Situated in the inner part of the Aegean Region, is Denizli, a tourist attraction city with its numerous beauty.
Dating back to the Calcholithic age, this was the site of a settlement of the earliest communities, and changed hands continuously, becoming the center of various civilizations in different time periods.
The ancient city of Laodikeia is here, with its ruins awaiting for the sightseers in addition to Triopolis which was known as the center of bishops, while Christianity spread. Laodikeia was one of the Seven Churches mentioned in the book of Revelations. The city is still the subject of excavations.
Hierapolis is another ancient city, being a historical treasure, while it also offers a real wonder of nature. Named as "Pamukkale" (meaning Cotton Castle in Turkish) this place is astonishingly beautiful, and unique in the world with its white travertine offering marvelous scenery.
The wide forests and numerous picnicking and camping areas here contribute to this natural and archaeological richness, while its position as a stopover between the major provinces like Izmir, Ankara and Antalya, increases the tourist attraction of Denizli. The thermal resorts also attract visitors to the provinces with their spring waters of therapeutic effects; Gemezli, Cezmeli, Tekke and Kizildere are the main spa resorts, besides the thermal centers of Pamukkale and Karahayit.
"Denizli Rooster", the symbol of Denizli is a domestic species which is well known all over Turkey with its color and body building, harmonious long and beautiful crowing. According to some rumors, Berat roosters having long crowing were brought to Istanbul during Ottoman Empire from Albania and then brought to Denizli and crossbred with domestic local chicken and thus Denizli Rooster species were originated. Probabily this is not true because there are no similarities between the two species when compared in terms of color and body structure. Denizli rooster was probabily originated upon great care shown by the local people to long crowing rooster for centuries.
Denizli rooster's eyes are black and blackened with kohl. Its legs are dark grey or purple, its comb is in big axe comb, and atrium is red or white spots on red background; general color is black and dirty white together. Sometimes wing features have brown colors as well. Red roosters have black-white mixture. Their live weight is about 3-3.5 kgs (7 pounds). They are divided into 3 groups according to their colors, body building and comb types. According to their colors they are classified into 6 groups as: Demirkir (iron), Pamukkir (cotton), Kinali (henna), Al (red), Siyah (black) and Kurklu (with fur). According to their body shape they are divided into 3 types: Yuksek Boyun (high neck), Sulun (fasan) and Kupeli (with earings). According to their combs, they are divided into 2 types: Genis Ibik (big comb) and Dar Ibik (small comb).
The sound of Denizli roosters are classified according to the tone and clearness. According to sound tones they are divided into 3 groups: Ince (low), Davudi (bass), Kalin (high). Davudi voice is between high pitched and deep voice and is the only sound close to deep voice. According to clearness, they are divided into 4 groups: sad voice, shrill voice, wavy voice (funny voice).
Crowing of Denizli roosters is performed upon use of all abilities. Crowing is divided into 4 groups depending on body position during crowing, which are Lion crowing, Wolf crowing, Hero crowing, Pus crowing.
A good Denizli Rooster must have: alive appearance; long and strong legs and neck; wide and deep chest; sharp and sloped toward head tail. The same features are true for the chicken. The crowing period of Denizli Roosters in the first year must be 20 to 25 seconds.
Breeding roosters are selected under the control of Directorate of Province Agricultural Affairs and the rest are sold according to the demands made from various parts of the country between March - April, and sales of chicks are made between March - June.
As you approach the site of Pamukkale / Hierapolis from Denizli, (only 20 km) a long white smudge along the hills to the north suggests a landslide or open cast mine. Getting closer, this resolves into the edge of a plateau, more than 100m higher than the level of the river valley and absolutely smothered in white travertine terraces.
Pamukkale is one of the most extraordinary natural wonders in Turkey. Dozens of coaches daily make the long excursion, three hours drive from Bodrum, Marmaris or Kusadasi. Stay over-night if you can to enjoy its tranquillity early in the morning or in the evening. The big attraction is a vast white cliff side with scallop-shaped basins of water and frozen waterfalls. It looks as if it's made out of snow or cloud or balls of cotton.
The scientific explanation is that hot thermal springs pouring down the hillside deposit calcium carbonate, which solidifies as travertine. If you take off your shoes, you can gingerly roam the terraces or paddle in the pools. The Turks have dubbed this geological fairyland Pamukkale, or "cotton castle".The entire territory of Pamukkale is at the center of particular attention on the part of the competent authorities who intend to safeguard the integrity and respect of this truly unique territory. Here, in a landscape fascinating in its own right, the action of various mineral springs which contain calcium oxides has left fantastic concretions on the travertine structures. The resulting effect is spectacular: these mineral-rich waters have dripped down over a series of terraced levels designing bizarre solidified cascades, dazzling in their radiance and changing their color according to how the sunlight strikes them.
From a distance this whitish mass stands in evident contrast with the color of the surrounding uplands and brings to mind enormous stretches of cotton. On approaching this incredible succession of terraces, one discovers the existence of basins full of mineral water which flow into other natural basins below, and are the source of stupendous mineral conglomerations in the form of fantastic stalactites, sometimes of considerable size gild resembling organ pipes.
The continuous dynamics of erosion and transformation of the natural landscape has resulted in an ambiance unequaled elsewhere and which constitutes one of the most unique phenomena to be found in nature.
Hotels and Pansiyons are plentiful here but the size of the place makes it a little tricky to get around without your own transport. It's useful to know that you can find services here that aren't available in the wilds of the interior but with any luck you won't need them.
It does have a decent archaeological and ethnographical museum with Byzantine, Hittite, Roman and Ottoman artifacts and a couple of interesting mosques that are worth a visit if you are here for the day.
On March 29th, 2006, Total Solar Eclipse was seen in Nevsehir as well at 14:02pm local time.
Göreme has, to some extent, become the focus of the Cappadocian tourist industry. It's proximity to the Open Air Museum, Zelve and other bits and pieces of fairy chimney charm, coupled with it's downright cheapness has been drawing people from all over the world for the last 20 years or so.
Basic accommodation and supplies are here in volume as a result of the rapid response to the areas tourist potential and Göreme is a favorite amongst budget travelers, many of whom stay a while, sometimes finding work in the tourist industry themselves.
Central location and cheapness apart you may not feel there's much to distinguish Göreme from it's neighbors. It is, perhaps, less organized and a little bit more laid back than Ürgüp or Avanos and it's probably livelier than either in the season. If you're looking for somewhere to hang out for a while, meet people and maybe blend in a little then Göreme is probably the place for you.
The open air museum is about 2 km from the town of Göreme itself and you can comfortably walk it. Walking in Cappadocia is usually fun anyway. As you approach you'll pass the bus park on your right, complete with its row of souvenir shops, and on your left the buckle church (Tokali kilise), one of the finest examples of frescoes in the area. Entrance is included when you buy your ticket at the main gate so you'll probably end up visiting it on the way out of the museum. Try not to forget it.
It is impossible to give details of all the churches and rooms in the valley here as you could easily spend half a day wondering about and looking at them all. Basically what you'll find is the remains of a monastic community who made their home in this valley. Most people are struck by the frescoes and the quality of these varies from excellent to very tatty. Keep an eye open for the strange symbolic decorations in some of the smaller churches and chapels. Bear in mind when buying your ticket that the Karanlik church (recently restored and with the freshest frescoes) is not included in the price and will cost you extra.
The frescoes that many tourists come to see can be divided up into Pre and Post-Iconoclastic. The earlier works rely entirely on symbolism to communicate their messages and may look childish and simple in comparison to later works. Their form is a result of the early church's disapproval of the portrayal of the human form in religious art. The works which postdate the resolution of the Iconoclastic controversy (mid 9th Century - see Ecumenical Councils) are much more figurative. It is interesting to compare them and realize that both styles are telling the same stories of Christ and the Saints.
Avanos is a possible base for exploring Cappadocia with accommodation and services available at reasonable rates. The town has retained some of its charm and is a pleasant place to spend half a day or to stop for lunch. The town has a tourist targeted Hammam (Turkish bath) which is popular with tour groups and is also close to the Selcuk built Yellow Caravanserai, a restored Han (travelers 'service station'), and the Özkonak Underground city, a smaller version of those at Derinkuyu and Kaymakli.
Today Avanos is also famous for its carpets and textile.
If you're not looking for a party Uçhisar makes an excellent base from which to explore the unique Cappadocian landscape. It's a sleepy little town, less dominated by the tourist trade than Göreme or Avanos and with an atmosphere that can fool you into thinking you're in Turkey in the late 70's rather than the late 90's.
There are some pleasant mid-range and cheap hotels and pensions here and food is acceptable at several establishments. Uçhisar's Kale or fortress is visible for miles around and has become the town's major tourist attraction, offering, as it does, fine views over the surrounding countryside.
Uçhisar is also a good place to begin a walking tour from because it's down hill in every direction and because you can take in Pigeon Valley, named for it's myriad nesting holes carved to encourage said birds.
Ortahisar, meaning middle fortress in Turkish, is 6 km from Ürgüp and about 10 km from Nevsehir city center. The village is at 1200 meters above sea level with about 4,000 inhabitants, and its name is coming from a massive 90 meter high rock, similar to Uçhisar. This rock was used for many centuries since the Hittite period as a castle to protect local inhabitants from invaders and to scout the region. There are many rooms and tunnels inside, and the top is accessible by a staircase. Once you get on top, there is a breathtaking view of Cappadocia and the Erciyes mountain at the background. Carved tuff rooms around the village are used as a natural cool depot to store citrus, apple, potatoes etc. The village is surrounded by vineyards as well.
