Everything about Turkey Country : Occupying a unique geographical position partly in Asia and partly in Europe, Turkey has always acted as a bridge between both continents.
Its different industries in tourism, economy, and religion make this country a fabulous spot for those who want to spend their holiday or live in a country with a prosperous culture.
Everything about Turkey Country
Situating in a strategic geographical position between Asia and Europe, Turkey has always acted as a bridge between both continents.
It is a cross continental country bordered by Greece and Bulgaria in the northwest, Georgia in the northeast, Azerbaijan and Iran in the east and Iraq and Syria in the south.
The country stretches about 480 to 640 km from north to east and 1600 km from west to the east.
The capital of Turkey is Ankara; while, Istanbul is its largest and main seaport city.
The total area of the country is about 785,347 square kilometers with the population of about 81,312,000 million people based on the 2018 census.
The Brief History of Turkey
Anatolia Peninsula is one of the most populous parts of the modern Turkey and one of the oldest human settlements on earth, dating back to the Neolithic era. The region was ruled by various government cities such as Lonia and Lydia.
In 500 BC, these cities were overthrown by the great Achaemenid Empire and became part of the empire territory.
With the Alexander invasion in 333 BC, the Minor Asia came under the rule of Seleucid dynasty and was finally handed over to the Roman Empire by the mid-first century BC.
In 324, Constantine, the Roman Empire chose Constantine or Byzantium (modern name for Istanbul) as the new capital of the empire which led to the permanent division of the empire into western and eastern Roman.
In 1071, the Seljuk Turks conquered Byzantine in a battle at Manzikert near Lake Van. The Seljuk Turks started to migrate to Anatolia in the 11th century and established the Anatolian Seljuk state.
After the decline of Seljuk by the Mongol invasion of Anatolia in 1243, the Ottoman Empire raised to power and ruled a vast territory for over 623 years until the First World War.
After the war, the empire was forced to sing the Mondros Armistice in which the territories of empire went under the control of other countries such as Britain, France, Russia and Greece. This was the end to the Ottoman Empire.
Following a series of liberation movements by the leadership of Mustafa Kamal “the father of Turks”, the Lauasanne Treaty was signed between Turkey, Britain, France and others in 1923.
According to this treaty, Turkey retained its international borders and declared its total independence from other countries.
In 1923, the republic of Turkey was proclaimed with Mustafa Kamal as the first president.
During his 15 years of presidency, Turkey underwent great reforms in terms of policy, economy and culture.
The Religion and Ethnic Groups
Islam is the main religion in Turkey, and 98% of the population identifies themselves as Muslim. The remaining population are Christians, Jews and other religions.
About 80% of the Muslim population are known as Sunni and the remaining 16.5% are Shia Aleviler with a small minority recognized as Ismaili Shia.
The majority of people in Turkey recognize themselves as Turks (72.5%). Among minority ethnic groups in Turkey, the Kurds (non-Zaza) comprise the largest minority in Turkey (12.7%) followed by Zazak Kurds (4.0%), Circassians (3.3%), Bosniaks (2.5%), Georgians (1.3%), Albanians (1.2%), Arabs (1.1%), Pomaks (0.8%) and others (0.5%).
Climate of Turkey
Climate of Turkey : Surrounded by seas in the west, north and the east, Turkey enjoys mild Mediterranean climate in the coastal areas with hot and dry summers and rainy winters in different days of year. The eastern mountainous areas have more extreme weather conditions.
When to Travel to Turkey
The best time to travel to Turkey is in spring (April-May) when the weather is moderate all around the country. Another best time to visit Turkey is in Autumn (September-November) with pleasant and not overbearing weather.
The Economy of Turkey
Turkey has one of the top economies in the world. The economy of the country highly relies on industrial and service sector with tourism sector as a fast growing industry in recent decades.
Turkey has been a major carpet maker and textile producer in the world for centuries.
It is now known as a main manufacturer of automobile, electronics, transportation equipment and home appliances in the world.
Other main industries in the country are food processing, steel, construction, coal, petroleum and etc. Based on statistics the GDP per capita of the country in 2018 was estimated as $28.44 with annual growth of 2.8% in 2018. About 13.5% percent of the population lives in poverty with 41.3% at risk of poverty. Unemployment rate in Turkey is estimated as 14.0% based on 2019 Statistics. Germany, United Kingdoms and UAE are major export partners of Turkey with China, Germany and Russia as major import partners.
The Language and Culture of Turkey
The official language of Turkey is Turkish, spoken by the 90 percent of the population. Other minor languages spoken in the country are Kurdish, Arabic, Circassian and romance spoken by the Jews and others.
Turkey boasts a rich and diverse tradition and culture, influenced by the Asian and European countries. Many of the traditions in the country stemmed from the Ottoman Empire system which enabled the people to retain their unique identities and religions within the empire.
However, the culture of Turkish people underwent profound changes by the fall of empire after the second World War.
As an act of cultural homogenization and creating a unique national cultural identity, the Turkish Republic forced different cultures to be blended with each other.
Followed by a series of reforms to make Turkey a more modern country, the result was a more greyish mixed westernized Islamic culture. In the northeast coast of the country, there is a combination of Georgian and Turkish culture, whereas the southeast reflect the mixed culture of Arabs and Kurds. Moreover, the western coast is typically influenced by European culture and tradition.
