Brief Introduction

Turkey is a paradise of sun, sea, mountains, and lakes offering the holiday maker a complete change from the anxieties and routine of everyday life. From April to October, most parts of Turkey have an ideal climate, providing perfect conditions in which a visitor can relax on sandy beaches or enjoy the peace of mountains and lakes. Turkey has a magnificent past and is a land full of historic treasures covering 13 successive civilizations. Even a person spending only a short time in Turkey can see something of this great past. There is no doubt that one visit will not be enough and you will want to return time after time as you discover one extraordinary place after another. All of them, no matter how different, have one thing in common, the friendly and hospitable people of this unique country.

Turkey's lands mass is 814.578 sq km. The European and Asian sides are divided by Istanbul Bogazi (Bosphorus), the Sea of Marmara and the Canakkele Bogazi (Dardanelle). Anatolia is a high plateau region rising progressively towards the east, broken by the valleys of about 15 rivers, including the Dicle (Tigris) and the Firat (Euphrates. There are numerous lakes and some, such as Lake Van, are as large as inland seas. In the north, the Eastern Black sea Mountain chain runs parallel to the Black sea; in the south, the Taurus Mountains sweep down almost to the narrow, fertile coastal plain along the coast. Turkey enjoys a variety of climates, changing from the temperate climate of the Black Sea region, to the continental climate of the interior, then to the Mediterranean climate of the Aegean and Mediterranean coastal regions. The coastline of Turkey's four seas is more than 8.333 km. along.

Turkey has been called "the cradle of civilization” By traveling through this historic land, tourists will discover exactly what is meant by this phrase. The world's first town, a Neolithic city at Catalhoyuk, dating back to 6.500 B.C, is in Turkey From the days of Catalhoyuk up to the present. Turkey boasts a rich culture that through the centuries has made a lasting impression on modern civilization. The heir to many centuries of cultures makes Turkey a paradise of historical and cultural wealth. Hattis. Phrygians, Urartians, Lycians, Lydians, Ionians, Persians, Macedonians, Romans, Byzantines, Seljuks and Ottomans have all made important contributions to Turkish history and ancient sites and ruins scattered throughout the country give proof of each civilization's unique distinction.
Turkey also has a very fascinating recent history. Upon the decline of the Ottoman Empire a young man named Mustafa Kemal Ataturk founded the Republic of Turkey on October 29, 1923. He led his country into peace and stability, with tremendous economic growth and complete modernization. Through decades of change and growth, Turkey still boasts this success, living by its adopted motto of "Peace in the World"
According to a 1995 census, Turkey has 65 million inhabitants, 41 % of whom live in the countryside. The major cities are: Istanbul, Ankara, Izmir, Adana Antalya and Bursa.

Tourism: In recent years, Turkey has become a major tourist destination in Europe. With the rapid development of both summer and winter resorts, more and more people from around the world are able to enjoy the history, culture and beautiful sites of Turkey. From swimming in the Mediterranean to skiing in Uludag, Turkey has something to offer every tourist.
Agriculture: This plays a very important role in the Turkish economy. The main crops are wheat, rice cotton, tea, tobacco, hazelnuts and fruit. Sheep is Turkey's most important livestock, and Turkey is one of the major cotton and wool producers.
Southeast Anatolia Projeject (GAP): GAP is a multi-purpose, integrated development project comprising of dams, hydroelectric power plants and irrigation facilities currently being on the Firat (Euphrates) and Dicle (Tigris) rivers. It will affect agriculture, transportation, education, tourism, health and other sectors. ATATURK DAM, included in the project, is among the first 10 dams in the world.
Natural resources: The principal minerals extracted are coal, chrome (an important export), iron copper, bauxite, marble and sulphur.
Industry: Industry is developing rapidly and is directed mainly towards the processing of agricultural products, metallurgy, textiles and the manufacture of automobiles and agricultural machinery.


With its climate of four seasons, its flora comprising thousands of species, with its fertile lands, Turkey is one of the most ancient lands if inhabitance. In the Karain cave near Antalya, archaeological excavations have revealed works dating back to the Paleolithic ages, which is assumed to have started two million years ago, and to have ended ten thousand years back from today. In the Yarimburgaz cave in the lower Euphrates region too, excavations have revealed imprints concerning the Paleolithic Age. The Mezzolithic Age, which is distinguished by its colored paintings on the walls of caves, has presented itself during excavations at Tekeky, Belbasi and Beldibi. The most significant centre of inhabitance in the ancient Middle East and the Aegean dating back to the Neolithic Age, has been discovered at Catalhyuk, 52 km south - east from Konya.

Excavations here have brought to light houses, household utensils, statues and wall paintings dating back to 6800 - 5700 B.C. Another Neolithic Age centre of settlement in Anatolia is Hacilar, 25 km south - west of Burdur. In Hacilar, apart from remains of the Neolithic Age, some copper and stone objects and painted clay objects from the early Calcolithic Age have also been encountered. Excavations at Beycesultan at Denizli, Alisar at Yozgat, Alacahyuk at Corum have revealed works of the Late Calcolithic Age. Tilkitepe at Van has been known for its works of the Middle Calcolithic Age. Excavations at Canhasari near Karaman have revealed works of all three eras of the Calcolithic Age.