Besides this castle-rock, there are several churches in and around Ortahisar from early Christians; Sarica church, Kepez church, Pancarlik church, Tavsanli church, Cambazli church, Balkan stream church, Hallac dere hospital and monastic complex, and Uzumlu church in Kuzulcukur area. These are all Turkish names given by the local people, not their original names.
There is a private Ethnography museum in Ortahisar, recently opened in 2004 and showing examples from the daily village life, agriculture, kitchen, carpet weaving, Hammam, Henna night and marriage. It also has a cafeteria and a restaurant to relax and enjoy the local food.
The unfortunately named Ürgüp is probably the busiest of the small towns in the vicinity of the Cappadocian sites. It's possibly the tastiest as well, recent development has mushroomed leaving a grim legacy of poorly designed and serviced buildings. The road down into the town however does take you past some pleasant rock carved dwellings, accommodation and restaurants. It's worth wondering around the old town for a taste of what the place must have been like before we all arrived.
This said it does offer services, such as banking, which are a little scarce elsewhere. It has a scattering of hotels and pensions of varying degrees of sophistication and a couple of good places to eat. The town has also a certain night life with small bars and discos.
A strong contender for favorite place status, the Zelve monastery complex is situated about 10 km out from Göreme on the Avanos road. Lacking the elaborate frescoes of Göreme and other sites there's still plenty here to see. The series of valleys can provide you with a couple of hours walking, climbing and crawling about and in addition to the marked highlights (the Fish and Grape churches) there are innumerable rooms and passages to look at.
Zelve was inhabited until quite recently but you can almost see the place crumbling before your very eyes. There's probably an element of risk involved in exploring too enthusiastically but a guide should be able to balance the thrill of stumbling through pitch black tunnels by torchlight with an element of safety.
It's probably a good idea to make the most of the place while there's still something to see. There seems little chance of a restoration scheme along the lines of that in place at Göreme and even if tourists were to stop visiting today natural erosion processes do their damage every winter.
The Ihlara valley is very nice. Removed a little from the rest of the Cappadocian sites it can be a little tricky to get to but it's worth a full day if you can spare one. The gorge is 16 km long and both sides are lined with rock carved churches, about 100 in all. You can look at the more important of these in a couple of hours but it's very pleasant to spend an afternoon following the river down the valley and exploring on your own.
The climb down to and especially up from the gorge can be demanding and probably shouldn't be attempted if you're feeling frail. To make the most of your time here a full day and a picnic is a good idea and will repay the effort in terms of a relaxed days pottering about admiring the churches and the valley's beautiful scenery.
The underground cities of Cappadocia are worthy of a visit. Let's take Derinkuyu for example. The one time home of up to 20,000 people, it's 8 levels descend into the Anatolian plateau 50 km south of Göreme. Stop and think about that for a while. A large, market town sized community digging a settlement out to guarantee themselves a degree of protection.
There are 8 floors of tunnels but 4 of them are open to the visitors and this is enough to give you an idea of the sensation of living in a labyrinth like this. The ventilation shafts, circular and descending from the surface to the lower levels, bring home the scale of the enterprise while the massive circular doors - which were rolled across the passages and sealed from the inside - remind you of the motivation for moving underground in the first place.
Derinkuyu is by no means the only such city you can visit here. There are actually 40 or so subterranean settlements in the area although only a few are open to the public. Kaymakli, 10 kilometers to the north of Derinkuyu, is smaller and less excavated but 4 levels are accessible and the experience is pretty much the same. Not For The Claustrophobic.
The earliest settlers in Mardin were Syriac Orthodox Christians, arriving in the 3rd century AD. In fact, most Syriac Orthodox churches and monasteries in the city, which are still active today, date from the 5th century AD, such as the Deyrülzafaran Monastery. Another important church, Kırklar Kilisesi (Church of the 40 Martyrs)originally built in the name of Benham and Saro, the two sons of the Assyrian ruler who executed them because they chose to become Christian, dates from 569 AD. Mardin remained a heavily Christian area during its control by Muslim Arabs between the seventh and twelfth centuries, and even during its use as a capital by the Artukid Turkish dynasty which ruled Eastern Anatolia and Northern Mesopotamia between the twelfth and fourteenth centuries. The 12th century Sitti Radviyye Madrasa, the oldest of its kind in Anatolia, dates from this period. The lands of the Artukid dynasty fell to the Mongols who took control of the region in 1394, but the Mongols never directly governed the area. Mardin was later controlled by the Turkish Akkoyunlu kingdom. The Kasımiye Madrasa was built by Sultan Kasım, son of the Akkoyunlu Sultan Cihangir, between 1457 and 1502.
About Antalya 'Lara, Karpuzkaldiran, Mermerli' Beaches near the Park, and 'Adalar , Konyaalti' Beaches in the east are some that can provide good-bathing for the vacationers. After 'Konyaalti Beach' towards the west. 'Arapsuyu Beach , is another one which was turned to be mocamps by the Antalya Tourism and information Society.
Not far from town, you can swim in absolutely clear, tideless, warm seas. Underwater divers, especially, will want to explore the numerous reefs, caves and majestic rock formations. The waters offer up multicolored sponges of all shapes and sizes, octopi and an immense variety of other aquatic life.
Not far from town, you can swim in absolutely clear, tideless, warm seas. Underwater divers, especially, will want to explore the numerous reefs, caves and majestic rock formations. The waters offer up multicolored sponges of all shapes and sizes, octopi and an immense variety of other aquatic life. The reputation of Bodrum's boatyards dates back to ancient times, and today, craftsmen still build the traditional yachts: the Tirhandil with a pointed bow and stern, and the Gullets with a broad beam and rounded stern. The latter, especially, are used on excursions and pleasure trips, and in the annual October Cup Race.
Bodrum has gained the reputation as the center of the Turkish art community with its lively, friendly and Bohemian atmosphere and many small galleries. This community has encouraged an informal day-time life style and a night-time of excitement. The evenings in Bodrum are for sitting idly in one of the many restaurants, dining on fresh seafood and other Aegean specialties. Afterwards night clubs (some with cabaret) and superb discos keep you going until dawn.
Bodrum, known in the ancient times as Halicarnassus which was the capital of Caria, was the birthplace of Herodotus and the site of King Mausolous' Tomb (4th century B.C.), one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. In the harbor, the Bodrum Castle, or the medieval castle of St. Peter, is a fine example of 15th century crusader architecture, and has been converted into the Museum of Underwater Archeology, with remains dating as far back as the Bronze Age. The stunning panoramic view from Goktepe, nearby, is much photographed by visitors to the Museums' 2nd century theater.
The beautiful Bodrum Peninsula suits holidaymakers interested in a subdued and relaxing atmosphere. Enchanting villages, with guest-houses and small hotels on quiet bays, dot the peninsula. On the southern coast, Bardakci, Gümbet, Bitez, Ortakent, Karaincir, Bagla and Akyarlar have fine, sandy beaches. Campers and wind-surfers enjoy Gümbet, and at Bitez colorful sail boards weave skillfully among the masts of yachts in the bay. On shore you can enjoy quiet walks through the orange and tangerine groves bordering the beach. Ortakent has one of the longest stretches of sandy beach in the area and offers an ideal place for relaxing in solitude. One of the most beautiful beaches on the Bodrum peninsula, Karaincir, is ideal for lively active days by the sea and relaxed, leisurely evenings with local villagers. Finally, Akyarlar enjoys a well-deserved reputation for the fine, powdery sand of its beach, it's also considered as one of the best beaches in the world. Turgutreis, Gumusluk and Yalikavak, all with excellent beaches, lie on the western side of the peninsula and are ideal for swimming, sunbathing and water sports.
In Turgutreis, the birthplace of a great Turkish Ottoman admiral of the same name, you will find a monument honoring him. In the ancient port of Myndos, Gümüslük, you can easily make many friends with the hospitable and out-going local population. In Yalikavak white-washed houses with cascading Bougainville line narrow streets. Small cafes and the occasional windmill create a picturesque setting.
See the north coast of the peninsula - Torba, Türkbükü, Gölköy and Gündogan - by road or, even better, hire a boat and crew to explore the quiet coves, citrus groves and wooded islands. Little windmills which still provide the energy to grind grain crown hills covered with olive trees. Torba, a modern village with holiday villas and a nice marina is located 8 km north of Bodrum. Gölköy and Türkbükü are small and simple fishing villages with a handful of taverns overlooking a lovely bay. After a boat trip to Karaada, half an hour from Bodrum, you can bathe in the grotto where the warm mineral waters flowing out of the rocks are believed to beautify the complexion.
The translucent and deep waters of the Gulf of Gökova, on the southern shore of the Bodrum peninsula vary from the darkest blue to the palest turquoise, and the coastline is thickly wooded with every hue of green. In the evening, the sea reflects the mountains silhouetted against the setting sun, and at night it shimmers with phosphorescence. You can take a yacht tour or hire a boat from Bodrum for a two, three or seven day tour of the gulf.
Also Milas town and Labranda, some 65 kms from Bodrum, are places of interest for archaeology lovers.
