Turkey is located in South-eastern Europe and South-western Asia. European Turkey is relatively small compared to the Asian part – the Anatolian Plateau, which is a large peninsula. Turkey’s land area, including lakes and occupies is 783,562 sq. km. According to the Address-Based Population Recording System of Turkey, the country’s population was 81,619,392 million people in 2014. Ankara (4.194 million inhabitants) is capital but Istanbul is the country’s largest city.
Landscape: The Asian part of the country – Anatolia is a high hilly plateau with narrow coastal plains. Its northern part is covered by the Pontic and Köroğlu mountain ranges, the southern by Taurus Mountains. Eastern Turkey has a more mountainous landscape. The rivers Euphrates, Tigris and Aras spring there. Anatolia is surrounded by the Black Sea to the north, Aegean Sea to the West and the Mediterranean Sea to the south. The European part is covered by parts of Eastern Thrace plane and Strandzha Mountain. It is separated by Anatolia (Asia Minor) by Black sea, Bosphorus, Marmara, Dardanelles and Aegean Sea. The biggest town in Turkey is Istanbul, which steps on the both continents.
State Government: republican parliamentary democracy. Turkey is the only country with a Muslim majority population (99.8%) that operates under a secular constitution and a democratic government.
Religions: Islam is the largest religion of Turkey with 99.8 % of the population being registered as Muslim (mostly Sunni), other 0.2% (mostly Christians and Jews).
Time Difference: Turkey is in the Eastern European Time Zone. Eastern European Standard Time(EET) is 2 hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT+2).
Republic Of Turkey
Government type: Unitary presidential constitutional republic
President: Recep Tayyip Erdoğan
Vice President: Fuat Oktay
Assembly Speaker: Mustafa Şentop
Leader’s Political Party: Justice and Development Party (AK Parti)
Independence: 29 October 1923
Turkey, officially the Republic of Turkey, is a democratic, secular and social state governed by rule of law, within the notions of public peace, national solidarity and justice, respecting human rights, loyal to the nationalism of Atatürk.
The State of Turkey, with its territory and nation, is an indivisible entity.
Its flag, the form of which is prescribed by the relevant law, is composed of a white crescent and star on a red background.
Its national anthem is the “Independence March”.
Branches: Executive, Legislative, Judicial
Turkey was a parliamentary representative democracy until 2018 when a new presidential system was adopted following a referendum in 2017. All powers of the Prime Minister and his cabinet were also abolished and transferred directly to the President, who is elected for a five-year term. Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is the first president of Turkey, who was elected by direct voting.
Legislative power is vested in the Grand National Assembly of Turkey on behalf of Turkish Nation.
Executive power and function are exercised and carried out by the President of the Republic in conformity with the Constitution and laws.
Judicial power is exercised by independent and impartial courts on behalf of the Turkish Nation.
600 members of parliament are elected for four-year terms through a proportional representation system drawn from 85 electoral districts.
President of the Republic
The President of the Republic is elected directly by the public from among Turkish citizens over forty years of age who are eligible to be a deputy and have completed higher education.
The President of the Republic is the head of the State. The President of the Republic, in his/her capacity as the Head of State, represents the Republic of Turkey and the unity of the Turkish Nation; he/she ensures the implementation of the Constitution, and orderly and harmonious functioning of the organs of the State.
The ruins of a monastery can be seen on the slopes of the Zigana Mountains to the south of Trabzon and at the foot of the mountain at the bottom of a wooded valley flows one of the tributaries of Değirmen Creek, which terminates at Trabzon. This place is known as “Meryem Ana”, or “the Virgin Mary” by the local people. Its old name is “Sumela Monastery”. The location of the Monastery proves the tradition that the monasteries were generally built outside the city, in forests, and nearby the waterside and caves.
Sumela Monastery was built in the honour of Virgin Mary, and took its name from the word “Melas” which means Black. Although it can be thought that this name derives from the dark colour of the Karadağlar Mountains, the name Sumela comes from the black colour of the depiction of Virgin Mary.
