Turkey is bordered by eight countries: Bulgaria to the northwest; Greece to the west; Georgia to the northeast; Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Iran to the east; Iraq and Syria to the southeast. The Mediterranean Sea and Cyprus are to the south; the Aegean Sea and archipelago are to the west; the Black Sea is to the north. Separating Anatolia and Thrace are the Marmara Sea and the Turkish Straits (the Bosphorus and the Dardanelles), which define the border between Asia and Europe, thereby making Turkey transcontinental.
Due to its strategic location astride two continents, Turkeys culture has a unique blend of Eastern and Western tradition. A powerful regional presence in the Eurasian landmass with strong historic, cultural and economic influence in the area between Europe in the west and Central Asia in the east, Russia in the north and the Middle East in the south, Turkey has come to acquire increasing strategic significance.
Turkey is a big and rich country with full of history, nature, beaches, mountains and modern cities. We would like to let you know about the most popular destinations in Turkey:
- Cappadocia is a place located central of Turkey. One hour away from Istanbul by plane and ten hours by bus. Unique in the world, cappadocia is a miraculous natural wonder consisting of the provinces of Aksaray, Nevsehir, Nigde, Kayseri and Kirsehir in Central Anatolia.
-Ephesus is the most well-known ancient Greco-Roman city in Turkey. Located very near the Aegean coast and Izmir, it is an hour flight from Istanbul or ten hours by bus. The closest places to stay for ephesus are the small towns of Sirince, a beautiful mountain village, Selcuk, or Kusadasi. We highly reccomend a visit.
- Pamukkale (Denizli), which means cotton castle, was formed over time by the natural hot springs, rich in calcium and carbonate, that flow down the slopes. Located in southern Turkey, a one hour flight or a ten hour bus ride brings you here from Istanbul.
-Antalya, in addition to its tourist friendly beaches, the city of antalya features the largest ampitheater(Aspendos) in Turkey, which is still in use today for concerts. Kaleici, the old section of town built around a thirtheenth fortress, features boutique hotels, delicious restaurants, and activities for everyone.
- Konya, the home of Celaleddin-i Rumi (also known as Mevlana), is located in Central Anatolia. The Mevlana Mausoleum is a must see.
- Fethiye (Blue Lagoon) , known as blue lagoon, has the best shores on the Mediterranean, . If you care on sea, sand, and sun this is a to be visited place with its historical sites as well.
- Bursa has been the first capital of the Ottoman Empire. As to me you can also call it a reflection of Istanbul, also providing the most reputable ski centers of the country.
- Canakkale... The Dardanelles... This place has always been very special in the world history, and very dominant in every times. Troy will surely mean something to you, wont it?
-Safranbolu is a great architectural heritage of the Ottoman era... A living ancient town of Karabuk province.
- Trabzon. Here, at the heart of the Blacksea region you can witness all the beauties of the northern part of the country, as well as Sumela Monastery located in the Altyndere National Park which dates back to the 4th century.
- Agri is Turkeys most eastern district, the border crossing to Iran. Dogubeyazit, having a rich history, going back over than 2700 years to the times of the Kingdom of Urartu, and Ishak Pasha Palace, as well as Mount Ararat with the highest peak of all Anatolia (5,137 metres , 16,854 ft) will be your reasons for your visit.
- Kars had its own dynasty of Armenian rulers and was the capital of a region known as Vanand. For some time in late 10th century, before it was replaces with Ani, it has been the capital of the region. This is where the Church of the Apostles was built too...
- Van, The modern city is located on the plain extending from the Lake Van, at a distance of 5 kilometers from the lake shore. It has often been called "The Pearl of the East" because of the beauty of its surrounding landscape.
- Urfa, Modern Sanliurfa presents stark contrasts between its old and new quarters. The old town is one of the most evocative and romantic in Turkey, with an ancient bazaar still visited by local people to buy fruit and vegetables, where traditionally dressed and scarfed Arab and Kurdish villagers arrive in the early morning to sell their produce
- Mardin is a city in southeastern Turkey. The capital of Mardin Province, it is known for its Arab-style architecture, and for its strategic location on a rocky mountain overlooking the plains of northern Syria.