One of the world's finest museums of underwater archeology housed in a superb 15th century castle built by the Knights of St. John of Rhodes. The world's oldest known shipwreck exhibition is now open. This star attraction rates a 'must see' on everyone's list.
Seating about 13.000 spectators the theater dates to the region of Mausolus but with modifications added by the Romans. With rock tombs above, the site provides an unequalled view of the city.
This western city gate built by Mausolus in 364 B.C. has been recently restored. Composed of four towers it stood against Alexander the Great and his Macedonian troops. Surviving portions of the city wall are under restoration.
Built about 1794 to protect an Ottoman naval shipyard from pirate raids the tower has undergone recent restoration during which remains of Roman baths were found.
The last home of Turkey’s deceased favorite singer is now a museum. Worshipped much like Elvis Presley, Zeki Müren was a giant of the Turkish music scene.
The continuous excavations on the Bayrakli ridges by Prof. Dr. Ekrem Akurgal since 1959, the discovery of the Zeus Altar by the German archaeologist Carl Humman in Pergamon (Bergama) between 1866 and 1878, the discovery of the Artemis Temple in 1869 by the British Wood and the continuous excavations by Austrian archaeologists at certain intervals of the city of ancient Ephesus since 1904. Also many researchers in different universities are still investigating on the city’s historical development.
The Aiolos and the Ions who Fled from the Doric invasion around 1000 B.C., came from Greece and settled in Izmir and its surroundings. The important Aeol and Ionian settlements are as follows: Bergama (Pergamon), Manisa (Magnesia), Izmir (Smyrna), Urla (Klazomenai, near Cesme), Kemalpasa (Nimphaion), Cesme-Ildiri (Erythrai), Sigacik (Teos), Phokaia, Selcuk (Ephesus).
The city, which was tied to the Pergamon Empire in 197 B.C., passed into the control of the Roman Empire after a short period between 27 B.C. and 324 A.D. Roman control transformed Izmir into an important trade and harbor city. For the west, Izmir was seen as the center of Asia. In this period the Agora, Acropolis, Theater, Stadium, and constructions that did not remain up to now, like the libraries and the fountains, were built during this period.
Even though Izmir came into the possession of the Hun Emperor Attila, this authority did not last long and the city re-taken the Byzantines.Kutalmisoglu Suleyman Shah in 1076 was the first conqueror of Izmir by the Seljuk Turks. In the period that the famous sea admiral Çaka Bey was appointed as the mayor of Izmir; Urla, Foça and the Islands of Sakiz (Chios), Samos and Istanköy (Cos) were conquered. After Çaka Bey’s death the city and its surroundings passed into the possession of the Byzantines in 1098. Then Izmir was taken by the knights at the time that Istanbul was invaded by the Crusaders. In 1320 the Turkish sailor Umur Bey returned Izmir from the Catholic knights and added it to the Turkish land.
In the period of the principalities, Izmir and its nearby surrounding were under the reign of the Saruhanogullari principality. Pergamon (Bergama) and its surroundings were tied to Karesiogullari principality. The reign of Izmir and its surroundings passed into the Ottoman hands completely in 1426.
The following Turkish architectural constructions are distinguished examples of the Turkish culture built during the Ottoman period, they have adorned Izmir for centuries: The Hisar Mosque, The Sadirvan Mosque, the Hatuniye Mosque, the Konak Yali Mosque, the Kemeralti Mosque, the Kestane Bazaar Mosque, the Izmir Clock Tower, the Kizlaragasi Han (Inn - commercial building), the Mirkelamoglu and Cakaloglu Inns and other inns (trade places for spending the night), Bedesten (Ottoman’s special trade constructions).
Beginning with the 16th century Izmir had an important place in the world trade. There was an increase in the consulates of foreign countries especially due to the capitulations that the Ottoman government provided for Europe. It is known that these consulates participated in the trade activities and each anchored their ships in the bay.
Historical Sites and Monuments in Izmir A castle was built on the narrowest point of the bay to check the ships entering and leaving the Izmir Gulf. New constructions were built in the second half of the century to help developing of the city’s trade. Among these constructions, the most important examples are the customs building in the 19th century, the sectors of packing, insurance, stock and banking.
In the years of the struggle of Liberation, Izmir underwent a great wreckage with huge destructions and fires. With the driving away of the Greek army by the leadership of the great leader Mustafa Kemal Ataturk on September 9th 1922, Izmir started to become a modern city of the young Turkish Republic and developed this character more everyday.
It is bordered by the provinces of Cankiri and Bolu to the north, Eskisehir to the west, Konya and Aksaray to the south, and Kirikkale and Kirsehir to the east. The region's history goes back to the Bronze Age; Hatti Civilization, which was succeeded in the 2nd millennium BC by the Hittites, then the Phrygians (10th century BC); Lydians and Persians followed. After these came the Galatians, a Celtic race who were the first to make Ankara their capital (3rd century BC). It was then known as Ancyra, meaning anchor. The town subsequently fell to the Romans, Byzantines, and Selcuks under ruler Alparslan in 1073, and then to the Ottomans under sultan Yildirim Beyazit in 1402, who remained in control until the First World War.
The town, once an important trading center on the caravan route to the east, had declined in importance by the nineteenth century. It became an important center again when Kemal Ataturk chose it as the base from which to direct the War of Liberation. In consequence of its role in the war and its strategic position, it was declared the capital of the new Turkish Republic on the 13th October,1923.
The Museum of Anatolian CivilizationsClose to the citadel gate, a 15th century Ottoman bedesten has been beautifully restored and since 1921 it houses a marvelous and unique collection including Paleolithic, Neolithic, Chalcolithic, Hatti, Hittite, Phrygian, Lydian, Urartian and Roman works. In 1997 this great museum won the "European Museum of the Year" award among 65 museums from 21 European countries. (Open everyday, except Monday. During the summer, the museum opens everyday).
The Ethnographical MuseumOpposite the Opera House on Talat Pasa Boulevard in Namazgah district is the Ethnographical Museum. There is a fine collection of folkloric artifacts as well as fine items and rugs from Seljuk and Ottoman mosques in this museum since 1930. When Ataturk died in 1938, he was buried in the internal courtyard until the construction of his Mausoleum in 1953. The bronze statue of Ataturk on the horse in front of the museum was made in 1927 by an Italian artist P. Canonica. (Open everyday, except Monday).
The foundations of the citadel were laid by the Galatians on a prominent lava outcrop, and completed by the Romans; the Byzantines and Seljuks made restorations and additions. The area around and inside the citadel is the oldest part of Ankara and many fine examples of traditional architecture can be seen within the citadel walls. There are also lovely green areas in which to relax.
The Corinthian style temple can be found in the old Ulus district of the city. It was built in the 1st century BC and only later dedicated to the Emperor Augustus at the beginning of the 1st century AD. It is important today for the 'Monument Ancyranum' or 'Res gestae Divi Augusti', the testament and political achievements of Augustus that is inscribed on its walls in both Latin and Greek. This inscription is the copy of the original which was engraved on two bronze pillars and placed at the entrance of his Mausoleum in Rome. The originals are lost but the copy engraved on the Augusteum in Ankara still exists. In the fifth century the temple was converted to a church.
The Roman Bath
The bath, situated on Cankiri Avenue in Ulus, has the typical features of Roman baths: a frigidarium (cold section), tepidarium (cool section) and caldarium (hot section). The hot and warm rooms were wider divisions because of Ankara's very cold winter climate. They were built in the time of the Emperor Caracalla (3rd century AD) in honor of the god of medicine, Asclepios. The dimensions of the bath was 80x130 meters and it was made of stones and bricks. Today only the basement and first floors remain.
This column, in Ulus, was erected in 362 AD probably to commemorate a visit by the Roman Emperor Julian the Apostate on his way to the campaign against Persians. It stands fifteen meters high and has a typical leaf decoration on the capital.
This mosque, in Ulus, next to the Temple of Augustus, was built in the early 15th century and subsequently restored by Sinan in the l6th century with Kutahya tiles being added in the 18th century. The mosque was built in honor of Haci Bayram Veli whose tomb is next to the mosque.
Rahmi Koc Industrial Museum
This is Turkey's second industrial museum opened in April 2005 by Koc family in a 500 year old building. Cengelhan was originally built in the mid-16th century by Rustem Pasha, husband of Mihrimah Sultan and son-in-law of Suleyman The Magnificent. This was a typical Anatolian caravanserai offering lodging for travelers and also supplies for the tradesman. This building opposite the Citadel is now converted into a museum preserving its architectural characteristics in a new setting. Here, the story of early industry is told through scale models since most of the full-size objects are on exhibit at the Istanbul Rahmi Koc museum.
You can also enjoy its Brasserie in the museum courtyard, sitting together with classic cars from 1900s.IMPORTANT LINKS:
Fatih Sultan Mehmed Bridge:It takes its name from the sultan called "Mehmed (the Conqueror)" who conquered Istanbul (Constantinople) in 1453 from the Byzantine Empire... This bridge was constructed in 1988.
In the 2C AD, Byzantium was swept up once again by civil war between the Emperor Septimus Severus and his rival Percennus Niger.After he defeated Niger, he took over and had the city walls constucted. The walls begin at Golden Horn lying to Galata Bridge and end at the lighthouse standing on the coastal road to the airport today. He enlarged the city twice as it was.
