Turkey is a paradise of sun, sea, mountains, and lakes offering the
holiday maker a complete change from the anxieties and routine of
everyday life. From April to October, most parts of Turkey have an ideal
climate, providing perfect conditions in which a visitor can relax on
sandy beaches or enjoy the peace of mountains and lakes. Turkey has a
magnificent past and is a land full of historic treasures covering 13
successive civilizations. Even a person spending only a short time in
Turkey can see something of this great past. There is no doubt that one
visit will not be enough and you will want to return time after time as
you discover one extraordinary place after another. All of them, no
matter how different, have one thing in common, the friendly and
hospitable people of this unique country.
Turkey's lands mass is 814.578 sq km. The European and Asian sides
are divided by Istanbul Bogazi (Bosphorus), the Sea of Marmara and the
Canakkele Bogazi (Dardanelle). Anatolia is a high plateau region rising
progressively towards the east, broken by the valleys of about 15
rivers, including the Dicle (Tigris) and the Firat (Euphrates. There are
numerous lakes and some, such as Lake Van, are as large as inland seas.
In the north, the Eastern Black sea Mountain chain runs parallel to the
Black sea; in the south, the Taurus Mountains sweep down almost to the
narrow, fertile coastal plain along the coast. Turkey enjoys a variety
of climates, changing from the temperate climate of the Black Sea
region, to the continental climate of the interior, then to the
Mediterranean climate of the Aegean and Mediterranean coastal regions.
The coastline of Turkey's four seas is more than 8.333 km. along.
Turkey has been called "the cradle of civilization” By
traveling through this historic land, tourists will discover exactly
what is meant by this phrase. The world's first town, a Neolithic city
at Catalhoyuk, dating back to 6.500 B.C, is in Turkey From the days of
Catalhoyuk up to the present. Turkey boasts a rich culture that through
the centuries has made a lasting impression on modern civilization. The
heir to many centuries of cultures makes Turkey a paradise of historical
and cultural wealth. Hattis. Phrygians, Urartians, Lycians, Lydians,
Ionians, Persians, Macedonians, Romans, Byzantines, Seljuks and Ottomans
have all made important contributions to Turkish history and ancient
sites and ruins scattered throughout the country give proof of 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 founded the
Republic of Turkey on October 29, 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
this success, living by its adopted motto of "Peace in the
According to a 1995 census, Turkey has 65 million inhabitants, 41 % of
whom live in the countryside. The major cities are: Istanbul, Ankara,
Izmir, Adana Antalya and Bursa.
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 around the world are able to
enjoy the history, culture and beautiful sites of Turkey. From swimming
in the Mediterranean to skiing in Uludag, Turkey has something to offer
Agriculture: This plays a very important role in the Turkish economy.
The main crops are wheat, rice cotton, tea, tobacco, hazelnuts and
fruit. Sheep is Turkey's most important livestock, and Turkey is one of
the major cotton and wool producers.
Southeast Anatolia Projeject (GAP): GAP is a multi-purpose, integrated
development project comprising of dams, hydroelectric power plants and
irrigation facilities currently being on the Firat (Euphrates) and Dicle
(Tigris) rivers. It will affect agriculture, transportation, education,
tourism, health and other sectors. ATATURK DAM, included in the project,
is among the first 10 dams in the world.
Natural resources: The principal minerals extracted are coal, chrome (an
important export), iron copper, bauxite, marble and sulphur.
Industry: Industry is developing rapidly and is directed mainly towards
the processing of agricultural products, metallurgy, textiles and the
manufacture of automobiles and agricultural machinery.
TURKEY, THE COUNTRY OF CULTURAL RICHNESS
With its climate of four seasons, its flora comprising thousands of
species, with its fertile lands, Turkey is one of the most ancient lands
if inhabitance. In the Karain cave near Antalya, archaeological
excavations have revealed works dating back to the Paleolithic ages,
which is assumed to have started two million years ago, and to have
ended ten thousand years back from today. In the Yarimburgaz cave in the
lower Euphrates region too, excavations have revealed imprints
concerning the Paleolithic Age. The Mezzolithic Age, which is
distinguished by its colored paintings on the walls of caves, has
presented itself during excavations at Tekeky, Belbasi and Beldibi. The
most significant centre of inhabitance in the ancient Middle East and
the Aegean dating back to the Neolithic Age, has been discovered at
Catalhyuk, 52 km south - east from Konya.
