If you’ve never been to Turkey before you will find it an incredible place to explore and enjoy.
Turkey is where the three continents of the old world – Asia, Africa and Europe – are closest to each other. Only three percent of the country is in the European part and the rest is in the Anatolian Peninsula. The total land area is about 780 000 sq. kms which, in European terms, makes it a very large country – as large as Germany, Switzerland and Italy combined. It has a population of 70 million and about 99 % of the Turkish population is Muslim, although as a whole it is a progressive and loosely practiced version of the religion. Turkey is first and foremost a secular state and a democratic republic.
Straddling two continents, Europe and Asia, and bordering the Middle East, Turkey has an unrivalled history stretching back thousands of years. From the ancient Hittites to the Ottomans, dozens of civilizations have made Turkey their home, leaving behind them a dazzling historical and archaeological heritage.
But despite its ancient roots, Turkey is a rapidly developing modern state. Born from the ashes of the Ottoman Empire in 1923, the country was transformed by its far-sighted and ambitious first leader Kemal Ataturk. Since his death, the republic has maintained its Western orientation and European aspirations, despite the often-strong counter-current of traditionalism and Islam.
The greatest surprise for first-time visitors to Turkey is the sheer diversity found between its Aegean beaches and eastern mountains. In İstanbul, you can cruise on the Bosphorus as well as through markets and nightclubs – in a Westernised metropolis offering equal parts romance and overcrowded insanity. In Cappadocia and the southwestern coasts, you can sample trekking, horse-riding and water sports with meze-savouring on a panoramic terrace. Then there are the less-frequented eastern quarters, where ancient relics pepper the mountain ranges.
Ask visitors what they find most enjoyable about a holiday in Turley and invariably they will mention the great weather, the warm and friendly people with their traditional values, and the culinary delights. For the sociable and family-orientated Turks, getting together and eating well is a time-honoured ritual. So you will almost certainly find yourself getting stuck into olive oil–drizzled Aegean vegetables, spicy Anatolian kebabs and dishes from Turkey’s many other corners – as you drink a tulip-shaped glass of çay and contemplate some baklava for dessert.
We could write thousands of words on the joys of a Turkish holiday but as pictures paint a more dramatic portrait tham mere words, check out this cool video commissioned by the travel authorities and posted on the Matador network of the things you could see and do in a week in Turkey…