In the year 532, Justinian was overthrown by a revolt in the ancient Hippodrome, called "Nika Revolt" which caused many buldings to collapse and badly damaged including the splendid Haghia Sophia. He ordered a big and beautiful Greek Orthodox Church to be constructed as well as the city to be restored. During his reign, Constantinople was one of the biggest cities in the world..
The history of the Byzantium may last pages and
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Even though, no one could consider that such a big empire can collapse, that eventually happened. There are various reasons for that. Firstly, there were internal reasons. These were the fightings between the high ranking officials or for the throne, that is the conspiracy theories to mix the agenda and have superiority over one another. Secondly, there were external reasons. As the empired began loosing its territories in the West, it continously started to defend its borders, so a passage from offensive to defensive position... It was an empire based on lies, conspiracy
After Latin Invasions and continuing internal problems, the Empire could not realize the small Turkish Principality which was located in the Southern East of Constantinople, on the other end of Marmara Gulf, so-called the "Ottomans". They were founded in 1299 in a small city Bursa, Sogut and their founder was Osman Bey. His son Orhan Bey enlarged the Principality and his son Murad, went on conquests in Europe, fought the War of Varna. Afterwards Bayezid the Thunder fought many wars and continued to knock the door of Europe. Finally in 1453, 21-year-old Mehmed II(the Conqueror),after years of preparation period, succeeded to conquer the city and the first thing he did was converting Haghia Sophia to a mosque and pray God and prophet Muhammed for his victory...
From then on, the name "Constantinople" was converted to "Istanbul" which is how it was called by the Ottomans. is the name of the city and became a Muslim city. The Ottoman Empire adopted the city as the major city and the center for the government. Mehmed the Conqueror also ordered the "Topkapi Palace"to be constructed and this palace constituted the heart of the whole Empire which lasted more than 600 years.The Ottoman Empire reached its peak in the early 16C when they conquered Egypt and had the caliphacy pass over to the Ottomans. It meant that an Ottoman Sultan was to be the highest ranking religious person in the Muslim World. However,when the famous emperor, Suleiman the Magnificient, failed in the Battle of Vienna, he was gone into depression. He was a big leader and failure was not of his style. His dreams of conquering Vienna and becoming immortal could not come true and that was the beginning of the end...The splendid Mosque of Suleiman in Istanbul is from those days.
The Ottoman Empire went into a stagnation period in 1699, the Treaty of Karlowitz.. Prior to that time, the empire had continously enlarged its boundaries and was always offensive. This treaty meant that the empire can no way be offensive any longer...
That period was followed by a decline and end period. The Ottoman Empire became the "Sick Man of Europe" to be partitioned by the European Powers after the WW I. IN 1919, a young and talented soldier, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, came to the scene and Turkey started defending herself. He was also the commander of Gallipoli Campaign which was fought against ANZAC, British and French Troops in 1915. The Independence War was successfully won by the Turks and then came the revolutions in Alphabet, Dress, Meaurement Systems and abolishment of the Sultanate as well as Caliph System. Everything was replaced by its modern way which led the way to Modern Turkey. Ataturk died in Istanbul, Dolmabahce Palace; a rather modern palace dating back to 1856. He was born in 1881 in Thessaloniki, Greece and died in 1938. There were many more things to do when he left us...
Currently, Turkey is a Republic with a National Grand Assembly, a Constitution, flag and national anthem. It is a parliamentary system with 550 MPs, a president and a PM.
Transportation in Istanbul is not as convinient as it is in many big cities of the world. Because Istanbul is not surrounded by a good subway network. Instead of metro, other ways of transportation are used.Bus: Public and private buses are very popular. Those buses operate frequently to different destinations in the city. The problem is that because of the busy traffic, the time tables do not reflect the actual situation. You may wait a bus for 15-20 or 30 minutes. The buses are of three kinds. The first one is the blue-green buses which are privately owned. You pay money to get on them. The fee is 1.3 YTL) which is approximately. equal to 0.80 EUR or 1 USD. Foreign currency is NOT accepted. You can read the name of the place you would like to go, on the sign on the side window in the front. There is a person who will be sitting in front of the bus and after you pay him, you receive your ticket. People usually do not speak English, so you would better learn your destination.
Example:TAKSIM 30B BESIKTAS. 30B is the route number. TAKSIM and BESIKTAS are popular areas.Second type of buses are the municipal buses which you can see lots of ads on them or regular ones in blue-green or blue- red. For these buses, you can either buy a ticket before you get into the bus or you can pay the fee to the driver. Close to the bus stops, you can come across small ticket offices called "GISE" in Turkish. Sometimes you can find tickets in little corner convinience shops. A ticket costs 1.3 YTL) You can see people using a ringing object as ticket. This is called "Akbil" which means Smart-ticket. It's like phone-cards, you accumulate them in the smart- ticket offices in return for a certain amount and you just touch it to the electronic device set on the bus. The amount is automatically taken out from your account like Electron Bank cards.This is not profitable for short-time visitors because you also pay for the empty device. This buses usually don't have air-con and are very crowded. There are plenty of seats as well as plenty of room to stand in the bus. You can read the destination of the bus on its front and side window.
There's the last type of buses which are double-deckers. They operate for longer distances and are more convinient. You give double tickets for them. If they are green buses, you can also pay cash instead of tickets. Don't worry, they will warn you.....
There are municipal buses which cross the bridge and go
to the Asian side. If you plan to go to the Asian Side, you
also use double tickets or double fee. I recommend you to
try the ferries instead.
Minibus or Dolmush: Minibuses are small buses which do not have a specific time table. They begin operating at 6:00 in the morning and they finish very late at night about 1:00. . You pay cash to the driver and the fee changes depending on the line. The driver drives, changes your money, honks for new passengers and gives your change. He does four things together and you watch as if you are on the verge of having a heart-attack... It's still experience and quite a fun thing. You can stand in a minibus if no seats are left. When you want to get out, you simply yell as "Musait bir yerde lutfen" meaning "Drop me at a proper place please."Dolmushes are slightly different. They usually operate between Besiktas and Harbiye, Besiktas and Taksim,Bostanci(Asia)and Taksim and Kadikoy(Asia)and Taksim . You cannot stand in a dolmush. Whenever it's full, it moves. Its fee is paid cash too. You can see the price written in front of the dolmush.. There are dolmushes which operate all night long, especially on the weekends
Tram: Trams are new and very convinient in the touristic areas. The destination writes in front of the tram and you also buy the ticket beforehand. There are ticket offices at the tram stops. It costs 1.3 YTL. You can simply buy your ticket and travel short distances in convinience. Some trams also go underground and some of them have air-cons.
Subway(metro): The "Istanbul Metro" was opened in 2001 and it is very convinient if you want to see the downtown and commercial centers. You can purchase the ticket upon entrance of the metro. It costs 1.3 YTL. It operates between Taksim and 4 Levent, 6 stations as Taksim - Osmanbey Sisli - Gayrettepe - Levent - 4 Levent.Taxi: The taxi fee is determined by a taxi-meter. Its starting fee is 1.3 YTL between 6:00 a.m and 11:59 p.m. The night tariff starts from 2.0 YTL and 50% more expensive. There is usually no air-con in taxis. The taxi driver may probably not understand English, you'd better write your destination on a piece of paper or ask a Turkish person to write the necessary words for the cab driver. It's customary to round the meter amount as a tip. Be careful about your money calculation and seem as if you already know the route. The way from the airport to the city center takes about 20 minutes under normal traffic conditions, so arrange a transfer before you come, especially if you arrive at night. The driver may not understand you or he may not find your hotel. It's always more convinient to arrange an airport-hotel transfer in Istanbul.
Rent-a car or limousine service: Rent-a car is
reasonable buy may ruin your trip. Istanbul has a big
traffic problem so you can rent a car when you want to see
neighboring towns etc. Limousine service is given by
various travel agencies and Limo Services.
Turkish money currency unit is called YTL (New Turkish Lira).
As of January 2005, Turkish Lira omitted 6 zeros from the currency and the Lira will be called "Turkish New Lira". Therefore 20 million TL is 20 YTL(new lira)
1 YTL. in pink and blue color,roughly equal to 80 cents.
5 YTL.in yellow-beige note. Approximately equal to 3.85 USD .
10 YTL. in reddish color. Approximately equal to 8 USD
20 YTL in green color (20 YTL)
50 YTL looks like a 50 EURO, orange in color.
100 YTL is blue-dark blue color.
If you want to exchange your currency, there are little shops where you can change money.There is an electronic board where you can see the currencies and their TL.equivalent. Most of the shops, restaurants do accept foreign money, especially USD or EUR in Istanbul.If you wonder about SHOPPING, you should know where the good place to buy things and most importantly, what to buy. Turkey is a good place for leather, jewellry and of course carpets. Turkish Carpets are world-famous and unique examples of art. Traditional nomadic Turkic life influenced the patterns and designs of the rugs. For small souvenirs, The GRAND BAZAAR can be considered as a heaven. Even if you do not have the intention to buy anything, it's a MUST place to be seen.
