Turkey Travel Guide

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Istanbul, Blue mosquee

Istanbul, Blue mosquee

France Romani (franceromani@yahoo.co.uk)

"Coming in gallop from far Asia stretched forward like a mare‘s head into Mediterranean Sea - this is our country."

This is the way Nazim Hikmet described TURKEY and a look on the map shows you  immediately that the country is surrounded on three sides by the sea: The Aegean Sea and the Sea of Marmara on the west coast, the Eastern Mediterranean Sea in the south and the Black Sea in the north.  The population of the country is around 70 million. Turkey has little land in Europe (24.000 square kilometers), and most of its land in Asia (756.000 square kilometers) Thrace being the name of the European part and Anatolia being the name of the Asian part.  Istanbul is the most important city in Turkey and the population is more than 12 million. The Asian continent is connected to Europe in Istanbul, with two impressive suspended bridges across the Bosphorus, connecting the European and Asian parts of Istanbul.

It is hardly surprising that sea side resorts like Antalya, Alanya, Marmaris, Bodrum or Kusadasi are very popular with tourists from Europe. This may lead you to believe Turkey is very much oriented towards the sea. You couldn't be more wrong: "Anadolu", the Anatolian high central plateau is where Turkish culture is rooted. The soul of the country is to be found in the green pastures of the hinterland, where shepherds still move their herds with the seasons.

This is why you shouldn't be surprised that the Turkish Republic chose Ankara as the capital. The city is located centrally in Anatolia. For travelers, the city offers some interesting sights and attractions, the most imporant ones being the Museum of Anatolian Culture and the Mausoleum of Ataturk. 

Istanbul is Turkey's prime attraction. As Frank Sinatra says "I would like to wake up in a city which does not sleep" New York and Istanbul fit that catagory very well, to see that, cross the Bosphorus Bridge or drive along the Bosphorus at midnight!! Istanbul has the most beautiful mosques (Blue Mosque) and palaces (Topkapı and Dolmabahce) of the country, it has Byzantine churches (Kariye and St. Sophia) and Roman temples. Without fear of exaggeration one can say that Istanbul's claim to the title of Eternal city is as justified as Rome's.  There are about 12 million people in the city. You can find all kinds of attractions in the city. Make sure that you shop and bargain in the Covered Bazaar (Kapali Carsi), which was built in early 15th century.

Cappadocia is another great sight: it is both a natural wonder and the result of human inventiveness. Soft volcanic rock, called tuffs, formed a landscape of bizarre beauty (fairy chimneys) , but it was man who made their homes, churches, shops and courtrooms in them. All of these are decorated in a highly original style.  There are more than 1000 churches under ground.

In the South East of Anatolia you find the strange rock statues at Nemrut Dagi, near Kahta,  Adıyaman, which could remind you of Easter island, as well as ancient cities like Van, located on lake Van, and Dogubayazit. When you go west of eastern Anatolia you will find Turkey's "sports city", Erzincan.  Also  make sure you visit, Diyabakır which has the second longest city walls in the world. Also the other cities are worth to visit Mardin, Midyat, Hasankeyf, Batman and Urfa..

On the South coast of Turkey you will find approximately 600  old Greek and Roman ruins, mostly well preserved. About 1 hour west of Kemer there is the wonderfull Roman town Phasalis: this is a museum town, where you can see the remains of a complete Roman city, including a military harbour, an aquaduct, a theater and many more buildings. You will walk on the old Roman roads between those buildings.

Mount Ararat, at 5,165 m the highest point in the country, is said to be the resting place of Noah's Ark. The famed city of Troy is here as well, south of Istanbul. And you must not leave without seeing Ephesus, the legendary city , home to the Temple of Artemis and the city where Saint Peter wandered, spreading his gospel before settling in Crete. There are many other sites of archaeological and religious significance. With such a diversity of things to see, Turkey is a wonderful destination for any traveler.

Dalyan is established in an environmentally protected area. This is one of the few surviving places of paradise, an area of natural beauty and historical interest. The ancient city of Caunos lies here with its ruins dating back to the 3rd Century. The Dalyan channel through which water circulates between the Mediterranean and Koycegiz Lake winds its way down past the ancient Rock Tombs to the sea, via a small network of lakes and waterways. Through the rustling reed beds rising between 3 and 5 metres in height. With its mixture of fresh and salt water, these wetlands are now home to a vast number of fish and other water life, as well as the birds of many species which feed on them, species such as the Sparrow hawk, Crane, Kingfisher and Jay. The Stork is also native to this area migrating here at the end of March to nest until the end of August. Dividing the delta is the Iztuzu sandbar stretching for 5 km east from the south of the channel. With fine crystal sand, shallow turquoise sea Iztuzu beach is the ideal seaside spot. Which can be reached by regular dolmus or boat service from Dalyan. This is also the beach where the endangered Loggerhead Turtle (Caretta Caretta) and the green turtle (Chelonia Mydas) have returned to lay their eggs since the beginning of time. The nesting time being from May till October.

Twelve years ago Dalyan was a small fishing village, the discovery of the endangered Loggerhead Turtles and the wildlife in this area led to a campaign to designate the area for conservation. The village has therefore retained its natural charm and beauty. A heaven for relaxation that has blossomed to cater for the serious traveller. There are many restaurants in which to try local Turkish cuisine, music bars and shops. There are a couple of discos on the outskirts of the village so as not to disturb those of you that wish to retire early. A regular dolmus service that runs to neighbouring resorts such as Fethiye and Marmaris as well as surrounding villages. In summary a unique destination full of culture, charm, history and contrasting beauty, excellent cuisine and unforgettable hospitality. A resort that you will undoubtedly return to year after year.

Part or or all of this text stems from the original article at: Sezgin Aytuna


June 27, 2006 change by sezgin aytuna (3 points)

September 10, 2006 change by umutsezer (2 points)

November 23, 2006 change by modus internet

January 12, 2007 change by bluecruise

February 05, 2007 change by meric

February 13, 2007 change by giorgio

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