Sumela expanded over the centuries of Ottoman rule and became a complex of considerable size. The centre of the complex is a cave, or rather a hollow almost 1200 m above sea level and about 300 m above the river at the bottom of the valley, in the middle of a slope so steep it could be said to be almost vertical. The narrow head of rock jutting out in front of the cave, access to which is tiring and difficult in the extreme, formed the foundation of the Monastery, which grew in size and accumulated wealth over the centuries. Sumela is the most famous of the old monasteries in and around Trabzon.
Mount Nemrut (2552m) is located in southeastern Turkey, 87 km from Adıyaman, and is part of the Taurus Mountain range, above the Euphrates River valley. It is the site of extensive ruins of the tomb of Antiochos I (69-36 BC) of the Commagene Kingdom (163 BC – 72 AD). The sanctuary at the top of Mount Nemrut was built by Antiochos I for himself as a funerary monument. It is a conical shaped tumulus with a height of 50m and 150m diameter and made up of 50,000 cubic meters of gravel. There were three terraces in the sanctuary on the East, North and West sides. The remains of the sculptures, which once decorated all three, give some idea of the size and grandeur of Antiochus’ magnificent structure. Colossal heads of Apollo, Zeus, Hercules, and Antiochos I and several Greek and Persian gods surround the structure. The complex also includes a cave cistern, some reliefs and ruins of columns. The Commagene have been described as a semi-Iranian people that practiced the Zoroastrian faith and worshiped gods with combined Eastern and Western names like Zeus-Orimasdes and Apollo-Mithras.
The Mount Nemrut is one the highest peaks of the Mesopotamia, and its summit at 2,206 metres above the sea level contains the tomb of King Antiochus I of Commagene, commissioned by himself. The gigantic statues of gods, each weighing 6 tons and 10 metres tall, indicate what kind of super-human effort was spent on the construction of the tomb. The tomb chamber is yet to be accessed and the treasures inside are awaiting discovery. However the statues of gods and the sanctuary formed along the three aspects of the tumulus are considered unique, and consequently it was inscribed in the UNESCO List of World Heritage.
The Zeugma Mosaic Museum is in the modern city of Gaziantep, south-eastern Turkey, not far from the excavation site. Zeugma was founded by one of Alexander the Great’s generals, Seleucus I Nicator, in c.300 BC. The city straddles the River Firat – the ancient Euphrates – with its two halves joined by a bridge. As such, Zeugma was ideally placed to exploit the east–west trade route. The city flourished, reaching its peak during the Roman period from the mid 1st century BC to AD 3rd century. Many of the mosaics recovered during the two decades of excavation date to this period of prosperity.
More than 2,000m² of mosaics were uncovered at Zeugma, and most are now exhibited over the three floors of this museum. While the majority of the mosaics come from Zeugma, there are also some examples recovered from other sites around Gaziantep, including some 6th century AD artworks from churches in the region.
Göbeklitepe archaeological site is near Örencik village, 15 km northeast of Şanlıurfa, which is one of the most mystical cities of Turkey, and renowned as the “City of Prophets”.
Six miles from Urfa, an ancient city in southeastern Turkey, The place is called Gobekli Tepe, and Schmidt, a German archaeologist who has been working here more than a decade, is convinced it’s the site of the world’s oldest temple. While the discovery of Göbeklitepe site took place in 1963, the first scientific excavation started in 1995, eventual findings of which added new pages to the history, changing long standing assumptions.
Findings of researchers at Göbeklitepe shows that a religious class existed even at such early ages, division of society into social classes took place well before the widely assumed dates, and perhaps the first agricultural activity may have been conducted in the region. The site is also remarkable with the first patriarchal thought, the first terrazzo flooring and the first statues and reliefs of the Neolithic Age. As a result, all this new information has been added to the collective knowledge of humanity and into the history books. On the merits of its contribution to human history, Göbeklitepe was inscribed to the UNESCO World Heritage List in 2018.
