Turkey: Ancient & Glorious Gateway to the East

From Ankara to Constantinople, from Turkish Delights to belly dancers, this fascinating country - an ancient cradle of civilization - is a wonderland of old-world bazaars, historic ruins and a varied landscape. But then, one comes to expect marvellous things from the land of legendary Trojans and the ancient capital of the Byzantine world. Travelling to Turkey is a boundless adventure for every type of traveller as it is bound to satisfy every interest with its lovely scenery and unique culture.

Turkey is a vast land that by water is bordered by the Black Sea, Aegean Sea and Mediterranean Sea; by land it is bordered by Greece, Bulgaria, Georgia, Armenia, Iran, Iraq, Azerbaijan and Syria. Turkey has well over four thousand miles of coastland containing many wild and remote tracks, but also many incredible beaches that attract visitors from all parts of the globe. This land is more than a gateway to the Middle East and lands beyond, but is a continental meeting place of Europe, Asia and Africa. These continents have influenced Turkey's culture throughout the ages making for one of the most unique places you will ever visit.

Modern day Turkey is a product of a rich history that includes some of the first civilizations from about 6000 B.C. Turkey was also the home of ancient Hittites who lived in Central Anatolia. Their empire was followed by the Persians in 550 B.C. until conquered by Alexander the Great in 331 B.C. History and archaeology may not appeal to every traveller, but Turkey is an utmost place of interest for such pursuits with its dig sites and well-preserved ruins. Other notable dynasties that occupied the area were Romans, Byzantine, Seljuk, Mongolian and Ottoman empires.

Turkish flag Capital: Ankara
Language: Turkish
Time: GMT +2 hrs
Currency: Turkish lira (YTL)

Presently Turkey is divided into eight major regions: Thrace, Black Sea, Marmara and Aegean, Mediterranean, Western Anatolia, Central Anatolia, Eastern Anatolia and South-eastern Anatolia. These regions have their own unique history, scenery and cultural makeup. While each region has its own particular enticements for travellers, the Mediterranean area sees many visitors annually with its historic sites and unforgettable landscapes. Of course, Turkey's major cities like Istanbul attract thousands to its incredible location on the Bosporus.

View of the Sultan Ahmet Camii
Sultan Ahmet Camii
- The Blue Mosque

Istanbul, a city of about nine million, has much to offer with its fascinating history and culture. Tourists regularly visit such world-renowned landmarks as the Hagia Sophia, the Blue Mosque, Bosporus Bridge, and the Egyptian Spice Market. Once known as Byzantium, it is the site of great cultural and religious mixing. Bursa lies at the foot of Mount Ulu and features the Green Mosque and important examples of Ottoman Empire architecture. Many flock to Antalya to the lovely stretches of beach and the natural harbour making it one of the country's most beautiful cities.

While many travellers are only able to visit particular sections of the country, Turkey is well worth a grand tour across all of its regions. Turkey, a country famous for so many things - its cuisine, magic carpets, history, etc. When planning a visit to Turkey, be sure to consider including some additional placed of interest on your trek: Topkapi Palace (Istanbul), ancient amphitheatre at Selcuk, Cappadocia (Central Anatolia), Nemrut Mountain, Aperlae Island (Mediterranean), Kekova Island (Mediterranean), Independence War Museum (Anitkabir), Museum of Anatolian Civilization (Ankara), Museum of Underwater Archaeology (Bodrum), Grand Bazaar (Istanbul), and many, many more!

Hagia Sofia
Hagia Sofia, Istanbul

Before a visit to Turkey, a bit of research will allow travellers to get a grasp of the rich culture and history cantered there. Read about Ataturk to see how Turkey stands apart from other Middle Eastern nations. To really get in a Turkish mood, read Homer's legendary epic The Iliad for a bit of Turkey's ancient past. Turkey is that exotic land all travellers dream of - be prepared for a thrilling escapade and an unforgettable journey.

Turkey's Geographical Regions (7)

Aegean | Black Sea | Central Anatolia | Eastern Anatolia | Marmara | Mediterranean | Southeastern Anatolia