TURKEY has been called "the cradle of civilization" and one can discover what this literally means only by traveling in this land of history. The world's first town, a neolithic city at Çatalhöyük, dates back to 6500 BC. Since the ancient times of Çatalhöyük to the present, Turkey boasts of a rich culture that through the centuries has left a lasting foot-print on modern civilization through the centuries.
Being the heir of many centuries of culture makes Turkey a paradise of knowledge and cultural heritage. Hattis, Hittites, Phrygians, Urartians, Lycians, Ionians, Persians, Macedonians, Romans, Byzantines, Seljuks and Ottomans have all occupied crucial places in the historical background of Turkey and ancient sites and ruins scattered throughout the country give proof to each civilization's unique distinction.
There is no doubt that one visit will not be enough, and you will want to come back again and again as you discover one extraordinary place after another. All of the places, no matter how different they are, have one thing in common that Turkey is a paradise of sun, sea, mountains and lakes that offer the vacationer a complete change from the stress and routine of everyday life. From April to October, most places in Turkey have an ideal climate that is perfect for relaxing on sandy beaches or enjoying the tranquility of mountains and lakes.
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 summer season is lasting 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.
The Turkish Riviera (also known popularly as the Turquoise Coast) is a term used to define an area of southwest Turkey encompassing the provinces of Antalya and Muğla, and to a lesser extent Aydın, southern İzmir and western Mersin. The combination of a favorable climate, warm sea, more than a thousand kilometers of shoreline along the Aegean and Mediterranean waters, and abundant natural and archeological points of interest makes this stretch of Turkey's coastline a popular national and international tourist destination.
Among the archeological points of interest are two of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World: The ruins of the Mausoleum of Maussollos in Halicarnassus; and the Temple of Artemis in Ephesus.
The Turkish Riviera is also the home for the internationally known Blue Voyage, which allows participants to enjoy a week-long trip on the locally built gulet type schooners to ancient cities, harbors, tombs, mausolea and intimate beaches in the numerous small coves, lush forests and streams that lace the Turquoise Coast.
The coastline is further regarded as a cultural trove that provides a fascinating mixture of factual and mythological individuals, conflicts and events, and has frequently been referred to in the folklore of various cultures throughout history. As such, it is regarded as the home of scholars, saints, warriors, kings, and heroes, as well as the site of numerous well-known myths. Mark Antony of the Roman Empire is said to have picked the Turkish Riviera as the most beautiful wedding gift for his beloved Cleopatra of Egypt. St. Nicholas (who later became the basis of the Santa Claus legend) was born in Patara, a small town close to present-day Demre. Herodotus, regarded as the father of History, was born in Bodrum (ancient Halicarnassus) in c. 484 BC. The volcanic mountains to the west of Antalya, near Dalyan, are believed to have been the inspiration for the mythical Chimera – the firebreathing monster that Bellerophon slew. [more at WikiPedia]
Erosion shaped the incredible landscape of the Göreme valley, but thousands of years ago humans took a cue from Mother Nature and began carving an incredible chamber and tunnel complex into the soft rock. Beginning in the fourth century A.D., an urbanized—but underground—cultural landscape was created here.
Ancient volcanic eruptions blanketed this region with thick ash, which solidified into a soft rock—called tuff—tens of meters thick. Wind and water went to work on this plateau, leaving only its harder elements behind to form a fairy tale landscape of cones, pillars, pinnacles, mushrooms, and chimneys, which stretch as far as 130 feet (40 meters) into the sky.
But human hands performed equally incredible works here. The rocky wonderland is honeycombed with a network of human-created caves; living quarters, places of worship, stables, and storehouses were all dug into the soft stone. In fact, tunnel complexes formed entire towns with as many as eight different stories hidden underground.
Göreme was inhabited as early as the Hittite era, circa 1800 to 1200 B.C. and later sat uncomfortably on the boundary between rival empires; first the Greeks and Persians and later the Byzantine Greeks and a host of rivals. This precarious political position meant that residents needed hiding places—and found them by tunneling into the rock itself.
The site became a religious refuge during the early days of Christianity. By the fourth century Christians fleeing Rome’s persecution had arrived in some numbers and established monastic communities here. The monks excavated extensive dwellings and monasteries and created Byzantine frescoed paintings in cave chapels beginning in the seventh century, which endure in well-preserved isolation to this day. [more at National Geographic]
The hometown of the major names of Turkish culture and literature Mevlana and Nasreddin Hodja, Konya is a magnificent city of great cultural and historical significance.
Known as one of the earliest settlements on Earth, and inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List, the Neolithic site of Çatalhöyük reveals also the beginning of the history of Konya.