Turkish Festivals and Traditions
Turkey is home to some of the famous festivals and traditions in the world ranging from arts and music to sport and religious events.
Istanbul Music Festival
Turkey is home to some of the popular festivals and concerts from blue music to rock concert especially during summer. The Istanbul Music Festival is one of the greatest festivals which features classical music, opera and traditional Turkish music.
Kas Lycia Festival
The festival is held in Kas, located in the south of Turkey. It is a must see for everyone who visits the country in summer. The festival features international and folk dances as well as opera and art exhibition.
Open Door Architecture Festival
If you travel to Istanbul in May, the festival is a great chance for you to visit some of the most fabulous architectural and historical buildings which were closed prior to the festival. The visit includes the Ortakoy Mosque which is an example of Ottoman Empire.
Turkish people are known for their hospitality and being friendship. Therefore, when you go to a Turkish home or shop, it is a tradition to welcome you with a Turkish tea as a sign of welcome.
Oil wrestling Championship
One of the ancient traditional sports in Turkey is the oil wrestling which goes back to the Mesopotamia era. During the tradition which is held annually since 1362, two men wrestle with each other after being doused in oil.
It is one of the famous traditional events in Turkey which is derived from Islamic customs. Circumcision is a mark of transition from childhood into manhood when the boys wear flashy clothes and celebrate the party.
Nazar (the evil eye)
One of the most popular souvenirs of the country is the Nazar blue eyes which is meant to ward off the devil. Traditionally, this beautiful blue glass is sometimes pinned to a newborn baby clothes to protect him or her from bad luck.
Transportation in Turkey
Turkey enjoys a diverse transportation facilities ranging from rental cars, trains, buses, metros to more luxurious seaplanes. The choice of transportation mainly depends on how fast you want to travel through the country.
Top Tourist Attractions in Turkey
Turkey is the paradise for tourists packed with great ancient monuments, amazing landscapes, sun-soaked Mediterranean coastlines and vibrant culture. Every city you choose to visit , it has something new to offer you.
The Aya Sofya is a must see place for everyone who travels to Turkey. The construction of the mosque was commissioned by the Byzantine Empire as a church which later turned into a mosque and now into a museum. The dome of the mosque with its four high-rising minarets is now an iconic symbol in the old district of Istanbul.
Topkapi palace is a star attention for travelers with dazzling tiling and exuberant décor. It was built in 1459 during the Ottoman Empire.
It was named Topkapi meaning the cannon gate. After being collapsed by the 1509 earthquake, the palace was renovated and some features were added to it.
The palace comprises four main courtyards and smaller buildings with hundreds of rooms and chambers. It also includes a museum which shows the precious collection of Ottoman clothing, weapons, religious relics and manuscript.
It is a Greek orthodox monastery perched in steep cliffs of about 1200 meters in Altindere National Park.
The monastery was built in 366 AD and was ruined and restored several times. The site is famous for its cultural and religious importance as well as its aesthetic view facing the Altindrere valley.
It is one of the ancient theaters dating back to 155 AD, during the reign of Roman Empire. It was later used as a caravanserai in Seljuk periods and was preserved and repaired after that without losing its originality.
It is one of the longest and untouched beaches of Mediterranean Sea lying within the border of Turkey.
Along the 18 kilometers of the beach, there is no building except for sandy dunes, a small café and the nearby village of Patara as well as a theater. The beach is also home to the endangered loggerhead turtle.
Meaning cotton castle, the natural terraces of Pumkkuale is located in the west of Turkey.
The landscape is a series of terraces made from sedimentary rocks dissolved by water and minerals.
It has been served as a bathtub by people for thousands of years where the ruins of baths and Greek temples can still be seen.
Situated in the city of Bodrum in the southwest of Turkey, the castle dates back to the Medieval Era in the 15th century. It is one of the well-preserved monuments which is now turned into a museum of underwater Archeology.
Located in the southeastern Turkey, the Nemrut is a high mountainous area filled with huge statues scattered throughout the area. There was a sanctuary built at the site in 620 BC ordered by King Antiochus.
It is a small village in the south west coast of Aegean Sea. It is one of the most picturesque beaches along the blue lagoon with turquoise water and a famous spot for paraglider lovers.
Library of Celsus
The ruins of the site comprise a library which is among the famous tourist attractions located in the ancient city of Ephesus on the west coast of the country.
The library was built in 125 AD to serve as the library and a tomb for Celsus.
The Blue Mosque
One of the landmarks of Turkey is the Blue Mosque or Sultan Ahmed, dating back to the 1609. The mosque features high ceiling made with striking blue tiles for which the mosque is named after.
Goreme Fairy Chimneys
One of the amazing natural landscapes in Turkey is the weird wonderful rocky formation famed as fairy chimneys. The chimneys are formed as the result of water and wind erosion over thousands of years. They are mainly seen in Cappadocia and in the town of Goreme.
It is a famous picturesque town in Turkey with winding alleys, wooden mansions, boutique hotels and cute shops. It is a fantastic spot to stop over or stroll along the streets and admire the historic ambience.