Turkish Cuisine is of a great variety, a mixture of western and eastern cuisines with the flavor of unique Ottoman Cuisine. It can simply be categorized as;
Hot appetizers(Ara sicak)
Main Course(Ana yemek)
Vegetables cooked in olive oil(Zeytinyagli)
Soft DrinksSoups: To begin with, soups do come first. They are very important in Turkish Cuisine. The soups are usually made of chicken juice by adding different things,i.e tomatoes,lentil,rice,yoghurt, eggs and flour. The most famous soups of traditional Ottoman Cuisine are Dugun Corbasi(Wedding Day Soup), Iskembe Corbasi(Tripe Soup eaten with garlic juice and vinegar), Mercimek Corbasi(Red Lentil Soup) and Yayla Corbasi(Yoghurt and rice with dried mint). If the soups do not contain chicken or meat juice, they are deemed to be 'tasteless'... Cold Appetizers: The cold appetizers are another unique part of the Turkish Cuisine. A good 'Meze Tabagi'(Meze Platter) usually contains Dolma(stuffed green pepper,tomatoes or leaves with rice and pinenuts), Beyaz Peynir(Turkish White Cottage Cow's Cheese), Barbunya(Red Beans cooked in olive oil), Humus(made of chickpeas), Cerkez Tavugu(Circassian Chicken, little chicken-breast pieces mixed with walnut, bread and spices), Haydari(very thick yoghurt mixed with garlic and mint), Ezme(red chilly pepper,tomato paste,mint and spices)and finally Yesil ve Siyah Zeytin(Green and Black Olives). Hot Appetizers: The hot starters are usually pastries which are called as Boerek. Boereks are of various types; i.e pastry which is made of different, thin dough layers stuffed with ground meat or cheese,cooked in oven or pastry made of two thin dough layers with cheese or ground meat inside, fried in sunflower oil. With boreks, potato or cheese croquettes may be served. The most famous type of borek is called Su Boerek(Thin dough layers shock-boiled in water). Other hot appetizers are Patlican Kizartma (fried eggplants), Kabak Kizartma (fried zucchinis) and fried mussles or calamares.
Main Courses: The main courses usually include meat, mainly lamb and veal. Sometimes chicken is used for some recipies. The meat is accompanied with eggplants, zucchini or potatoes,either smashed or french-fried. The most famous main course is called Doner Kebab(similar to Gyro) and second famous is Shis-Kebab(small pieces of lamb or veal grilled). Other famous main courses are Hunkar Begendi(lamb served on eggplant pureé), Islim Kebab(lamb served in sliced eggplant), or Tandir(very soft lamb grilled) and Manti(Turkish Style Ravioli with garlic yoghurt and red-pepper butter sauce). With them, Ayran(Yoghurt mixed with water and salt) may be served..Vegetables cooked in olive oil:Turkey is one of the biggest olive and olive oil producers of the world. Therefore, food cooked in olive oil is an indispensible part of our cuisine. The main olive oil dishes are Zeytinyagli Yesil Fasulye(String Beans in Olive Oil), Imam Bayildi(eggplant cut in from the middle, stuffed with onion and green pepper, served cold), Zeytinyagli Kuru Fasulye(Beans in olive oil), Zeytinyagli Enginar(Artichoke cooked with pieces of potatoes,carrots and peas).
Desserts:The desserts can be roughly divided into three,desserts made of milk, desserts made of pastry+syrups, desserts made of fruits and nuts...
Milky Desserts:The famous ones are Tavukgogsu(freshly cooked chicken breast into tiny pieces,mixed with pudding with rice flour,eggs and vanilla), Kazandibi(same dessert,put into oven,the bottom gets red and delicious), Keskul(milk,flour,rice flour, almonds, pistachio,eggs,vanilla).
Desserts with pastry and syrup:The famous ones are Baklava(very thin layers of buttered pastry filled with pistachio or walnuts,at least 20 layers),baked first in the oven, then cold syrup is added), Kadayif(pastry resembling human hair,put into the tray,added butter and walnut,cooked like baklava), Kunefe is a southeastern(Antakya) specialty, instead of walnuts, special Antakya cheese is put inside), Sekerpare(Piece of sugar) (is baked in the oven as a round cookie,nut is put on the top, and syrup is added.)
Desserts with fruit and nuts: The most famous one of this type is Asure which is a sacred desert. It's believed that after the disasterous storm in Mt.Agri of Turkey, the people in Noah's Ark, had to cook a strange food to survive by adding everything aboard, dried figs,apricots, raisins, walnut, chickpeas, white beans, rice, wheat and sugar. It's cooked still the same way by putting cinnamon on the top. The others are Ayva Tatlisi(Quince Dessert), quince boiled with sugar, after color turns to be red, syrup and cream is put on the top), Incir Tatlisi(Fig Dessert), dried figs are boiled in syrup,with cream and walnut toppings.
Soft Drinks: Major soft beverages are Ayran(Yoghurt mixed with water and salt added), Boza(winter drink,made of fermented bulgur wheat, thick as pudding,drunk with cinnamon), Salep(winter drink made of Salep powder and hot milk, cinnamon added), Salgam Suyu (Sugar beet juice), Elma Cayi(Apple tea), Ihlamur(Linden tea) and Turk Kahvesi(Turkish Coffee).Fish Restaurants: If Turkey is surrounded by three seas and Istanbul is on the shore of Sea of Marmara, how about the fish restaurants? Fish restaurants are of a special style,once you go to have fish, you sit at the table for 1-2 hours and enjoy your meal very slowly by sipping your Raki. Raki contains 45% alcohol, it is quite strong. 1/3 of a typical raki glass is filled with raki, the rest is complemented with cold water,added ice if desired. The water-like liquid; when water is added, suddenly turns out white,a milk-like thing. It's often called "The Lion's Milk" by the Turkish. Raki is made of grapes and it's a non-fermented drink. It should be drunk very slowly with food, therefore the culture in the fish restaurants has developed... In the fish restaurants, the food comes as if eating is a ritual, not an easy and quick thing. Cold appetizers, like white cheese, melon, beans in olive oil or shrimp do come first. After having some from each of them and starting sipping your "raki", comes the hot appetizers, like boreks or fish balls with a big bowl of fresh seasonal salad. Finally while you are enjoying the appetizers, your fish gets ready and you enjoy the most delicious part of your ritual. Finally you enjoy a light dessert or fresh fruits before putting an end to this pleasure. You waive you hand to the chief waiter who knows you for long years and go back home happily and relaxed... Restaurants
GeneralThe Department of the Prime Minister
Turkey borders eight countries: Bulgaria to the northwest, Greece to the
west, Georgia to the northeast, Armenia, Iran and the Nakhichevan exclave
of Azerbaijan to the east, and Iraq and Syria to the southeast. In
addition, it borders the Black Sea to the north, the Aegean Sea to the
west, and the Mediterranean Sea to the south. Turkey also contains the Sea
of Marmara that is used by geographers to mark the border between Europe
and Asia, thus making the country transcontinental.
Department of Culture and Tourism
The region comprising modern Turkey has seen the birth of major civilisations including the Byzantine and Ottoman Empires. Owing to its strategic location at the intersect of two continents, Turkey's culture is a unique blend of Eastern and Western tradition, often described as a bridge between the two civilisations. With a powerful regional presence from the Adriatic to China in the Eurasian landbelt between Russia and India, Turkey has come to acquire increasing strategic significance.
Turkey is a democratic, secular, unitary, constitutional republic whose
political system was established in 1923 under the leadership of Mustafa
Kemal Atatürk following the fall of the Ottoman Empire in the aftermath of
World War I. Since then, Turkey has increasingly integrated with the West
while continuing to foster relations with the Eastern world. It is a
founding member of the United Nations, the Organization of the Islamic
Conference, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development and
the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, a member state of
the Council of Europe since 1949, and of NATO since 1952. Since 2005,
Turkey is in accession negotiations with the European Union, having been an
associate member since 1963. Turkey is also a member of the G20 which
brings together the 20 largest economies of the world.
The name for Turkey in the Turkish language, Türkiye, subdivides into two words: Türk, which means "strong" in Old Turkic and usually signifying the inhabitants of Turkey or a member of the Turkish or Turkic peoples, a later form of "tu-kin", name given by the Chinese to the people living south of the Altay Mountains of Central Asia as early as 177 BC; and the abstract suffix -iye, which means "owner" or "related to". The first recorded use of the term "Türk" or "Türük" as an autonym is attested in the Orkhon inscriptions of the Göktürks (Sky Turks) of Central Asia (c. 8th century CE). The English word "Turkey" is derived from the Medieval Latin "Turchia" (c. 1369).
Portion of the legendary walls of Troy (VII), identified as the site of the Trojan War, (ca. 1200 BCE)The Anatolian peninsula (also called Asia Minor), comprising most of modern Turkey, is one of the oldest continually inhabited regions in the world due to its location at the intersection of Asia and Europe. The earliest Neolithic settlements such as Çatalhöyük (Pottery Neolithic), Çayönü (Pre-Pottery Neolithic A to Pottery Neolithic), Nevali Cori (Pre-Pottery Neolithic B), Hacilar (Pottery Neolithic), Göbekli Tepe (Pre-Pottery Neolithic A) and Mersin are considered to be among the earliest human settlements in the world. The settlement of Troy starts in the Neolithic and continues into the Iron Age. Through recorded history, Anatolians have spoken Indo-European, Semitic and Kartvelian languages, as well as many languages of uncertain affiliation. In fact, given the antiquity of the Indo-European Hittite and Luwian languages, some scholars have proposed Anatolia as the hypothetical center from which the Indo-European languages have radiated.
