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Turkey Overview Guide


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Offering up thousands of years of history, culture, beautiful beaches, snow capped mountains, turquoise lakes, vast plains, intriguing cities and much, much, more, it’s no wonder Turkey remains one of the most popular travel destinations in the world.

Turkey’s history is the product of layer upon layer of civilizations, including that of the Hittites, Trojans, Greeks, Romans, Byzantines, Seljuks and Ottomans, all of whom left a wealth of legends and archaeological treasures in their wake.  Two of the more well known of these treasures are the Temple of Artemis in Ephesus near Selcuk and the Mausoleum of Halicarnasuss in Bodrum, both of which make up the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.

In 1923, following the fall of the Ottoman Empire, Turkey became a constitutional republic under the leadership of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, who rooted the country firmly in the values of democracy and secularism.

Official name: The Republic of Turkey
Population: 75 Million
Religion: Islam (99%); Orthodox, Catholic or Protestant Christians and Jews (1%)
Official Language: Turkish
Capital: Ankara
Borders: Bulgaria, Greece, Georgia, Armenia, Iran, Iraq, Syria, Azerbaijan

Turkey covers an area of 783,562 km2  and is spread across two continents: Europe and Asia. While a significant majority- 97%- of Turkish territory lies in Asia in the Anatolian region, the remaining 3% of European territory is spread across the Thrace region and includes a large part of Istanbul. Istanbul is the only city in the world located on two continents, and the Sea of Marmara, the Bosphorus and the Dardanelles Straits form the boundary between Europe and Asia.

While the Black, Aegean and Mediterranean Seas form the coastal borders in Turkey, there are a number of land borders between neighbouring Greece, Bulgaria, Georgia, Armenia, Iran, Iraq, Syria and Azerbaijan.

Turkey has a variety of landscape and several mountains, the highest of which is Mount Ararat which stands at over 5,000 metres. Ararat, located in the far east of the country, is said to be the resting place of Noah’s Ark and excavations are ongoing in the hope of finding remains of this biblical ship.

Turkey is a member of NATO and is vying for membership of the European Union. While Ankara is the capital, Istanbul is the cultural and social centre of the country, with a much larger population.

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Istanbul Photos

  • Galata Tower

    Galata Tower

  • Ortaköy Mosque © Yildirim Incealemdaroglu

    Ortaköy Mosque © Yildirim Ince...

  • Golden Horn ©Helen Simpson

    Golden Horn ©Helen Simpson

  • Princes Islands ©Helen Simpson

    Princes Islands ©Helen Simpson

  • Grand Bazaar

    Grand Bazaar

  • Bosphorus ©Helen Simpson

    Bosphorus ©Helen Simpson

See all Istanbul photos »

Norman

"The World is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page" - Saint Augustine