- Harran also known as Carrhae, is a district of Sanliurfa Province in the southeast of Turkey.
- Antakya is a provincial capital still of considerable importance as the centre of a large district, growing in wealth and productiveness with the draining of Lake Amik.
- Amasya is the administrative district of Amasya Province in northern Turkey. It covers an area of 1730 km², and the population is 133,000, of which 74,000 live in the city and the remainder in surrounding villages. Altitude is 411 m.
- Edirne is a city in Thrace, the most western part of Turkey, close to the borders with Greece and Bulgaria. It is the capital of Edirne Province
-Assos has different characteristics throughout the four seasons… It is ideal for those seeking silence and tranquility with its unspoiled nature and very clean air.
- Egirdir is a nice city that is partly built along the shore of the lake that carries its name, partly on an outcrop stretching into the lake and connected by a road to some small islands.
Geographical Regions of Turkey
Turkey is composed of 7 geographical regions :
1. Marmara Region
Provinces: Balikesir, Bilecik, Bursa, Canakkale, Edirne, Istanbul, Kirklareli, Kocaeli, Sakarya, Tekirdag, Yalova
Sights: Iznik (Nicaea), Thrace, Troy, Dardanelles, Abydos, Alexandria Troas
The Marmara Region occupies the northwest corner of the country and represents 8.5% of the total area of Turkey with its 67.000 square kilometers of land. Being a point of juncture between Europe and Asia, this area has seen thousands of tribes and their civilizations passing through, from one continent to the other.
As the core of this background, the famous city of Istanbul stands, with all its magnificence, and signs from its far-reaching past. It has such a location that it constitutes not only a city of history, but also one of natural beauty beyond example. Extending on the two sides of the Bosphorus bordered by green groves, it also possesses beautiful shores along the internal Marmara Sea. Facing the city there exists small, pretty islands, adorning this big sea, lying in the middle of the region. The sea features the land in that the climatic characteristics of the Black Sea influencing the north of it, is separated from the typical Mediterranean climate prevailing in its south. Rainfall is high enough to facilitate growing a variety of fruits, while snowfall enlivens the winter holidays.
Uludag, one of the main peaks of Turkey, is the most prominent mountain in this region, and one of the most popular ski-resorts with every kind of convenience provided. At the foot of Mount Uludag, "Green" Bursa is located, with its dense forests covering the mountains and wide meadows, which give it its title. It is another center of historical importance, its rich past being kept alive in its mosques and tombs of wonderful architectural design. Ancient Iznik (Nicea) is the same, as is the charming city of Edirne which is on Thrace, the European side of Turkey.
There aren't much altitudes in Marmara region so low altitude valleys and plateaus occupy a great percentage of the area. There are some important rivers and lakes within the region. Bordering Greece and Bulgaria, the land in Thrace is covered by wide fields of sunflowers and vineyards, while olive groves are found extending all over the region, like the gardens in Balikesir on the Anatolian side. Amongst agricultural products growing in the region we can count wheat, sunflower, corn, sugar beads, rice, olives and vineyards. About 73% of sunflower production and 30% of corn production of Turkey comes from Marmara region. In the same district there is a special spot nearby a broad lake: the National Park of "Kus Cenneti" (Bird Paradise) which is a bird sanctuary sheltering birds of over two hundred species.
Because of its close location to Europe, being on the Trans-European motorway (TEM), existence of Bosphorus and Dardanelles Straits as a passage from Black Sea to Aegean Sea, ports on the Black Sea and Aegean Seas, and many other advantageous factors make this region heavily advanced in industry, commerce, tourism and transportation. Main industrial establishments are on the Istanbul - Bursa - Kocaeli triangle producing especially processed food, textile, cement, paper, petrochemical products, automotive, house furniture, leather and ship construction.