The Celsus Library in Ephesus, dating from 135 CEThe first major empire in the area was that of the Hittites, from the 18th through the 13th century BCE. Subsequently, the Phrygians, an Indo-European people, achieved ascendancy until their kingdom was destroyed by the Cimmerians in the 7th century BCE. The most powerful of Phrygia's successor states were Lydia, Caria and Lycia. The Lydians and Lycians spoke languages that were fundamentally Indo-European, but both languages had acquired non-Indo-European elements prior to the Hittite and Hellenic periods.
Western Anatolia, which came to be known as Ionia, was meanwhile settled by the Ionians, one of the ancient Greek peoples. The entire area was conquered by the Persian Achaemenid Empire during the 6th and 5th centuries and later fell to Alexander the Great in 334 BCE. Anatolia was subsequently divided into a number of small Hellenistic kingdoms (including Bithynia, Cappadocia, Pergamum, and Pontus), all of which had succumbed to Rome by the mid-1st century BCE. In 324 CE, the Roman emperor Constantine I chose Byzantium to be the new capital of the Roman Empire, renaming it Constantinople (now İstanbul). After the fall of the Western Roman Empire, it became the capital of the Eastern Roman or Byzantine Empire.
Turks and the Ottoman Empire
The Ottoman Empire at the height of its power (ca. 1680)The House of Seljuk was a branch of the Kinik Oğuz Turks who in the 9th century lived on the periphery of the Muslim world, north of the Caspian and Aral seas in the Yabghu Khaganate of the Oğuz confederacy In the 10th century, the Seljuks migrated from their ancestral homelands into the eastern Anatolian regions that had been an area of settlement for Oğuz Turkic tribes since the end of the first millennium.
The Ottoman Empire
The Sultan Ahmet Mosque (Blue Mosque) is one of the most famous architectural legacies of the Ottoman EmpireFollowing their victory over the Byzantine Empire in the Battle of Manzikert in 1071, the Turks began to abandon their nomadic roots in favour of a permanent role in Anatolia, bringing rise to the Seljuk Empire. The empire was not to last however, by 1243 the Seljuk armies were defeated by the Mongols and the power of the empire slowly disintegrated. In its wake, one of the Turkish principalities governed by Osman I was to evolve into the Ottoman Empire, thus filling the void left by the collapsed Seljuks and Byzantines.
The Ottoman Empire interacted with both Eastern and Western cultures throughout its 623-year history. In the 16th and 17th centuries, it was among the world's most powerful political entities, often locking horns with the powers of eastern Europe in its steady advance through the Balkans and the southern part of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. Following years of decline, the Ottoman Empire entered the World War I through the Ottoman-German Alliance in 1914 - a war in which it was ultimately defeated. After the war, the victorious Allied Powers sought the dismemberment of the Ottoman state through the Treaty of Sèvres.
The first Grand National Assembly of the modern Republic of Turkey, during its inauguration in 1920 in AnkaraThe occupation of İstanbul and İzmir by the Allies in the aftermath of World War I prompted the establishment of the Turkish national movement. Under the leadership Mustafa Kemal Pasha, a military commander who had distinguished himself during the Battle of Gallipoli, the Turkish War of Independence was waged with the aim of revoking the terms of the Treaty of Sèvres. By September 18, 1922, the occupying armies were repelled and the country saw the birth of the new Turkish state. On November 1, 1922, the newly founded parliament formally abolished the Sultanate, thus ending 623 years of Ottoman rule. The Treaty of Lausanne of 1923 led to the international recognization of the sovereignty of the newly formed "Republic of Turkey" as the successor state of the Ottoman Empire, and the republic was officially proclaimed on October 29, 1923, in the new capital of Ankara.
Mustafa Kemal Atatürk - Founder and first President of the Republic of TurkeyKemal Pasha became the republic's first president and subsequently introduced many radical reforms with the aim of founding a new secular republic from the remnants of its Ottoman past. According to the Law on Family Names, the Turkish parliament presented Mustafa Kemal with the honorific name "Atatürk" (Father of the Turks) in 1934.
Turkey entered World War II on the side of the Allies in the later stages of the war as a ceremonial gesture and became a charter member of the United Nations in 1945. Difficulties faced by Greece after the war in quelling a communist rebellion, along with demands by the Soviet Union for military bases in the Turkish Straits, prompted the United States to declare the Truman Doctrine in 1947. The doctrine enunciated American intentions to guarantee the security of Turkey and Greece, and resulted in large scale US military and economic support.
After participating with United Nations forces in the Korean conflict, Turkey joined the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) in 1952, becoming a bulwark against Soviet expansion into the Mediterrenean. Following a decade of intercommunal violence on the island of Cyprus and the subsequent Athens-inspired coup, Turkey intervened militarily, resulting in the breakaway Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus recognised only by Turkey.
Following the end of the single party period in 1945, the multi-party period witnessed tensions over the following decades, and the period between the Sixties and the Eighties was particularly marked by periods of political instability that resulted in a number of military coups d'états in 1960, 1971, 1980 and a post-modern coup d'état in 1997. The liberalization of the Turkish economy that started in the 1980s changed the landscape of the country, with successive periods of high growth and crises punctuating the following decades.
Government and politicsThe Grand Chamber of the Grand National Assembly of Turkey in the capital, AnkaraTurkey is a parliamentary representative democracy. Since its foundation as a Republic in 1923, Turkey has developed a strong tradition of secularism. Turkey's constitution governs the legal framework of the country. It sets out the main principles of government and establishes Turkey as a unitary centralized state. The current constitution was ratified by referendum in 1982 and has been amended numerous times in recent years.
The head of State is the President of the Republic and has a largely ceremonial role. The president is elected for a seven-year term by the parliament but is not required to be one of its members. The current President, Ahmet Necdet Sezer, was elected on May 16 2000, after having served as the President of the Constitutional Court. Executive power is exercised by the Prime Minister and the Council of Ministers that make up the government, while the legislative power is vested in the unicameral parliament, the Grand National Assembly of Turkey. The judiciary is independent of the executive and the legislature, and the Constitutional Court is charged with ruling on the conformity of laws and decrees with the constitution. The Council of State is the tribunal of last resort for administrative cases, and High Court of Appeals for all others.
The Prime Minister is generally the head of the party that has won the elections and is elected by the parliament through a vote of confidence in his government. The current Prime Minister is the former mayor of İstanbul, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, whose Islamic conservative AKP won an absolute majority of parliamentary seats in the 2002 general elections, organized in the aftermath of the economic crisis of 2001, with 34% of the suffrage. Neither the Prime Minister nor the Ministers have to be members of the parliament, but in most cases they are (one notable exception was Kemal Derviş, who was the Minister of Finance following the financial crisis of 2001; he is currently the president of the UN Development Programme).
There are 550 members of parliament who are elected for a five-year term by a party-list proportional representation system from 85 electoral districts which represent the 81 administrative provinces of Turkey (İstanbul is divided into three electoral districts whereas Ankara and İzmir are divided into two each because of their large populations). To avoid a hung parliament and its excessive political fragmentation, only parties that win at least 10% of the votes cast in a national parliamentary election gain the right to representation in the parliament. As a result of this threshold, only two parties were able to obtain that right during the last elections.Independent candidates may run, however they must also win at least 10% of the vote in their circonscription to be elected.Universal suffrage for both sexes has been applied throughout Turkey since 1933 and every Turkish citizen who has turned 18 years of age has the right to vote. As of 2004, there were 50 registered political parties in the country, whose ideologies range from the far-left to the far-right.The Constitutional Court can strip the public financing of political parties that it deems anti-secular or separatist, or ban their existence altogether.
The military has traditionally been a politically powerful institution, considered as the guardians of Atatürk's Republic. The protection of the Turkish Constitution and the unity of the country is given by law to the Turkish Armed Forces and it therefore plays a formal political role via the National Security Council (NSC) as the guardian of the secular, unitary nature of the republic and the reforms of Atatürk. Through the NSC, the army contributes to recommendations for defense policy against any threat to the country, including those pertaining to ethnic separatism or religious extremism. In recent years, reforms led to efforts to extinguish the military's constitutional responsibilities, under the program of compliance with the EU demands and an increased civilian presence on the NSC. Despite its perceived alleged influence in civilian affairs, the military owns strong unequivocal support from the nation and is considered to be the country's most trusted institution.Foreign relations Roosevelt, İnönü and Churchill at the Second Cairo Conference on December 4–December 6, 1943Main articles: Foreign relations of Turkey and Accession of Turkey to the European Union Turkey's main political, economic and military relations have remained rooted within the West since the foundation of the republic. Turkey has manifested an Atlantist approach in many regional and international affairs since the Second Cairo Conference, its participation in the Korean War, and its subsequent adhesion to NATO in 1952. It remained a bulwark against the Eastern bloc during the Cold War, and has participated in many NATO-led peacekeeping missions since the fall of the Berlin Wall. For many historical and cultural reasons, this has led to a certain mix of trends in Turkey's foreign policy. Turkey is the only OIC member which is also a member of NATO; and its relations with Israel constitute one of the key partnerships in the Middle East.
The European Union remains Turkey's biggest trading partner and the presence of a well-established Turkish diaspora in Europe has contributed to the development of extensive relations between the two parties over the years. Turkey became a member of the Council of Europe in 1949, applied for associate membership of the EEC (predecessor of the EU) in 1959 and became an associate member in 1963. After decades of political negotiations, Turkey applied for full membership of the EEC in 1987, reached a Customs Union agreement with the EU in 1995 and has officially begun accession negotiations on October 3, 2005. It is believed that the accession process will take at least 15 years because of Turkey's size and the depth of disagreements over certain issues.
