The one minute summary on Turkey
This is it: one minute to the best info on Turkey. This info alone will put you ahead of 99% of foreigners visiting Turkey, garner the admiration of the locals who will instantly want to be your friends, and the envy of your fellow travelers. Read on. You’ll make friends faster that way, become a traveler instead of simply being a tourist, and also enjoy your travels a lot more.
Modern Turkey was founded in 1923 from the Anatolian remnants of the defeated Ottoman Empire by national hero Mustafa KEMAL, who was later honored with the title Ataturk or “Father of the Turks.” Under his leadership, the country adopted wide-ranging social, legal, and political reforms.
After a period of one-party rule, an experiment with multi-party politics led to the 1950 election victory of the opposition Democratic Party and the peaceful transfer of power. Since then, Turkish political parties have multiplied, but democracy has been fractured by periods of instability and intermittent military coups (1960, 1971, 1980), which in each case eventually resulted in a return of political power to civilians. In 1997, the military again helped engineer the ouster – popularly dubbed a “post-modern coup” – of the then Islamic-oriented government.
Turkey intervened militarily on Cyprus in 1974 to prevent a Greek takeover of the island and has since acted as patron state to the “Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus,” which only Turkey recognizes. A separatist insurgency begun in 1984 by the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) – now known as the Kurdistan People’s Congress or Kongra-Gel (KGK) – has dominated the Turkish military’s attention and claimed more than 30,000 lives.
After the capture of the group’s leader in 1999, the insurgents largely withdrew from Turkey mainly to northern Iraq. In 2013, KGK and the Turkish Government agreed to a ceasefire that continues despite slow progress in ongoing peace talks. Turkey joined the UN in 1945 and in 1952 it became a member of NATO. In 1964, Turkey became an associate member of the European Community. Over the past decade, it has undertaken many reforms to strengthen its democracy and economy; it began accession membership talks with the European Union in 2005.
That was it. I promised one minute.
For other condensed info check also my other posts on local culture (don’t make the mistakes I made), local food or local drinks. And when you call your friends to tell them you were by far the most knowledgeable at the party, do that with confidence that you’ll not get hit with a 6.99 per minute bill. You’ll also pick the local food from the tray, and order a local drink with confidence.
- Cultural Mistakes To Avoid in Turkey
- Does my current phone work in Turkey ? Tips to cell phone usage in Turkey
- Local food you should try in Turkey and No miss drinks in Turkey
Now, cheers to the most Turkey aware person at the cocktail party.
What are the key
The one minute summary for Turkey geography
Turkey occupies a landmass slightly larger than Texas, at just over 750,000 square kilometres, and is more than three times the size of the United Kingdom. In terms of the variety of terrain and particularly the diversity of its plant life, however, Turkey exhibits the characteristics of a small continent. There are, for example, some 10,000 plant species in the country (compared with some 13,000 in all of Europe) one in three of which is endemic to Turkey. Indeed, there are more species in Istanbul Province (2,000) than in the whole of the United Kingdom.
While many people know of Turkey’s rich archaeological heritage, it possesses an equally valuable array of ecosystems peat bogs, heath lands, steppes, and coastal plains. Turkey possesses much forest (about a quarter of the land) but, as importantly, some half of the country is semi-natural landscape that has not been entirely remodeled by man.
Best places to see in Turkey
As a general rule, most museums and sites of ancient cities in Turkey are closed on Mondays, although there are numerous exceptions to this. Ancient ruins and architectural heritage Streets of Alaçat?, Aegean Region At the crossroads of civilizations, all parts of Turkey are full of a mind blowing number of ancient ruins. Hittites, the first indigenous people that rose to found a state in Anatolia although there is one certain Çatalhöyük preceding them, the earliest settlement ever found to the date in Turkeyleft the proof of their existence at the ruins of Hattu?a?, their capital.
Ancient Greeks and closely following Romans left their mark mostly in Aegean and Merranean Regions, leaving behind the marble ruins of hundreds of cities, temples, and monuments. Some are largely restored to their former glory, such as Ephesus as well as numerous others along the Aegean coast which are on the checklist of most travellers to Turkey, along with some more obscure ones off the beaten path such as Aphrodisias near Denizli, and Aizonai. In the meantime, some other indigenous peoples, such as Lycians, were carving beautiful tombsmany of which are fairly well preserved and can be seen all around Lyciafor their dearly departed ones onto the rocky hillsides. Legendary Troy stands out as an example of different civilizations literally living on the top of each other.
