Turkey is a captivating experience and an unforgettable adventure, a bridge between Europe and Asia, from breathtaking natural beauty, unique historical and archeological sites to a wonderful tradition of hospitality. Due to Turkey's diverse geography, four different climates can be experienced in one day. The rectangular shaped country is washed on three sides by three different seas. Its shores are laced with beaches, bays, coves, ports, islands and peninsulas while the austere and rugged Anatolian plateau has cave churches hidden away in the improbable fairytale landscape of Cappadocia. Its majestic mountains, valleys, lakes, rivers, waterfalls and grottoes are perfect for all kinds of sports. The country is also rich with hot springs, healing waters and muds, which are highly recommended by international medical authorities as a remedy for many diseases. Turkey is a huge open-air museum, a repository of all the civilizations nurtured by the soils of Anatolia.
The amazing amount of historical and archaeological wealth in Turkey seems more appropriate for an entire continent than a single country. For centuries, Turkey has also been a crossroads of religions, not only of Islam, Christianity or Judaism but of many others now forgotten by history. Many religious devotees can find a site, a shrine, a monument, a tomb or a ruin connected with their faith or belief. Turkish food combines culinary traditions from the people's nomadic past in Central Asia with influences of the Middle Eastern and Mediterranean cuisine. The cuisine also varies from one region to another. The country is blessed with an abundance of fresh food produced locally which attracts many food lovers. It is truly a unique culinary paradise. Turkey is a dynamic country that embraces cultural, economic and political change while consciously seeking to retain the best of its multicultural heritage and time-honored traditions of hospitality.
Istanbul owes its historic importance and its amazing cultural and architectural heritage to its perfect strategic location, straddling the Bosphorus Straits, which separate Europe and Asia Minor. Through most of its 2,500-year-long history, the city was a cultural melting pot. Istanbul has been the capital of three empires. Each has left its mark with palaces, mosques and monuments that together make for a fascinating blend of cultures and heritages. But there's more Istanbul than its history. The city is no longer the nation's capital, but is Turkey's economic and cultural powerhouse. A fast-growing economy contributed to a flourishing arts and music scene, with a plethora of new bars, clubs, private art galleries, restaurants and designer fashion outlets. There truly is something in Istanbul for everyone.
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The capital of Turkey since 1923 and the administrative center of the country, Ankara is a pleasing mix of Ottoman architecture, modern skyscrapers, domed mosques, minarets and a resplendent castle. Ankara merits at least a trip to The Museum of Anatolian Civilizations, one of the best museums of its kind, displaying a wonderful collection of treasures from the beginning of the history of man. Ankara is not only Turkey's capital but also its hidden gem!
Izmir the third largest city in Turkey is a transport hub and the second biggest port after Istanbul. Once the ancient city of Smyrna, is now a modern, developed, and busy commercial center, set around a huge bay and surrounded by mountains. The city has a feel more of Mediterranean Europe with its broad boulevards, glass-fronted buildings and modern shopping centers are scattered with traditional red-tiled roofs, the 18th century market, and old mosques, churches and synagogues. Enjoy the pearl of Aegean!
Deep in the heart of the country within the lunar-like landscape is where the early settlers called Cappadocia home. They built their houses and churches into stone cliffs and their cities underground. This is a wonderful example of simplicity and sense of living with nature rather than imposing upon it. Today visitors who have been drawn to its surreal scenery, wealth of ancient churches and unparalleled opportunities for adventure activities are staying at cave hotels. Cappadocia is one place where you can float over the fairy chimneys in a hot-air balloon in the morning, admire Byzantine frescoes in the afternoon and sample fine food and wine at night. Also make sure you take a spectacular hike through a rose-tinted gorge. The true joy of this fairy tale land comes from the fact that life still follows a village rhythm here.
Cappadocia a place to enjoy at your own pace.
Black Sea Region
Black Sea coast is a distinctive part of Turkey. It will come as a surprise to those who think of Turkey as a hot, dry land with plenty of rain, even in summer. Ridges of mountains with dense pine forests and gentle river valleys, beautiful beaches, busy ports and sleepy fishing villages with their typical wooden houses. It is the garden of Turkey with mild, wet climate in which hazelnuts, corn, rice and tea flourish, are in sharp contrast to the high plateau of inland Anatolia. The quaint seaside town of Amasra, with its Roman and Byzantine ruins and is small but worth a look. Samsun is located between two rivers which extend into the Black Sea is also known as small-Asia. Sinop, three hours northwest of Samsun, is a fine little backwater, with beaches on both sides of the peninsula, as well as historic buildings. There are gorgeous beaches around the merry resort town of �ā�nye, on a wide bay east of Samsun. Further to the east, Ordu is a dynamic seaside city with a pleasant seafront boulevard. Giresun is famous for its delightful hazelnuts and cherries. Sumela is a spectacular rock-hewn monastery perched dramatically on the narrow ledge of a steep cliff in the forests south of Trabzon.
