in 333 BC.

After the death of Alexander the Great, Anatolia became the hub of the Seleucid Empire. Pergamon (Bergama) grew at the expense of its neighbours, and snatched part of Phrygia in 241 BC. The kingdom became prodigiously rich, the emporium of Anatolia and a brilliant intellectual centre.

The Roman period of Anatolia began with the death of King Attalus III of Pergamon (Bergama) who willed his country to the Romans because he had no direct heir. Anatolia then lived through a period of peace and prosperity, particularly in the 1st and 2nd centuries AD. The pax Romana proved to be an extraordinary period of urban development. Ephesus served as the seat of the Roman governor of Asia and as a great commercial and cultural centre.
The era of Roman Empire is an essential chapter in the history of the region. In 330, Constantine, the Roman emperor, transferred his capital from Rome to Roman Empire. Roman Empire, at that time a small city founded 1,000 years earlier by Greeks on the shores of the Strait was henceforth called Constantinople. The centre of the Empire thereafter became the Orient, in particular Anatolia, inhabited by the descendants of Hattis, Hittites, Phrygians, Greeks and others. Roman Empire became the Eastern Roman Empire; its official religion was proclaimed to be Christianity in 380 and in 392 paganism was banned. In 476, Rome collapsed and Constantinople remained the sole capital of the empire. Roman Empire was both a state and a civilisation, built along the lines of the Roman state, the Greek culture and the Christian faith. The emperor enjoyed divine power and relied heavily on the Church.

Roman Empire knew its first golden age under Justinian. One thousand years of Roman jurisprudence were gathered together in four volumes, a work which had a lasting influence for many centuries. Justinian was also a great builder. The Basilica of Hagia Sophia (Ayasofya) (AD 532-7) was constructed during his reign. The history of Roman Empire is one of alternating periods of glory and decay, of religious dissent, of conflicts and wars with Persians, Arabs, Seljuks, Ottomans and peoples of the North.
By the 13th century, Roman Empire was drawing her final breath. After the mortal wound of 1204, when the Crusaders occupied Constantinople, sacked the city, forced the emperor to leave and established a Latin kingdom, she was a small state. Bulgaria declared her independence and a new maritime power, Venice took for herself the whole Aegean complex of islands. In 1261, the Byzantines had regained possession of their capital, but there were new threats.

In the 11th century, under their leader Tugrul, the Seljuk Turks founded the dynasty of great Seljuks reigning in Iran, Iraq and Syria. In 1071, his nephew Alp Arslan defeated the Byzantines in Malazgirt, near Lake Van. The doors of Anatolia were thus opened to the Turks, and Anatolia went through a profound transformation ethnically, politically, and in the religious, linguistic and cultural spheres. The Seljuk Sultanate in Anatolia continued until the beginning of the 14th century. The zenith of the Seljuk civilisation came in the first half of the 13th century with Konya as its political, economic, religious, artistic and literary centre. The Seljuks created a centralised administration organised around the Sultan, his ministers and provincial governors. Science and literature blossomed, as did mystic poetry. Anatolia was crossed by the great routes linking the east and west, and many of the caravanserais built along these routes still stand today. Agriculture, industry and handicrafts expanded and the country was suddenly rich in mosques, madrasahs (medreses - educational institutions) and caravanserais (kervansarays - roadside inns).
The Seljuk Sultanate collapsed due to internal dissent and Mongol invasions. Anatolia was again fragmented into rival independent principalities, one of which came under Ottoman rule. Anatolia, though divided, had been united by language, religion and race, offering an opportunity for statesmanship and courage. This would be the task of Osman and his successors.

In 1296, Osman declared himself the independent Sultan of the region of Söğüt near Bursa he had hitherto held in fief, and founded the Ottoman State. During the rule of his son Orhan, Bursa and Iznik were captured and soon the whole south-eastern coast of Marmara was under Ottoman control. The many conquests and diplomatic successes of Orhan were not the only achievements of his reign. He had encouraged and promoted art, literature, science and commerce. He also established a regular standing army, known as the Janissaries. Well paid and disciplined, the Janissaries provided the new Ottoman state with a patriotic force of trained soldiers.
Built upon such solid foundations, the Ottoman Empire spread apace. In the reign of Murat, this expansion was still in a westerly direction and it was not until the frontiers were extended to the Adriatic, the Danube and Thessaly, that the Sultan turned his attention towards Eastern Anatolia Now that his rule was established in Europe and Asia, Beyazit turned towards Constantinople in 1402. The city was almost within Iris grasp when he was called to meet me westward march of Timurlane which delayed the conquest of Istanbul for several decades.
In 1453, under Mehmet the Conqueror, the Ottomans took Constantinople, a momentous event for the whole world and a great feat of arms. But the banner of Ottoman success was to be raised much higher and by the late l6th century the Ottomans were deep into Europe. In the following centuries, however, the Ottoman Empire lost its momentum, entered a period of stagnation and then gradually a period of decline.

The final blow to the Empire came with the First World War, during which The Ottoman Empire was on the losing side with Germany. Great Britain reversed the policy she had followed until then, and undertook with France, Russia and Italy, forming the Allied Forces. At the end of the war in 1918, the Ottoman government, under the occupation of the Allied Forces, choose not to further resist a peace treaty embodying the partition of Turkey. In May 1919, the Greeks, who had been promised a part of Anatolia, landed at Izmir and started an invasion in Western Anatolia while France sought control over South-Eastern Anatolia, and the Great Britain do the same in Istanbul in particular regions of the Middle East.

Against this challenge, the Turkish nation engaged in a struggle to restore her territorial integrity and independence, to repulse foreign aggressors, to create a new state, to disassociate Turkey from the crumbling Ottoman dynasty, to eradicate an old and decrepit order and to build a modern country dedicated to political, social and economic progress. This was the vision of Atatürk, a general in the Ottoman army who had distinguished himself in the defence of Gallipoli (Çanakkale) against the Naval Forces of Britain, France, Australia and New Zealand. The Ottoman victory over the Allies at Gallipoli renewed Turkey's visions for the empire Atatürk wanted a clean break with the past, to unite the nation in the quest for modernism and to lift Turkey to the level of European countries. On October 29 1923, the republic was proclaimed and Atatürk was elected president. Secularism was established by separating religious and state affairs. The Latin alphabet replaced the Arabic script and women were given the right to vote and to be elected as members of parliament. These reforms, as well as many others in all aspects of social life, put Turkey on the track towards becoming a thoroughly modern country.

When Ataturk died in 1938, he left a legacy of which the Turkish people today are proud. A nation that had regained confidence in itself after the independence war; a society determined to preserve the political, intellectual, cultural and social values he had bequeathed. The Turkish Republic has now been a member of the international community for over 80 years. During this period, great changes have occurred and many difficulties have been encountered. But the country remains firmly attached to the policies initiated by Ataturk. It has established a democratic multi-party political system, developed a vibrant civil society, and embarked on the path of industrialisation and market economy. It has consolidated its ties with the west and with the European Union through membership in NATO and the Council of Europe and Customs Union. These trends mark a radical change from the days of the Ottoman Empire. Yet there is also continuity. The Turks have inherited both from the Islamic past and their Ottoman past. They have also inherited from their western past, as well as forming a part of the Western present. All these heritages, Eastern and Western, Asian and European, are intermingled in the civilisation of modem Turkey. A symbol of this union is the two bridges that span the Istanbul Strait, linking the two continents with many pasts and one future.And Turkey is a candidate country negotiating with European Union for being a member of EU. A Turkish government agency; General Secretariat of European Union is responsible for the negotiations