While what is visible today is clearly Hellenistic, the place has its roots as Hittite Wilusa, and later re-built many times over by Ancient Greeks. Perhaps the most unique “architectural” heritage in the country, some of the Cappadocian cave houses and churches carved into “fairy chimneys” and underground cities (in a literal sense!) date back to early Christians hiding from persecution. Successors of Romans, the Byzantines, broke new ground with more ambitious projects, culminating in grand Hagia Sophia of Istanbul, built in 537, and which had the distinction of being the largest cathedral in the world for almost a thousand years.
Most of Byzantine heritage intact today is found in Marmara Region, especially in Istanbul, although a stray monastery or two dating back to the era can be found in almost any part of the country. Seljuks, the first ever Turkic state to be founded in Asia Minor, built most of their monuments which incorporates large majestic portals and heavily delicate stonework, reminiscent of some landmarks in parts of Asia in major centers of the time in Eastern and Central Anatolia, especially in Konya, their capital.
Ottomans, who had considered themselves as a Balkan state until their demise, built most of their landmarks in Balkans and the natural extension of Balkans within today’s TurkeyMarmara Region just like the Byzantines, whom the Ottomans inspired to in so many ways. Most of the earlier Ottoman monuments were built in Bursa, which have little Byzantine and comparatively large Seljuk influences, and later, when the dynasty moved to Europe, in Edirne, some of the major landmarks of which exhibit some kind of “transitional” and fairly experimental style.
It wasn’t until the Fall of Constantinople that the Ottomans adopted Byzantine architecture almost full scale with some adjustments. However, the Ottoman imperial architecture possibly reached its zenith not in Istanbul, but in Edirnein the form of Selimiye Mosque, a work of Sinan, the great Ottoman architecture of 16th century. 19th century brought back the Greek and Roman taste of architectural styles, so there was a huge explosion of neo-classical architecture, as much fashionable in Turkey as in the much of the rest of the world at that time.
Galata side of Istanbul, Izmir (though unfortunately most of which was lost to the big fire of 1922), and numerous towns along the coasts, one most prominent and well preserved example being Ayval?k, quickly filled with elegant neo-classical buildings.
At the same time, people in more inland locations were favouring pleasant, more traditional, and less pretentious half-timbered whitewashed houses, which form picturesque towns such as Safranbolu, Beypazar?, and ?irince in northern, central, and western part of the country respectively. It was also this time beautiful and impressive wooden mansions of Istanbul’s seaside neighborhoods and islands were built. Other contemporary trends of the era, such as Baroque and Rococo, didn’t make much inroads in Turkey, although there were some experiments of combining them into Islamic architecture, as can be seen at Ortaköy Mosque on the banks of Bosporus along with some others.
As the landscapes change the more east you go, so does the architectural heritage. The remote valleys and hilltops of Eastern Karadeniz and Eastern Anatolia are dotted with numerous medieval Georgian and Armenian churches and castles some of which are nicely well preserved but not all were that lucky. Armenian cathedral on Akdamar Island of Lake Van and medieval Ani are two that lay somewhere on the midway between perfectly preserved and undergone total destruction, but both are absolutely must-sees if you’ve made your way that east. For a change, Southeastern Anatolia features more Middle East-influenced architecture, with arched courtyards and heavy usage of yellow stones with highly exquisite masonry. It’s best seen in Urfa, and especially in Mardin and nearby Midyat.
Being on the crossroads of civilizations more often than not also means being the battleground of civilizations. So it’s no wonder why so many castles and citadels dot the landscape, both in towns and countryside, and both on the coasts and inland. Most of the castles built during different stages of history are today main attractions of the towns they are standing on. 20th century wasn’t kind on Turkish cities.
Due to the pressure caused by high rates of immigration from rural to urban areas, many historical neighborhoods in cities were knocked down in favor of soulless (and usually, drab ugly) apartment blocks, and outskirts of major cities transformed to shantytowns. There is not really much of a gem in the name of modern architecture in Turkey. Steel-and-glass skyscrapers, on the other hand, are now slowly and sparsely being erected in major cities, one example where they concentrate much as to form a skyline view being the business district of Istanbul, although hardly impressive compared with major metropolises around the world known for their skyscraper filled skylines.
Itineraries A week in Southeastern Anatolia a week in perhaps the most exotic part of the country, touching all major sights there Along the Troad Coast ancient legends intertwine with beautiful landscapes and the deep blue Aegean Sea Lycian Way walk along the remotest section of the country’s Merranean coast, past ancient cities, forgotten hamlets, and balmy pine forests