Historically, relations with neighbouring Greece have known periods of tension. The disputes over the air and sea boundaries of the Aegean Sea remain one of the main issues of disagreement between the two neighbours. Nonetheless, following the consecutive earthquakes of 1999 in Turkey and Greece, and the prompt response of aid and rescue teams from both sides, the two nations have entered a much more positive period in their relations, with Greece actively supporting Turkey's candidacy to enter the European Union. South of Turkey, tensions caused by the long-lasting division of the island of Cyprus has recently become one of the main points of contention in Turkey's accession negotiations with the EU since Turkey has been refusing to open its ports to Republic of Cyprus traffic.
Since the end of the Cold War, Turkey has actively been building strong relations with former Communist countries in Eastern Europe and Central Asia, and this has concretized in many reciprocal investments and migratory currents between these states and Turkey, however Turkey's relations with neighbouring Armenia are still tense due to the emotions surrounding the events of 1915–17 as well as the ongoing stalemate in Nagorno-Karabakh between Armenia and Azerbaijan, a Turkic-speaking neighbour and ally of Turkey. The Turkish government rejects the notion that the actions by the Ottoman Young Turks that had led to the forced mass evacuation and related deaths of an estimated hundreds of thousands up to 1.5 million Armenians, in the dying days of the Ottoman Empire during World War I, constituted a genocide and instead states the deaths were a result of inter-ethnic strife, disease and famine. Most Western scholars however agree with the genocide thesis. Owing to its secular traditions, Turkey has always viewed suspiciously certain countries in the region and this has caused tensions in the past, particularly with its largest neighbour, Iran.
Even though Turkey participated in the NATO-led peacekeeping mission in Afghanistan after September 11, the Iraq war faced strong domestic opposition in Turkey. A government motion which would have allowed U.S. troops to attack Iraq from Turkey's south-eastern border couldn't reach the absolute majority of 276 votes needed for its adoption in the Turkish Parliament; the final tally being 264 votes for and 250 against. This led to a cooling in relations between the U.S. and Turkey and fears that they might have been damaged as a result of the situation in Iraq. Turkey is particularly cautious about an independent Kurdish state arising from a destabilised Iraq; it has previously fought an insurgent war on its own soil, in which an estimated 37,000 people lost their lives, against the PKK (listed as a terrorist organization by a number of states and organisations, including the USA and the EU).This led the Turkish government to put pressure on the U.S. to clamp down on insurgent training camps in northern Iraq, without much success.
MilitaryTAI-built F-16 fighter jets belonging to various Turkish Air Force squadronsMain articles: Turkish Armed Forces and Conscription in Turkey The Turkish Armed Forces consists of the Army, the Navy and the Air Force. The Gendarmerie and the Coast Guard operate as parts of the Ministry of Internal Affairs in peacetime; whereas they are subordinated to the Army and Navy Commands respectively in wartime, during which they have both internal law enforcement and military functions.
The Chief of the General Staff is appointed by the President, and he is responsible to the Prime Minister. The Council of Ministers is responsible to the parliament for matters of national security and the adequate preparation of the armed forces to defend the country. However, the authority to declare war and to deploy the Turkish Armed Forces to foreign countries or to allow foreign armed forces to be stationed in Turkey rests solely with the parliament. The actual Commander of the armed forces is the Chief of the General Staff General Yaşar Büyükanıt who succeeded General Hilmi Özkök on August 26, 2006.
F-247 TCG KemalReis is a SalihReis class frigate of the Turkish NavyThe Turkish Armed Forces is the second largest standing armed force in NATO, after the United States Armed Forces, with a combined strength of 1,043,550 uniformed personnel serving in its five branches. Every fit heterosexual male Turkish citizen is required to serve in the military for time periods ranging from one to fifteen months, depending on his education and job location (homosexuals have the right to be exempt, if they request).
In 1998, Turkey announced a modernization programme worth some $31 billion over a period of ten years in varying projects including tanks, helicopters and assault rifles. Turkey is also a level three contributor to the Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) program, gaining an opportunity to develop and influence the creation of the next generation fighter spearheaded by the United States.
In addition to its participation in the Korean War, Turkey has maintained forces in international missions under the United Nations and NATO since 1950, including peacekeeping missions, various missions in the former Yugoslavia, and support to coalition forces in the First Gulf War. Turkey maintains 36,000 troops in the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus and has had troops deployed in Afghanistan as part of the U.S. stabilization force and the UN-authorized, NATO-commanded International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) since 2001. In 2006, the Turkish parliament deployed a peacekeeping force of Navy patrol vessels and around 700 ground troops as part of an expanded United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) in wake of the Israeli-Lebanon conflict.
The territory of Turkey is subdivided into 81 provinces for administrative purposes. In turn, each province is divided into districts, for a total of 923 districts. Provinces usually bear the same name as their provincial capitals, also called the central district; exceptions to this are the provinces of Hatay (capital: Antakya), Kocaeli (capital: İzmit) and Sakarya (capital: Adapazarı). Provinces with the largest populations are the provinces of İstanbul (+10 million), Ankara (+4 million), İzmir (+3.4 million), Konya (+2.2 million), Bursa (+2.1 million) and Adana (+1.85 million).
The provinces are organized into 7 regions for census purposes, however they do not represent an administrative structure.
The capital city of Turkey is Ankara; however, the biggest city and the pre-Republican capital of İstanbul is the financial, economic and cultural heart of the country. Other important cities include İzmir, Bursa, Adana, Trabzon, Malatya, Gaziantep, Erzurum, Kayseri, İzmit, Konya, Mersin, Eskişehir, Diyarbakır, Antalya and Samsun. An estimated 67% of Turkey's population live in urban centers. In all, 12 cities have populations that exceed 500,000 and 48 cities have more than 100,000 inhabitants.
İstanbul - 9,085,599
Ankara - 3,540,522
İzmir - 2,732,669
Bursa - 1,630,940
Adana - 1,397,853
Konya - 1,294,817
Gaziantep - 1,009,126
Antalya - 936,330
(Population figures are given according to the 2000 census)
Geography and climateResort town of Fethiye in the Muğla Province, on the Mediterranean coastlineThe territory of Turkey is more than 1,600 kilometers (1,000 mi) long and 800 km (500 mi) wide, giving it a roughly rectangular shape. Turkey's area, inclusive of lakes, occupies 779,452 square kilometers (km²) (300,948 mi²), of which 755,688 km² (291,773 mi²) are in Southwest Asia and 23,764 km² (9,174 mi²) in Europe, thus making Turkey a transcontinental country. Turkey's size makes it the world's 37th-largest country (after Mozambique). It is somewhat bigger than Chile or the U.S. state of Texas. Turkey is encircled by seas on three sides: Aegean Sea to the west, the Black Sea to the north and the Mediterranean Sea to the south. Turkey also contains the Sea of Marmara in the northwest.
The European section of Turkey, in the northwest, is Eastern Thrace, and forms the borders of Turkey with Greece and Bulgaria. The Asian part of the country, Anatolia (also called the Asia Minor), consists of a high central plateau with narrow coastal plains, in between the Köroğlu and East-Black Sea mountain range to the north and the Taurus Mountains to the south. Eastern Turkey has a more mountainous landscape, and is home to the sources of rivers such as the Euphrates, Tigris and Aras, and contains Lake Van and Mount Ararat, Turkey's highest point at 5,165 m (16,946 ft).
Turkey is geographically divided into seven regions: Marmara, Aegean, Black Sea, Central Anatolia, Eastern Anatolia, Southeastern Anatolia and the Mediterranean. The uneven north Anatolian terrain running along the Black Sea resembles a long, narrow belt. This region comprises approximately one-sixth of Turkey's total land area. As a general trend, the inland Anatolian plateau becomes increasingly rugged as it progresses eastward.
Mount Ararat is the highest peak in Turkey at 5,165 m and is located in the Iğdır Province in the Eastern Anatolia regionTurkey's varied landscapes are the product of complex earth movements that have shaped the region over thousands of years and still manifest themselves in fairly frequent earthquakes and occasional volcanic eruptions. The Bosporus and the Dardanelles owe their existence to the fault lines running through Turkey that led to the creation of the Black Sea. There is an earthquake fault line across the north of the country from west to east.
The climate is a Mediterranean temperate climate, with hot, dry summers and mild, wet and cold winters, though conditions can be much harsher in the more arid interior. Mountains close to the coast prevent Mediterranean influences from extending inland, giving the interior of Turkey a continental climate with distinct seasons. The central Anatolian Plateau is much more subject to extremes than are the coastal areas. Winters on the plateau are especially severe. Temperatures of −30 °C to −40 °C (−22 °F to -40 °F) can occur in the mountainous areas in the east, and snow may lie on the ground 120 days of the year. In the west, winter temperatures average below 1 °C (34 °F). Summers are hot and dry, with temperatures above 30 °C (86 °F). Annual precipitation averages about 400 millimeters (mm) (15 inches (in), with actual amounts determined by elevation. The driest regions are the Konya plain and the Malatya plain, where annual rainfall frequently is less than 300 mm (12 in). May is generally the wettest month whereas July and August are the most dry.