2. Agean Region
Provinces: Afyon, Aydin, Denizli, Izmir, Kutahya, Manisa, Mugla, Usak
Sights: Aphrodisias, Assos, Bodrum (Halicarnassus), Caunos, Cesme, Datca, Cnidos, Ephesus, Foca (Phokaia), Kusadasi, Claros, Tripolis, Labranda, Lagina, Marmaris, Nyssa, Pamukkale (Hierapolis), Laodicea, Colossae, Pergamum, Priene, Miletus, Didyma, Magnesia, Sardis, Teos (Sigacik), Pygale, Aizanoi, Apameia
Turkey's Aegean shores are among the loveliest landscapes in the country. The magnificent coastline, lapped by the clear water of the Aegean Sea, abounds in vast and pristine beaches surrounded by olive groves, rocky crags and pine woods. Dotted with idyllic fishing harbors, popular holiday villages and the remains of ancient civilizations attesting to the inheritance of more than 5,000 years of history, culture and mythology, this region offers a holiday with something for everyone - nature lovers, sun worshippers, photographers, sports enthusiasts, sailors and archaeologists. Along the whole length of the coast, accommodations to suit every taste and price range can be found.
The Aegean coastal plain enjoys an exceptionally mild climate, with soft, verdant springs, hot summers, sunny autumns and warm winters marked by occasional showers. Aegean region has perpendicular mountains to its shores and many valleys between them, thus permitting the sea climate reach inner parts of the region, although some of the provinces inland show also characteristics of Continental climate. For sunbathing and water sports, the summer months are ideal; for exploring the ancient ruins and picturesque countryside, spring and autumn are the most inviting months. The Aegean provides the perfect escape from the rigors of a northern winter: even in January and February, the days are sunny and pleasant.
The region occupies 11% of the total area of Turkey with its 79.000 square kilometers of land. Most of the population and cities are concentrated on the coast line because of its convenience for sea transportation and tourism. The Aegean region is also both industrialized and agriculturalized. Main products are; textile, leather, carpet weaving, food, machinery and spare parts, marble, tobacco, sugar, olive and olive oil. About half of the total olive trees of Turkey are in this region. There are many important rivers feeding the Aegean Sea.
Izmir, the gateway to the Aegean region, is connected to Istanbul by frequent air, sea, bus and train connections. The plane flight is about 50 minutes, while comfortable overnight buses reach Izmir in about seven hours. Convenient train connection can be made from the Istanbul - Bandirma fast ferry, a two-hour ride across the Marmara Sea. A private maritime company operates over-night car ferries from Istanbul to Izmir a couple of times a week. There are also sea connections between Ancona (Italy) to Cesme in the summer and autumn months. By private car, Izmir can be reached via Bursa road or via Canakkale coastal road. For travelers wishing to begin their journey further to the south, the Dalaman airport near Marmaris is served by regularly scheduled and charter airlines. Self-drive car rentals can be arranged for pick-up at the airport.
3. Mediterranean Region
Provinces: Adana, Antalya, Burdur, Hatay, Isparta, Kahramanmaras, Mersin, Osmaniye
Sights: Demre (Myra), Fethiye (Telmessos), Kas, Kalkan, Aperlai, Isinda, Patara, Xanthos, Letoon, Pinara, Tlos, Arycanda, Sidyma, Kekova, Simena, Olympos, Chimaera, Phaselis, Termessos, Selge, Perge, Aspendos, Side, Alanya, Hamaxia, Pisidian Antioch, Sagalassos, Iskenderun
Mediterranean region takes its name from the Mediterranean Sea, and occupies 15% of the total area of Turkey with its 120.000 square kilometers of land. West and Mid-Taurus mountains run parallel to the coast line. Because of high and steep mountains, the valleys between the sea and mountain range are very narrow, the width varies between 120-180 kilometers. There are some important rivers rising especially during the Spring when the snow is melting, and many lakes on the highlands with a great nature. The population is concentrated especially at the locations suitable for agriculture, tourism, industry and commerce.
The plains of this region are rich in agricultural resources. Fertile soils and a warm Mediterranean climate make the area ideal for growing citrus fruits and grapes, cereals and, in irrigated areas, rice and cotton. Summers are hot, and droughts are not uncommon. Other industrial and agricultural products of the area are wheat, barley, tobacco, green houses and carpet weaving, aluminum and steel. 80% of total of Turkey's oranges and mandarins are grown here, meanwhile bananas are specific only to this region.