Ephesus, once the most important commercial center of the western Anatolia , is one of the highlights of Turkey that awaits the exploring tourists. The city was established as a port on the mouth of the river Cayster and was one of the foremost cities of the world for its being on a strategic trade route in Anatolia. The ancient city of Ephesus is Turkey’s most important ancient city, and one of the best preserved and restored. One can still stroll for hours along its streets passing temples, theatres, libraries, houses and statues. Ephesus is particularly important for faith tourism as it contains the House of the Virgin Mary.
Ephesus contains the largest collection of Roman ruins in the eastern Mediterranean. Only an estimated 15% has been excavated. The ruins that are visible give some idea of the city’s original splendor, and the names associated with the ruins are evocative of its former life. A part of the site, Basilica of St. John, was built in the 6th century AD, under emperor Justinian I over the supposed site of the apostle’s tomb. It is now surrounded by Selçuk.
As one of the most important centres of the ancient era that is inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List in 2015, Ephesus had been inhabited approximately for 9000 years throughout the Hellenistic Era, Roman Period, Byzantine Era, the Period of Principalities and the Ottoman Era. It was a very important port city and centre of culture and commerce. The whole site comprises Çukuriçi Mound, Ayasuluk Hill, the House of the Virgin Mary, and of course the ancient city of Ephesus.
Konya is one of Turkey’s oldest continuously inhabited cities and was known as Iconium in Roman times. As the capital of the Seljuk Turks from the 12th to the 13th centuries, it ranks as one of the great cultural centres of Turkey. During that period of cultural, political and religious growth, the mystic Mevlana Celaleddin-i Rumi founded a Sufi order known in the West as the Whirling Dervishes. The striking green-tiled mausoleum of Mevlana is Konya’s most famous building. Attached to the mausoleum, the former dervish seminary now serves as a museum housing manucripts of Mevlana’s works and various artefacts related to the mysticism of the sect. Every year during the first half of December, a ceremony is held in commemoration of Mevlana Celaleddin-i Rumi, with the controlled, trance-like turning or sema of the white-robed men creating a fascinating performance for the viewer.
As Konya was the site of many of his most important teachings, it’s also the city that he was ultimately buried in. He died here in 1273, though his teachings would suggest that rather than use the word “death,” perhaps the word “rebirth” would be more appropriate. He referred to the day of his death as “Şeb-i Arûs,” or wedding day, ie the day he would be wed to God. To this day, every December the day of his death is marked as Şeb-i Arûs and a week-long celebration takes place in the city of Konya, with travelers coming from all over the world to partake in and watch the sema ceremonies, whirling dervishes, and prayer hymns.
Those who adopt Rumi’s doctrine of sufism are called Mevlevi or dervishes, and they whirl around in a beautiful ceremony referred to as a Sema ceremony in which they whirl and turn in a dance making themselves one with the Earth. This is the ritual that Rumi himself performed in the streets of Konya before his death.
2007 was marked as the year of Rumi by UNESCO, with many different events taking place in Konya and around the world to commemorate his message of peace, love and beauty. The Mevlana Cultural Center was established over a large area and organizes sema ceremonies every evening.
Troy, ancient city made famous by Homer’s account of the Trojan War. It is also called Ilion or, in Latin, Ilium. Its site is almost universally accepted as the mound now named Hissarlik, in Asian Turkey, c.4 mi (6.4 km) from the mouth of the Dardanelles.
Troy is a city which was often thought to be a myth, existing over 4000 years ago. It was first discovered in the 19th century and is known as Truva in Turkish and is recognised as a World Heritage Site. The ruins may not be as breathtaking as first expected, but well worth the visit if you have ever heard the tales of either the Trojan War or Homer’s Iliad. Until the archaeologist Schliemann discovered the ruins of four ancient towns, it was thought that the writing of Homer were legend.