EconomyAerial view of Levent business district in İstanbul Mediterranean coastline between the resort towns of Kemer and Antalya on the Turkish RivieraMain articles: Economy of Turkey and Economic history of Turkey For most of its republican history, Turkey has adhered to a quasi-statist approach, with strict government controls over private sector participation, foreign trade, and foreign direct investment. However, during the 1980s, Turkey began a series of reforms, initiated by Prime Minister Turgut Özal and designed to shift the economy from a statist, insulated system to a more private-sector, market-based model.The reforms spurred rapid growth, but this growth was punctuated by sharp recessions and financial crises in 1994, 1999 (following the earthquake of that year),and 2001, resulting in an average of 4% GDP growth per annum between 1981 and 2003. Lack of additional reforms, combined with large and growing public sector deficits and widespread corruption resulted in high inflation, a weak banking sector and increased macroeconomic volatility.
The GDP growth rate for 2005 was 7.4%,thus making Turkey one of the fastest growing economies in the world. Turkey's GDP ranks 17th in the world and Turkey is a member of G20 which brings together the 20 most industrialized countries of the globe. Turkey's economy is no longer dominated by traditional agricultural activities in the rural areas, but more so by a highly dynamic industrial complex in the major cities, mostly concentrated in the western provinces of the country, along with a developed services sector. The agricultural sector accounts for 11.9% of GDP, whereas industrial and service sectors make up 23.7% and 64.5%, respectively. The tourism sector has experienced rapid growth in the last twenty years, and constitutes an important part of the economy. In 2005, there were 24,124,501 visitors to the country, who contributed 18.2 billion USD to Turkey's revenues. Other key sectors of the Turkish economy are construction, automotive industry, electronics and textiles.
The currency of Turkey is the New Turkish Lira (Yeni Türk Lirası - YTL)In recent years, the chronically high inflation has been brought under control and this has led to the launch of a new currency to cement the acquis of the economic reforms and erase the vestiges of an unstable economy. On January 1, 2005, the Turkish Lira was replaced by the New Turkish Lira by dropping off six zeroes (1 NTL= 1,000,000 TL). As a result of continuing economic reforms, the inflation has dropped to 8.2% in 2005, and the unemployment rate to 10.3%. With a per capita GDP (Nominal) of 5,062 USD, Turkey ranked 64th in the world in 2005. In 2004, it was estimated that 46.2% of total disposable income was received by the top 20% income earners, whilst the lowest 20% received 6%.
Turkey's main trading partners are the European Union (52% of exports and 42% of imports as of 2005), United States, Russia and Japan. Turkey has taken advantage of a customs union with the European Union, signed in 1995, to increase its industrial production destined for exports, while at the same time benefiting from EU-origin foreign investment into the country. In 2005, exports amounted to 73.5 billion USD while the imports stood at 116.8 billion USD, with increases of 16.3% and 19.7% compared to 2004, respectively. For 2006, the exports amounted to 85.8 billion USD, representing an increase of 16,8% over 2005.
After years of low levels of foreign direct investment (FDI), Turkey succeeded in attracting 8.5 billion USD in FDI in 2005 and is expected to attract a higher figure in 2006. A series of large privatizations, the stability fostered by the start of Turkey’s EU accession negotiations, strong and stable growth, and structural changes in the banking, retail, and telecommunications sectors have all contributed to a rise in foreign investment.
Demographicsİstiklal Avenue, one of the busiest pedestrian ways in Turkey, and the tram line running between Taksim Square and Tünel in İstanbulAs of 2005, the population of Turkey stood at 72.6 million with a growth rate of 1.5% per annum. The Turkish population is relatively young with 25.5% falling within the 0-15 age bracket. According to statistics released by the government in 2005, life expectancy stands at 68.9 years for men and 73.8 years for women, for an overall average of 71.3 years for the populace as a whole.
Education is compulsory and free from ages 6 to 15. The literacy rate is 95.3% for men and 79.6% for women, for an overall average of 87.4%. This low figure is mainly due to prevailing feudal attitudes against women in the Arab and Kurdish inhabited southeastern provinces of the country.
Article 66 of the Turkish Constitution defines a "Turk" as anyone that is "bound to the Turkish state through the bond of citizenship"; therefore, the legal use of the term "Turkish" as a citizen of Turkey is different from the ethnic definition. However, the majority of the Turkish population are of Turkish ethnicity. Other major ethnic groups include the Kurds, Circassians, Roma, Arabs and the three officially-recognized minorities (per the treaty of Lausanne) of Greeks, Armenians and Jews. The largest non-Turkic ethnicity is the Kurds, a distinct ethnic group traditionally concentrated in the southeast of the country. Minorities other than the three official ones do not have any special group privileges, and while the term "minority" itself remains a sensitive issue in Turkey, it is to be noted that the degree of assimilation within various ethnic groups outside the recognized minorities is high, with the following generations adding to the melting-pot of the Turkish main body. Within that main body, certain distinctions based on diverse Turkic origins could be made as well. Reliable data on the exact ethnic repartition of the population is not available since the Turkish census figures do not include ethnic or racial figures.
Whirling Dervishes perform at the Mevlevi Museum in Konya, Central Anatolia regionDue to a demand for an increased labour force in post-World War II Europe, many Turkish citizens emigrated to Western Europe (particularly West Germany), contributing to the creation of a significant diaspora. Recently, Turkey has also become a destination for numerous immigrants, especially since the fall of the Berlin Wall and the consequent increase of freedom of movement in the region. These immigrants generally migrate from the former Soviet-bloc countries, as well as neighbouring Muslim states, either to settle and work in Turkey or to continue their journey towards the European Union.
Turkish is the sole official language throughout Turkey. Reliable figures for the linguistic repartition of the populace are not available for reasons similar to those cited above. Nevertheless, the public broadcaster TRT broadcasts programmes in local languages and dialects of Arabic, Bosnian, Circassian and Kurdish a few hours a week.
Nominally, 99.0% of the Turkish population is Muslim, of whom a majority belong to the Sunni branch of Islam. A sizeable minority of the population is affiliated with the Alevi sect. The remainder of the population belongs to other beliefs, particularly Christian denominations (Greek Orthodox, Armenian Apostolic, Syriac Orthodox), Judaism, Yezidism and Atheism.
There is a strong tradition of secularism in Turkey. Even though the state has no official religion nor promotes any, it actively monitors the area between the religions. The constitution recognises freedom of religion for individuals whereas religious communities are placed under the protection of the state, but the constitution explicitly states that they cannot become involved in the political process (by forming a religious party for instance) or establish faith-based schools. No party can claim that it represents a form of religious belief; neverheless, religious sensibilities are generally represented through conservative parties. Turkey prohibits by law the wearing of religious headcover and theo-political symbolic garments for both genders in government buildings, schools, and universities; a law upheld by the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights as "legitimate" in Leyla Şahin v. Turkey on November 10, 2005.
CultureOrhan Pamuk, winner of the 2006 Nobel Prize for Literature Traditional waterfront houses from the Ottoman period along the Bosporus in İstanbul The Atatürk Olympic Stadium in İstanbul during the 2005 UEFA Champions League Final between AC Milan and Liverpool FCTurkey has a very diverse culture that is a blend of various elements of the Oğuz Turkic, Ottoman, Western as well as Islamic cultures and traditions. This mix is a result of the encounter of Turks and their culture with those of the peoples who were in their path during their migration from Central Asia to the West. As Turkey successfully transformed from the religion-based former Ottoman Empire into a modern nation-state with a very strong separation of state and religion, an increase in the methods of artistic expression followed. During the first years of the republic, the government invested a large amount of resources into the fine arts, such as museums, theatres, and architecture. Because of different historical factors playing an important role in defining the modern Turkish identity, Turkish culture is a product of efforts to be "modern" and Western, combined with the necessity felt to maintain traditional religious and historical values.
Turkish music and literature form great examples of such a mix of cultural influences. Many schools of music are popular throughout Turkey, from "arabesque" to hip-hop genres, as a result of the interaction between the Ottoman Empire and the Islamic world along with Europe, and thus contributing to a blend of Central Asian Turkic, Islamic and European traditions in modern-day Turkish music. Turkish literature was heavily influenced by Arabic and, especially, Persian literature during most of the Ottoman era, though towards the end of the Ottoman Empire the effect of both Turkish folk and Western literary traditions became increasingly felt. The mix of cultural influences is dramatized, for example, in the form of the "new symbols [of] the clash and interlacing of cultures" enacted in the work of Orhan Pamuk, winner of the 2006 Nobel Prize in Literature.
Architectural elements found in Turkey are also testaments to the unique mix of traditions that have influenced the region over the centuries. In addition to the traditional Byzantine elements present in numerous parts of Turkey, many artifacts of the later Ottoman architecture, with its exquisite blend of local and Islamic traditions, are to be found throughout the country, as well as in many former territories of the Ottoman Empire. Since the 18th century, Turkish architecture has been increasingly influenced by Western styles and this can be particularly seen in Istanbul where buildings like the Blue Mosque and the Dolmabahçe Palace are juxtaposed next to numerous modern skyscrapers, all of them representing different traditions.The most popular sport in Turkey by far is football, with certain professional and national matches drawing tens of millions of viewers on television. Nevertheless, other sports such as basketball and motor sports (following the inclusion of İstanbul Park on the Formula 1 racing calendar) have also become popular recently. The traditional Turkish national sport has been the Yağlı güreş (Oiled Wrestling) since the Ottoman times.