Black Sea region is a perfect blend of nature and culture, with many palaces, castles, mosques and churches.
Every town in Turkey has its old Ottoman houses, but Safranbolu takes it to a different level: virtually the old Ottoman town has been preserved and made it onto the UNESCO World Heritage list. Safranbolu is as close as you�۪ll ever come to experience historical Turkey, and the town�۪s popularity with domestic tourists shows that what a rare treat it is.
Having the highest altitude in the country Eastern Anatolia is the coldest and the largest region. It is best to visit this region in summer time where history is so rich and it is blessed with natural wonders. Once the capital of the Armenian kingdom Lake Van is the largest lake in Turkey and holds the sites of several Armenian monuments including Akdamar Church. Eastern Anatolia is also the home for Mount Ararat the highest peak of the region with an altitude of almost 17,000 feet. This mountain mostly recognized for being the landmark of Noah's Ark. One of the greatest examples of eighteen-century Ottoman architecture Ishak Pasha Palace in Dogubeyazit dates back to 1685, which was the second administrative center after the Topkapi Palace. Another Ottoman amazing monument Cifte Minareli Medrese built as a school of theology around 1271 is located in Erzurum. Both these sights are must see for the history buffs.
Explore the ruins of dramatically sited Ishak Pa��a Palace, then watch the sun set over snowcapped Mt Ararat.
The southeast of Turkey is a land of high, barren mountains descending to hot plains. This is the land of the Commagene kings and the biblical prophet Abraham. Mount Nemrut, the 2150 meters high mountain is thought to be the final resting place of Antiochus, King of the Commagenes and is where the enormous stone heads of Gods and himself sit still without moving as they have for centuries. Down in the plains you can discover the legends associated with Abraham in Sanliurfa where he confronted the Assyrian ruler King Nimrod. He was saved from death by God, who protected him from being burnt on a pyre by turning the flames to waters and coals to fish which is also known as the pool of Sacred Fish. Rug up and witness the sun rise over the mighty fallen heads resting on the mountain top Nemrut.
The glorious Aegean coastline of Turkey, lapped by the clear blue waters of the Aegean Sea, starts near Troy at the southern end of the straits of the Dardanelles and continues all the way down to Fethiye. Dotted with idyllic fishing harbors, rolling hills, unspoiled beaches surrounded by olive groves, secluded bays are just a few of the reasons why. Aegean region is extremely rich in historic relics that have accumulated over 5,000 years. To explore the ancient history visit Troy, MiIlet, Ephesus, Bodrum, Kusadasi and many more. Stroll along the ruins where numerous civilizations crossed their paths. Take a drive to the stunning white calcium pools in Pamukkale (Hierapolis), which cling to the side of a ridge, have been one of the most recognized sights in Turkey. Party in Bodrum where has been the center of attention for years but windsurf paradise Cesme close to Izmir is quickly catching up. Catch the birdseye view while paragliding over Blue Lagoon. Kick back on the blue voyage and enjoy the crystal clear waters. Aegean region is the ultimate place for boating, scuba diving and eating fresh fish!
Stretching from south of Fethiye to Antakya the Turquoise Riviera is just as stunning as the name suggests, with luminous blue-green ocean waves lapping at isolated coves and beaches that range from multicolored polished marble pebbles to miles of yellow sand. Dotted by picturesque towns like Kalkan, Fethiye is nested in the foothills of magnificent mountains. The sunken city at Kekova is a particularly intriguing signpost to the turbulent past of this fascinating region. The Mediterranean coast of Turkey is bathed in sunshine for 300 days a year. The region dates its first inhabitants back to the dawn of civilization where spectacular archaeological ruins are never far away. Dramatic cliff tombs loom above a huge Roman theater, and vegetables grow everywhere in the rich alluvial soil in Demre. This is where St Nicholas did his good works, and where he is buried. Chimaera, the world's oldest and best-known natural "eternal flame," make Olimpos and �ĉ��irali great places to spend a few days. The "capital" of the Turquoise Coast, Antalya has a charming old quarter surrounding its Roman harbor, though most of the sprawling city is modern. Side is a small village scattered among the extensive ruins where Cleopatra watched the sunset. Once a small, quiet town favored by the sultans on vacation Alanya is topped by a dramatic castle. Hop on a ferry to Cyprus from Tasucu and enjoy the view. Visit the birthplace of St Paul in Tarsus and taste great food in Antakya the home of Mosaic Museum with a rich Roman collection. Indulge yourself with kebap in Turkey's fourth largest city Adana. Soak up the Mediterranean sun and delight your senses!