In fact, this site comprises the ruins of at least nine different settlements, built one on top of the other, dating back to the early Bronze Age. Troy is a complex city, with nine ancient cities, each built on top of each other. The first city was founded in the 3rd millenium BC and flourished as a mercantile city due to its location. This unique site enabled its inhabitants to control the Dardanelles (today’s Çanakkale Strait), a waterway which is used by every merchant ship passing from the Aegean Sea and heading for Black Sea. The extensive remains at this archaeological site are the most significant demonstration of the first contact between the civilizations of Anatolia and the Mediterranean World.
The ruins of Troy can be visited daily. The first thing you will see when visiting the site is a replica of the wooden Trojan horse.
The region of Cappadocia is located in the middle of a once-active volcanic area of central Anatolia. Millions of years ago three of its mountains – Erciyes, Hasandağ and Güllüdağ – were active volcanoes; indeed this activity persisted intermittently at least into the Neolithic period according to the prehistoric paintings.
The volcanic eruptions were so strong that in some places the lava was up to 150m in thickness. Over many millions of years, volcanoes, wind, rain and ice sculpted the region which we now know as Cappadocia. As the landscape was eroded, basalt stones remained and formed conical structures with some reaching as high as 45m.
The local people referred to these unique rock formations “fairy chimneys”, a name that has endured throughout the ages. If nature was the first artist to arrange the decor, it was Anatolian man who carved the rock and built houses, churches and over 250 underground cities out of it over the centuries.
Cappadocia incorporates the provinces of Aksaray, Nevşehir, Niğde, Kayseri and Kırşehir. For most people, the name Cappadocia suggests the towns of Uçhisar, Göreme, Avanos, Ürgüp, Derinkuyu, Kaymaklı and Ihlara, where the land has been shaped into fantastic forms over the course of millions of years. Fairy chimneys that seem mysterious and cities and houses of worship that extend many meters deep into the earth are all enveloped in an atmosphere that is ethereal and unworldly.
Due to its location Cappadocia has been a critical and strategic region throughout the years. Important trade routes, including the illustrious Silk Road, traversed it both east and west and north and south. As a result of this heavy traffic, the region has been a complex web of historical and cultural influences, a region where different faiths and philosophies have met and influenced one another.
Antalya is in the southern Turkey and it is popular with tourists. First of all, visitors to Antalya can find many things. Antalya is historical, touristic and modern city so visitors can make many things. Typical Mediterranean climate with sunny summers and mild winters. Swimming April – November. Average daytime temperature in summer is 28°C and the water is 27°C.
Antalya is a holiday paradise in a lovely natural setting. The pine-clad Toros Mountains sweep down to the crystal clear sea forming an irregular coastline of rocky headlands and secluded caves.
Pamukkale, meaning “cotton castle” in Turkish, is a natural site in Denizli Province in southwestern Turkey. The city contains hot springs and travertines, terraces of carbonate minerals left by the flowing water. It is located in Turkey’s Inner Aegean region, in the River Menderes valley, which has a temperate climate for most of the year.
The ancient Greco-Roman and Byzantine city of Hierapolis was built on top of the white “castle” which is in total about 2,700 metres (8,860 ft) long, 600 m (1,970 ft) wide and 160 m (525 ft) high. It can be seen from the hills on the opposite side of the valley in the town of Denizli, 20 km away. Tourism is and has been a major industry. People have bathed in its pools for thousands of years.
Turkish cuisine is one of the most varied in the world. It is considered as the third richest cuisine after the French and the Chinese gastronomy.
Istanbul is a city of tremendous flavors, and it offers something for every, especially meat-lovers. In every district of Istanbul, not just the centers, you’ll find side-street vendors that locals will claim produce the best döners or kebabs found anywhere else in the city. Döner kebab just refers to the rotating meat on a spit, and the most common way to eat it is in a wrap called a “durum”. Another dish using döner is “İskender”, a dish which originated in Bursa but which has become synonymous with Turkish cuisine. Strips of döner ae laid over a bed of “pide” bread, and then covered with rich tomato sauce and melted butter, with a dollop of yoghurt on the side. It’s certainly filling but is also one of the country’s favorite dishes.
