Turkey is named to be “The Cradle of Civilization” and by traveling through this historic land, visitors will discover exactly what is meant by this phrase. The world’s first known settlement, a Neolithic city at Çatalhöyük, dates back to 6.500 B.C. From the beginning up to the present, The Land of Turkey boasts a rich culture that has made a lasting impression on modern civilization.
Due to the geographical location, the land of Turkey has always found favor throughout history and is the birthplace of many great civilizations. It has also been prominent as a center of commerce because of its land connections to three continents and the sea surrounding it on three sides.
Being the heir to many centuries of cultures makes this land a paradise of information and cultural wealth. Hittites, Phrygians, Urartians, Lycians Ionians, Lydians, Persians, Macedonians, Romans, Byzantines, Seljuks and Ottomans have all made important contributions to the history of the area. Ancient sites and ruins scattered throughout the country give sufficient proof of each civilization’s unique distinction.
The Republic of Turkey today has a very fascinating recent history. Upon the decline of the Ottoman Empire, a young man named Mustafa Kemal Ataturk who was a soldier and a great visionary, took the defeat of World War 1, and turned it into a shining victory by liberating Turkey from all occupying forces. He founded the Republic of Turkey on October 29, 1923. He led his country towards peace and stability that brought about tremendous economic growth and increasing modernization. Through decades of change and growth, Turkey still boasts growing success, living by Ataturk’s motto of “Peace at Home, Peace in the World”.
Today Turkey is a democratic, secular, unitary, constitutional republic with a diverse cultural heritage. Turkey has become increasingly integrated with the West through membership in organisations such as the Council of Europe, NATO, OECD, OSCE and the G-20 major economies.
Turkey is located halfway between the Pole and the Equator and lies like a natural bridge between Asia and Europe. The European part of the country is called Thrace while the Asian part is known as Anatolia (or Minor Asia). Turkey is 814.578 km2 (301.000 square miles) of which 24.000 km2 in Europe. The country is bordered in the north by Black Sea, in the northeast by Georgia and Armenia, in the east by Iran, in the southeast by Iraq and Syria, in the south by Mediterranean Sea, in the west by Aegean Sea and in the northwest by Greece and Bulgaria.
The European and Asian regions are separated by the Istanbul Boğazı (Bosphorus), the Sea of Marmara and the Çanakkale Boğazı (Dardanelles). Anatolia is a high plateau rising progressively towards the east, broken up by the valleys of about 15 rivers, including the Dicle (Tigris) and the Fırat (Euphrates). There are numerous lakes and some, such as Lake Van, are as large as inland seas. In the north, the mountains along the eastern Black Sea coast run parallel to the Sea: in the south, the Taurus Mountains sweep down almost to the narrow, fertile coastal plain.
Turkey enjoys a variety of climates, ranging from the temperate climate of the Black Sea region, to the continental climate of the interior, then, to the Mediterranean climate of the Aegean and Mediterranean coastal regions. The coastline touching the four seas that border the country is 8333 km in length.
99% of the Turkish population is Muslim. However, by constitution, everyone in Turkey has freedom of religion and beliefs. There are Catholic, Orthodox, Protestant, Armenian churches as well as Synagogues around the country and everyone is free to practice the religion of his choosing.
Important to say Turkish people have a personal way of following Islam when compared to rest of Muslim world, such as great number of Muslim Turks enjoy alcoholic beverages, smoke cigarettes and though taking care not to do these during religious occasions during holly festives. There are no restrictions of food and drink service in many restaurants during the days of the month of Ramadan .