Excavations here have brought to light houses, household utensils,
statues and wall paintings dating back to 6800 - 5700 B.C. Another
Neolithic Age centre of settlement in Anatolia is Hacilar, 25 km south -
west of Burdur. In Hacilar, apart from remains of the Neolithic Age,
some copper and stone objects and painted clay objects from the early
Calcolithic Age have also been encountered. Excavations at Beycesultan
at Denizli, Alisar at Yozgat, Alacahyuk at Corum have revealed works of
the Late Calcolithic Age. Tilkitepe at Van has been known for its works
of the Middle Calcolithic Age. Excavations at Canhasari near Karaman
have revealed works of all three eras of the Calcolithic Age.
Anatolia stepped into the Early Bronze Age during the late 4 th century
and the early 3rd century B.C Works produced during this period when all
kinds of metals were used, which were discovered in Alacahyuk, Eskiyapar,
Arslantepe, Kultepe, Mahmatlar, Kayapinar, Horoztepe, Dundartepe, Alisar,
Beycesultan, Ikiztepe, Ahlatlibel an Karaoglan are exhibited in our
museums. As of 1950 B.C., Anatolia entered the period of written
history. A rich cultural and commercial exchange between the Assyrians
and the Late Hatties in Anatolia took place during the period of the
Assyrian Trade Colonies. Close to twenty trade centres (Karums) were
established. The Kanis karum at Kultepe was the most important centre.
Many remains left over from this period have been found at Kultepe,
Acemhyuk, Alisar and Bogazky excavations.
In 1750 B.C., the Hittites established the first state in Anatolia run
by central authority. The capital of this state, known as the Ancient
Hittite Kingdom, was Hattushash - Bogazky. The Ancient Hittite Kingdom
lost its strength over the years, but during the second half of the 2nd
millennium B.C., regained strength and founded the Hittite Empire. The
Hittite Empire fell during the 1200's B.C. due to immigration from the
Aegeon. Of the Hitites who fled from the attacks, a portion continued
their existence as a state in the Tauruses, up to 700 B.C. Hittite
remains have been found in excavations carried out at Bogazky, Alacahyuk,
Eskiyapar, Inandik, Masathyuk, Kargamis, Zincirli, Arslantepe, Karatepe,
Sakçagzu and other regions under the Hittite influence. The Phryges,
who conquered the Hittites, occupied part of Anatolia during 1200-700
B.C. Their centre of authority was in Gordion, near Ankara. They lived
their golden age during the second half of the 8th century B.C. At the
beginning of the 7th century B.C. they lost strength due to the Kimmer
attacks. They first came under Lydian occupation and then were wiped out
from history during the 550's B.C. by the Persians. The most important
remains from the Phrygians have been found in Gordion. The Phrygians
were in existence between the years 750-300 B.C.
The Urartus who formed a state surrounding Lake Van with their capital
Tushba (Van) in the early 1 st millennium B.C. contributed greatly to
our cultural inheritance. The Urartus lived their golden age during the
9th - 8th centuries B.C., They were especially experienced in ivory
works. Urartian works discovered at Altintepe, Toprakkale, C'avustepe,
Adilcevaz, Patnos, Kayalidere and other Urartian towns exhibited in our
museums. The Urartu state expired in the 600's B.C. and the Persians
took over Anatolia. Persian occupation continued during 545-333 B.C.
Together with the Dor migration in the late 2nd millennium B.C., the
first Hellenic colonies were established in western Anatolia. Starting
from 1050 B.C., Ionic civilization gained dominance in western Anatolia.