One of the most important faith tourism centers in Anatolia, Konya invites you to discover its unique mystical nature!
The first capital of the Ottoman Empire with a history dating back to 4000BC at the heart of the silk and spice trade and Turkey's fourth largest and advanced city.
The city which has been the capital of many civilizations and religions for centuries is the hub of many monuments and historical works nowadays. The city’s skyline is comprised of historical landmarks varying from mosques to madrasas and from churches to baths.
Attracting attention for its natural beauty as well as its rich cultural heritage Bursa is also a much preferred holiday resort for winter sports. Uludağ in Bursa is frequented by both winter and outdoor sports enthusiasts.
Home to many Islamic, Christian and Jewish monuments Bursa has also been the site of numerous council meetings which are of great importance to Christians. Within the province of Bursa, Iznik is the most important of the eight Christian pilgrimage sites located in Turkey.
Well-known for its large shopping centers, bazaars and museums Bursa has a temperate climate. The region is cool in the summer and mild in the winter.
One of the most important contributions of Bursa to the history of Turkish culture is the Karagöz and Hacivat shadow theater. Shadow Theater has reached the land of Bursa in the 17th century and become an important corner stone of Turkish culture since then.
Republic of Turkey
Date of Foundation
October 29, 1923
İstanbul, Ankara, Izmir, Adana, Antalya, Bursa
Eastern Meridians 26° and 45° and Northern Parallels 36° and 42°
Mediterranean Sea in the south, Aegean Sea in the west and Black Sea in the North
The official language is Turkish.
Currency and Credit Cards
Turkish currency is the Turkish Lira, TL.
Banknotes: 5, 10, 20, 50, 100 & 200
Coins: 5, 10, 25 & 50 Kuruş and 1 TL
You can obtain currency before travelling to Turkey or on arrival. Exchange rates are set daily by the Central Bank. Foreign money can be changed at banks during normal business days (09.00-17.00 Monday-Friday) as well as at hotels, at the airport and in exchange offices. TL is freely sold and bought in hotels, banks and special exchange offices called "Döviz Bürosu".
Major credit cards including American Express, Diners, MasterCard, and Visa are accepted in large hotels, car rental companies, restaurants and shops. You will need cash (TL) to pay for taxi fares, restaurants and coffee shops. You can get cash with your credit card or cash card by using cash machines (ATM's) in bank buildings or street booths.
GMT+2. CET +1. and EST (US -East) +7
The workweek in Turkey runs from Monday to Friday. Banks, government offices and majority of corporate offices open at 9 AM and close at 6 PM.
There are two types of public holidays 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.
Passport and Visa
For 108 countries visas are easily obtained upon arrival to the airport and are required for citizens of most countries. However, passport and visa requirements may differ according to the country of origin. Please contact your travel agent or the Turkish Consulate or Embassy in your country for further advice.
For official visa procedure please visit the official webpage of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs / Visa web page. www.mfa.gov.tr
Turkey has 220 volts/50 Hz. electricity and socket type is European standard. (2-pin plug).
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
Taxis are easy to spot as they are all bright yellow in colour. All have a taxi meter, and you should ensure that this is switched on at the beginning of your journey. If you are travelling outside the city boundaries it is usual to agree a fixed rate in advance.
For general information on the climate and up-to-date weather forecasts visit www.meteoroloji.gov.tr
Telephones & Fax
Prepaid telephone cards are a convenient way to make domestic and international telephone calls from public phones. They can be purchased at convenience stores and from vending machines for approximately 10 Euro. There are four international phone companies and their rates vary. Your hotel probably provides fax service at the front desk. Some convenience stores have fax services too.
Convenience store can be found on almost every city block. A variety of foods, drinks (most sell alcoholic beverages and cigarettes), toiletries, magazines, instant cameras, stationery, recording media, etc. can be purchased in these 24 – hours open stores.
Tipping, Charges & Tax
In places where service is not included, it is custom to tip for the table services you received. And even in the handful of places where service is included (just as on mainland Europe) the waiters will expect you to tip on top of that. The rule of thumb is to leave a tip worth 10% of the bill in restaurants, cafés and bars. But restaurants, cafés and bars are not the only places where tips are expected. It is also a custom to tip hotel staff, porters, hairdressers and musicians. The amount is at your discretion, but the norm is 2 TL per person. Tipping taxi drivers is not custom, unless he helped you load the luggage. A consumption Tax is included in the price of goods and services in Turkey. The prices displayed on goods usually include tax, but some retailers will add the tax at the cash register.
Please note that smoking is prohibited by law within the convention premises as well as in restaurants and public buildings.
For more photos of Turkey, please visit www.goturkey.com/en/galleries/gallery/119