The plains around Adana are largely reclaimed flood lands. In the western part of the region, rivers have not cut valleys to the sea; movement inland therefore is restricted. The backland is mainly karst and rises sharply from the coast to elevations of up to 2,800 meters. There are few major cities along this coast, but the triangular plain of Antalya is extensive enough to support the rapidly growing city and port of the same name, which is an important trading center.
4. Black Sea Region
Provinces: Amasya, Artvin, Bartin, Bayburt, Bolu, Corum, Duzce, Giresun, Gumushane, Karabuk, Kastamonu, Ordu, Rize, Samsun, Sinop, Tokat, Trabzon, Zonguldak
Sights: Bithynia, Pontus, Safranbolu
Northern Anatolian region along the Black Sea occupies 18% of the total area of Turkey with its 141.000 square kilometers of land. This northern coastal region has a steep and rocky coast, and rivers cascade through gorges of the coastal ranges. A few of the large rivers, those cutting back through the Pontus Mountains (Dogu Karadeniz Daglari), have tributaries that flow in broad, elevated basins. Access inland from the coast is limited to a few narrow valleys, and, as a result, the coast has always been isolated from the interior. The population and cities are concentrated along the coast line.
The narrow coastal ribbon running between Zonguldak and Rize, widening here and there into fertile deltas, is an area of concentrated cultivation. All available areas, including mountain slopes wherever they are not too steep, are put to use. The mild, damp climate favors commercial farming, thus making the region heavily forested and rich in fauna and flora with over 7.000 species of plants. Fishing, coal, nuts and tea growing are the major sources for local economy. Other important agricultural products are; corn, kiwi, rice, beans and potatoes. The western part of this region also hosts much of Turkey's heavy industry
5. Central Anatolia Region
Provinces: Ankara, Aksaray, Cankiri, Eskisehir, Karaman, Kayseri, Kirikkale, Kirsehir, Konya, Nevsehir, Nigde, Sivas, Yozgat
Sights: Cappadocia, Salt Lake, Catalhoyuk, Gordion (Gordium), Hattusas, Phrygia and the Phrygians
Although termed a plateau, this region is actually quite diverse. Stretching inland from the Aegean, it occupies the area between the two zones of folded mountains, extending east to the point where the two mountain ranges converge. Central Anatolian region occupies 19% of the total area of Turkey with its 151.000 square kilometers of land, it's the second largest region of Turkey after Eastern Anatolia.
The plateau-like, arid highlands of Anatolia are considered the heartland of the country. Akin to the steppes of the Soviet Union, the region varies in altitude from 600 to 1,200 meters west to east, averaging 500 meters in elevation. The two largest basins on the plateau are the Konya Ovasi and the basin occupied by Tuz Gölü (Salt Lake). Both are characterized by inland drainage. Wooded areas are confined to the northwest and northeast, and cultivation is restricted to the areas surrounding the neighboring rivers where the valleys are sufficiently wide. Irrigation is practiced wherever water is available; the deeply entrenched river courses make it difficult to raise water to the surrounding agricultural land, however. For the most part, the region is bare and monotonous and is used for grazing.
Rainfall is limited and in Ankara amounts to less than 25 centimeters annually. Wheat and barley are the most important crops, but the yields are irregular, and crops fail in years of drought. 1/3 of the total wheat of Turkey comes from this region. Other important crops in the region are potatoes, beans, chickpeas and lentils.
Stock raising also is important, but overgrazing has caused soil erosion in the plateau, and during the frequent summer dust storms a fine yellow powder blows across the plains. In bad years, stock losses are severe, and locusts occasionally ravage the eastern area in April and May. An area of extreme heat and virtually no rainfall in summer, the Anatolian plateau Continental climate is cold in winter and receives heavy, lasting snows. Villages may be isolated by severe snow storms.
Carpet weaving is another important income for small villagers, especially in Cappadocia and Konya.
