Country profile

About Turkey

Situated at the crossroads of Asia and Europe, Turkey can lay serious claim to being the cradle of modern civilization, and it’s got more than its fair share of stunning historic sites to back that up.

Turkey’s history stretches back right back to Alexander the Great and beyond. In fact, the country’s highest mountain, Mount Ararat, is claimed to be the final resting place of Noah’s ark. The Trojans fought there, the Romans built huge cities and amphitheatres, and the country was host to not one, but two of the seven wonders of the ancient world, the Mausoleum at Harlicarnassus and the Temple of Artemis. Turkey claims the first university, the first coins and the first bank, as well as the world’s oldest established settlement at Catalhoyuk in Anatalia, dating back to 6,500 BC.

Today, Turkey is a modern, secular nation, with ambitions to join the European Union. It sits mainly in Asia, bordering Syria, Iraq, Iran, Armenia and Georgia, but also has a foothold in Europe, with the small Trace triangle across the Bosphorus bordering Bulgaria and Greece. The capital, Istanbul, uniquely sits on two different continents.

Turkey is, in essence, a vast peninsula, with the Black Sea to the north, the Aegean to the west and the Mediterranean to the south. Tourist activity tends to centre on the west and south coast resorts, while the mountainous interior and remote Kurdish areas of the east tend to be less open, or safe, for foreign tourists.

With long warm summers and a culture that welcomes guests as family, Turkey has been attracting visitors for millennia. Today, Turkey is described as the world’s largest open air museum, with outstanding sites such as the ancient Roman city of Ephesus, well worth a visit. Turkey also boasts many natural wonders too, including the fairytale ‘cotton castle’ rock formations of Pamukkale and countless natural springs with legendary ‘healing’ properties.

Holidaymakers can choose from the bright lights and late nights of resorts like Bodrum, or the more relaxed and sophisticated style of the lagoon at Oludeniz, with a huge range of alternatives in between. The truly cosmopolitan culture of Istanbul also has to be experienced, with its authentic bazaars, soaring minarets and delicious Ottoman cuisine.

Since the devaluation of the currency in 2005, which dropped six zeros from the end of every banknote, you will no longer be a Lira millionaire when you visit Turkey, but with such a wealth history and heritage, you’ll feel enriched by the trip.

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Quick facts

Population: 75.6 Million
Currency: Turkish Lira
Capital: Ankara
Languages: Turkish
Religions: Islam 99.8%

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