Turkey is a rapidly modernizing country with one foot in Europe and one in the Middle East. It is generally divided into seven regions: the Black Sea region, the Marmara region, the Aegean, the Mediterranean, Central Anatolia, the East and Southeast Anatolia regions.
Turkey is surrounded by sea on three sides, by the Black Sea in the north, the Mediterranean in the south and the Aegean Sea in the west. In the northwest there is also an important internal sea, the Sea of Marmara, between the straits of the Dardanelles and the Bosporus, important waterways that connect the Black Sea with the rest of the world.
Visit Turkey and find out that it is not all oriental splendors, mystery, intrigue and whirling dervishes but it is a spicy maelstrom of history knocking up against the present. Enjoy the unrivalled reputation for hospitality of the Turkish people. The cuisine is to die for, the coastline is a dream and many Turkish cities are dotted with spectacular mosques and castles.
Whether you leave Turkey with magnificent carpets, amulets to ward off evil, belly-dancing tips, an appreciation of its history, or just a tan, you're likely to want to go back for more.
Once known as the famous Constantinople, the capital of the Ottoman Empire, Istanbul is now a sprawling mega city, with the Bosporus putting half the city in Asia and the other half in Europe. The historical part of the city, Sultanahmet, contains the historical treasures of the Blue Mosque and Hagia Sofia. The walled area, famous for holding off invaders for centuries, is great for exploring and getting lost down the twisting alleyways. You will most likely meet many friendly carpet salesmen eager to share a cup tea and discuss world events - and rugs.
Ankara gained prominence under the leadership of Ataturk during the national resistance which followed World War I. It was declared the capital of the new Turkish Republic when the National War of Independence freed Turkey from foreign occupation.
Occupying one of the most prominent parts of the city is Anitkabir, the magnificent mausoleum constructed to commemorate Ataturk. This structure is a synthesis of antique and modern architectural themes, and proves the elegance and strength of Turkish architecture.
The oldest parts of the city surround the Castle. The Aladdin Mosque found inside its walls is still one of the best examples of Seljuk art and wood craftsmanship, in spite of the fact that it was restored by the Ottomans. Near the gate of the castle is the Museum of Anatolian Civilizations, which is a beautifully restored portion of the old bazaar.
Black Sea Region
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, 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 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. The western part of this region also hosts much of Turkey's heavy industry.
The Marmara region
This region covers the area encircling the Sea of Marmara, includes the entire European part of Turkey, as well as the northwest of the Anatolian plain. Whilst the region is the smallest of the regions of Turkey after the Southeast Anatolia region, it has the highest population density of all the regions.
The most important peak in the region is Uludag (2,543 meters), at the same time it is a major winter sports and tourist centre. In the Anatolian part of the region there are fertile plains running from east to west.
The Aegean region
This region extends from the Aegean coast to the inner parts of western Anatolia. There are significant differences between the coastal areas and those inland, in terms of both geographical features and economic and social aspects.
In general, the mountains in the region fall perpendicularly into the sea and the plains run from east to west. The plains through which Gediz, Kücük Menderes and Bakircay rivers flow, carry the same names as these rivers.
The Mediterranean region
This region is located in the south of Turkey .The western and central Taurus Mountains abruptly rise up behind the coastline. The Amanos mountain range is also in the area.
The Central Anatolian region
This region is exactly in the middle of Turkey and gives the appearance of being less mountainous compared with the other regions. The main peaks of the region are Karadag, Karacadag, Hasandag and Erciyes (3.917 meters).
The Eastern Anatolia region
This region is Turkey's largest and highest region. About three fourths of it is at an altitude of 1,500-2,000 meters. Eastern Anatolia is comprised of individual mountains as well as of whole mountain ranges, with vast plateaus and plains. The mountains: There are numerous inactive volcanoes in the region, including Nemrut, Suphan, Tendurek and Turkey's highest peak, Mount Agri (Ararat), which is 5,165 meters high.
Several plains, the plains of Malazgirt, Mus, Capakcur, Uluova and Malatya. extend along the course of the Murat River, a tributary of the Firat (Euphrates).
The Southeast Anatolia region
This region is notable for the uniformity of its landscape, although the eastern part of the region is comparatively more uneven than its western areas.