Mantı (Turkish ravioli) is a dish that migrated from Central Asia, that was later fused with Anatolian cuisine. Mantı, especially boiled mantı, soon became a central part of Turkish cuisine. Kayseri is famous for its delicious mantı, but is also a traditonal part of Çorum, Tokat, Niğde, Sinop and Sivas cuisine. Depending on the local recipe, the mantı dough is carefully rolled out in preparation for the main ingredients that are then placed in the center, before folding. The triangle-shaped or rose-shaped folded mantı is later cooked in the oven or in boiling water. The final step, before serving is to put a generous helping of yoghurt, butter tomato sauce and chilli flakes.
Stuffed vine leaves (Zeytinyağlı Yaprak Sarması) have been served since the days when Turkic tribes were still living in Central Asia. They’re made by stuffing vine leaves with rice, onions, and spices and are usually eaten as a meze appetizer. Most restaurants in the city will feature their own, though it’s known best as a home-cooked dish. First, vine leaves are pressed and put in a tin or a jar of salt water until they’re sufficiently soft, and then washed. While they’re waiting, rice, onion, allspice, raisins and pine nuts are crushed together into a paste. A little bit of this paste is placed into each grape leaf and rolled up into a parcel, then placed into a pot to cook. It’s typically served cold with lemon, though it goes well with yogurt as well. Different recipes call for different ingredients to be used, such as minced meat, diced meat, and a variety of different spices.
Filo pastry, or rolled out dough, is packed with delicious ingredients, then shaped and folded accordingly. There are many variants of börek. The most popular are: su böreği, kol böreği, puf böreği, and tepsi böreği. Su böreği is a favorite variety of börek,pastry is boiled in water before being arranged on the tray, and is often eaten alongside Turkish breakfast.
The cultural and historical richness of Anatolia is reflected in its desserts, and you’ll find all there is to try in Istanbul. Many Turkish desserts feature syrups soaked into pastries. During the holidays around Ramadan, as well as birthdays and other special occasions, Turkish delight (lokum) is served, which is a gelatinous candy that comes in a variety of flavors including rose, pistachio, walnut, hazelnut and dozens more. Of the syrupy desserts, probably the most famous is baklava, which is made from 40 layers of incredibly thin filo pastry filled with crushed nuts and other tasty delights before a sugary syrup is poured over it. And if you like baklava, you’ll certainly love künefe or ekmek kadayıf, which are similarly indulgent. Künefe is made with sweetened cheese and covered with a generous ladling of syrup or rose water, whereas ekmek kadayıf is similar to a bread pudding, only with healthy doses of fresh clotted cream (kaymak) inside and on top.
The beverages available in Turkey only enrich what is already one of the world’s great culinary traditions. For example, when you try kebabs, the flavor of the meat is best brought out by the yogurt drink, Ayran. In the summer months, it goes down especially well with a handful of fresh mint thrown in. Şalgam is another delicious drink unique to Turkey; it’s a juice of red carrot pickles, salted, spiced, flavored with aromatic turnip (Şalgam means “turnip”), and finally fermented in barrels with the addition of ground bulgur. Another Turkish drink you’ll come across is called boza. It’s a drink of fermented wheat, and is particularly warming in the winter months, served with a dusting of cinnamon and roasted chickpeas called leblebi. Salep is another delicious, creamy hot drink. Flour made from the tubers of a kind of orchid mixed with milk are the main ingredients, and it is a sweeter alternative to boza. Of course, perhaps the most famous Turkish drink is a nice frothy cup of Turkish coffee. Last but not least, the most popular drink in Turkey is tea (çay), which is grown in the Black Sea Region of the country and is drunk morning, afternoon, and night.