6. Eastern Anatolia Region
Provinces: Agri , Ardahan, Bingol, Bitlis, Elazig, Erzincan, Erzurum, Hakkari, Igdir, Kars, Malatya, Mus, Tunceli, Van
Sights: Mount Ararat, Akdamar, Ani site, Van Lake, Tigris
Eastern Turkey, where the Pontus and Taurus Mountains converge, is rugged country with higher elevations, a more severe climate, and greater precipitation than on the Anatolian plateau. The average elevation of the peaks is greater than 2,000 meters. Mount Ararat is located in this area. Many of the peaks are extinct volcanoes that have been active in the recent past, as evidenced by widespread lava flows. Eastern Anatolian is the largest region of Turkey occupying 21% of the total area of the country with its 163.000 square kilometers of land.
From the highlands in the north, sometimes called Turkey's Siberia, to the mountain ranges in the south that descend toward the Mesopotamian plain in Iraq, vast stretches of this eastern region consist only of wild or barren wasteland. Fertile basins, such as the Mus Valley west of Lake Van and various river corridors, lie at the foot of the lofty ranges. The winters are very harsh with lots of snow, blocking roads to small villages for several months. Because of the harsh climate and high mountains, the population and habitat not dense.
Stockbreeding is the major income for the local economy. Agriculture is very limited with wheat, barley, cotton and tobacco. The region has highest unemployment rate in Turkey.
7. Southeastern Anatolia Region
Provinces: Adiyaman, Batman, Diyarbakir, Gaziantep, Kilis, Mardin, Sanliurfa, Siirt, Sirnak
Sights: Commagene, Nemrut Dag (Mount Nemrut), Hasankeyf, Zeugma, Gobeklitepe
This region is geographically the smallest region of Turkey representing only 9.7% of the total area of Turkey with its 75.000 square kilometers of land certainly not that small with respect to natural and historical beauties it possesses. This region of ancient cities, is adorned by attractive natural figures, constituting a real mixture of sights and past combined with originality. Thanks to GAP (Southeastern Anatolian Project) the area is having great changes positively; many farming lands and dam lakes were formed lately with this project.
Valleys and Plateaus occupy large areas in the south of southeast Taurus mountains. Central part is very mountainous and eastern part is generally flat. Long summers are very hot and dry, with high evaporation, winters are cold and rainy. Although mountainous areas are affected by Continental climate, western part shows typical characteristics of Mediterranean climate.
Southeastern Anatolia is the only region of Turkey where the country produces some oil. The economy is based also on stockbreeding and agriculture, main crops and products are; wheat, barley, lentil, tobacco, cotton, and pistachio nuts.
Situated on the broad plain of upper Mesopotamia, Sanliurfa is one of these points, once being a city of 1001 nights and camel caravans. Then comes Diyarbakir with its wonderful architectural designs dates back to the Middle Ages. Here is the Malabadi Bridge presenting a peaceful view, besides the Dicle Bridge over the Tigris (Dicle) river. Another famous river, the Euphrates (Firat), flows through Harran, a wonderful place to see with its ancient city walls and castle.
Throughout this region a special atmosphere exists, one uniquely different from other parts of the country. Thus, reflecting a specific life style over its land, Southeastern Anatolia offers a wide variety of opportunities for its visitors. If you especially want to escape from a "sun - sea - sand" holiday, you should explore this region and live out of ordinary days in very distinguished places.
Where to visit in Turkey?
Istanbul, along the Bosphorus, connecting Asian contnent to European continent is the only city in the world which was the capital of three big empires : Roman Empire, Byzantine Empire and Ottoman Empire.
What to see in Istanbul?
Hagia Sophia, Blue Mosque, Basilic Cistern, Topkapi Palace, Hippodrome, Dolmabahce Palace, Beylerbeyi Palace, Istanbul Archeology Museum, Chora Museum, Mosaic Museum, Turkish and Islamic Art Museum, Istanbul Modern, Galate Tower, Leander Tower,Taksim, Ortaköy, Gulhane Parc, Balat.