The Karia, Lykia and Lydia civilizations lived their golden age during
the 7th – 6th centuries B.C. The Lydians, who established a state in
the Aegean region towards 700 B.C. with Sardes as their capital,
produced the first gold and silver coins in history. The Lydians were
overthrown by the Persians in 546 B.C. However, the Lydian civilization
continued to be effective until 300 B.C. During the Persian occupation
of western Anatolia, a Greco - Persian style emerged through the merge
of the Greek and Persian cultures.
With the invasion of Anatolia by Alexander the Great, the Hellenistic
period (330-30 B.C.) started in Anatolia.
During this period, the towns in the Aegean region enjoyed many
architectural masterpieces the art of sculpture developed. Starting from
30 B.C, there came the Roman civilization and there occurred a great
development in culture. After the Roman Empire split into two in the
year 395, the Byzantine period and cultural imprints of this era spread
through Anatolia. In parallel to the spreading of Christianity we see
great development in religious buildings and works of art. The Byzantine
period came to an end with the conquest of Istanbul in 1453 by the
The Turks started to settle in Anatolia during the
period of the Great Seljuk Empire in the early 11th century.
The Malazgirt victory in 1071 against the Byzantines opened the doors
for the Turks into Anatolia. During the era of the Turkish Seljuk’s
(1075-1318), who were a continuation of the Great Seljuk Empire,
existing towns were restored, and new ones were built. Priority was
given to religious buildings required by the Moslem religion,
educational facilities, and hospitals. When the Turkish Seljuk's State
collapsed upon losing strength due to Mongolian attacks, the Era of
Turkish States (1318- 1453) began. During this period, the Seljuk school
of art continued and many important pieces of work were completed. A
great development was achieved in glazed tiles and ceramics. The
Ottomans, who established first a state in 1299, and later an empire,
attained unity throughout Anatolia during the reign of Sultan Mehmet the
Conqueror. During the period of prosperity starting with Sultan Mehmet
the Conqueror, the empire extended from Central Europe into Iran, from
Crymeria to the South African coasts. The Ottoman Empire, while
extending its own culture to these new lands, at the same time adopted
features of those cultures into its own, thus leading to a rich mosaic
of culture. As a result of the nationalistic wave, which dominated
Europe after the French Revolution, all nations started to take
precautions to preserve its own culture and to achieve independence upon
its own lands. As nations under the realm of the Ottoman Empire began to
win their freedom one by one, it is observed that a certain importance
was attributed to Turkish culture.
During World War I (1914-1918), the Ottoman Empire, together with its
allies, was defeated. Its lands fell under invasion. After the War of
Independence led by Great Ataturk, the Turkish Republic was established
on 29 October 1923. The Turkish Republic had inherited a rich cultural
background from the Ottoman Empire. Ataturk commenced important studies
in revealing, preserving and publicizing this inheritance. The Turkish
Language and History Institutions were established. The Faculty of
Letters, History and Geography were opened to education. Great
importance was given to the establishment and development of museums.
The Topkapi Palace and Ayasofia were turned into museums. Archaeological
excavations were encouraged and many findings were put into museums. As
of 1994, the number of archaeological ruin sites has risen to 525, the
number of public museums to 184, private museums to 80, and the number
of items exhibited in museums are 2.456 691.
Turkey, as the birthplace of many civilizations and its cultural
diversity, has an important place among the countries of rich cultures
in the world. Great steps have been taken in tourism by combining its
natural beauty with its cultural richness. Ancient works of art receive
utmost importance besides Turkish ones. Today, although many of the
Turkish works of art in the Balkans and Central Europe have been
destroyed, all works of art in Turkey, regardless of their artistic
value are under preservation.
Turkey contains thousands of works of art considered masterpieces. Among
the 7 Wonders of the World, the Ephesus Artemis Temple and the
Halicarnassos are situated in Turkey. Bodrum Mausoleum used to be in
Turkey. Among other invaluable works of art, many of the pieces
concerning these two masterpieces are now exhibited in important museums
in the world. If one were to assemble the most valuable of glazed tiles
and porcelain in Turkey, one would end up with volumes of material.
Seaside residences, mansions, mosques, religious schools, fountains,
wooden pulpits, clothing would never be able to fit into books.