Anatolia stepped into the Early Bronze Age during the late 4 th century and the early 3rd century B.C Works produced during this period when all kinds of metals were used, which were discovered in Alacahyuk, Eskiyapar, Arslantepe, Kultepe, Mahmatlar, Kayapinar, Horoztepe, Dundartepe, Alisar, Beycesultan, Ikiztepe, Ahlatlibel an Karaoglan are exhibited in our museums. As of 1950 B.C., Anatolia entered the period of written history. A rich cultural and commercial exchange between the Assyrians and the Late Hatties in Anatolia took place during the period of the Assyrian Trade Colonies. Close to twenty trade centres (Karums) were established. The Kanis karum at Kultepe was the most important centre. Many remains left over from this period have been found at Kultepe, Acemhyuk, Alisar and Bogazky excavations.

In 1750 B.C., the Hittites established the first state in Anatolia run by central authority. The capital of this state, known as the Ancient Hittite Kingdom, was Hattushash - Bogazky. The Ancient Hittite Kingdom lost its strength over the years, but during the second half of the 2nd millennium B.C., regained strength and founded the Hittite Empire. The Hittite Empire fell during the 1200's B.C. due to immigration from the Aegeon. Of the Hitites who fled from the attacks, a portion continued their existence as a state in the Tauruses, up to 700 B.C. Hittite remains have been found in excavations carried out at Bogazky, Alacahyuk, Eskiyapar, Inandik, Masathyuk, Kargamis, Zincirli, Arslantepe, Karatepe, Sakçagzu and other regions under the Hittite influence. The Phryges, who conquered the Hittites, occupied part of Anatolia during 1200-700 B.C. Their centre of authority was in Gordion, near Ankara. They lived their golden age during the second half of the 8th century B.C. At the beginning of the 7th century B.C. they lost strength due to the Kimmer attacks. They first came under Lydian occupation and then were wiped out from history during the 550's B.C. by the Persians. The most important remains from the Phrygians have been found in Gordion. The Phrygians were in existence between the years 750-300 B.C.
The Urartus who formed a state surrounding Lake Van with their capital Tushba (Van) in the early 1 st millennium B.C. contributed greatly to our cultural inheritance. The Urartus lived their golden age during the 9th - 8th centuries B.C., They were especially experienced in ivory works. Urartian works discovered at Altintepe, Toprakkale, C'avustepe, Adilcevaz, Patnos, Kayalidere and other Urartian towns exhibited in our museums. The Urartu state expired in the 600's B.C. and the Persians took over Anatolia. Persian occupation continued during 545-333 B.C.

Together with the Dor migration in the late 2nd millennium B.C., the first Hellenic colonies were established in western Anatolia. Starting from 1050 B.C., Ionic civilization gained dominance in western Anatolia. The Karia, Lykia and Lydia civilizations lived their golden age during the 7th – 6th centuries B.C. The Lydians, who established a state in the Aegean region towards 700 B.C. with Sardes as their capital, produced the first gold and silver coins in history. The Lydians were overthrown by the Persians in 546 B.C. However, the Lydian civilization continued to be effective until 300 B.C. During the Persian occupation of western Anatolia, a Greco - Persian style emerged through the merge of the Greek and Persian cultures.

With the invasion of Anatolia by Alexander the Great, the Hellenistic period (330-30 B.C.) started in Anatolia.
During this period, the towns in the Aegean region enjoyed many architectural masterpieces the art of sculpture developed. Starting from 30 B.C, there came the Roman civilization and there occurred a great development in culture. After the Roman Empire split into two in the year 395, the Byzantine period and cultural imprints of this era spread through Anatolia. In parallel to the spreading of Christianity we see great development in religious buildings and works of art. The Byzantine period came to an end with the conquest of Istanbul in 1453 by the Turks.

The Turks started to settle in Anatolia during the period of the Great Seljuk Empire in the early 11th century. The Malazgirt victory in 1071 against the Byzantines opened the doors for the Turks into Anatolia. During the era of the Turkish Seljuk’s (1075-1318), who were a continuation of the Great Seljuk Empire, existing towns were restored, and new ones were built. Priority was given to religious buildings required by the Moslem religion, educational facilities, and hospitals. When the Turkish Seljuk's State collapsed upon losing strength due to Mongolian attacks, the Era of Turkish States (1318- 1453) began. During this period, the Seljuk school of art continued and many important pieces of work were completed. A great development was achieved in glazed tiles and ceramics. The Ottomans, who established first a state in 1299, and later an empire, attained unity throughout Anatolia during the reign of Sultan Mehmet the Conqueror. During the period of prosperity starting with Sultan Mehmet the Conqueror, the empire extended from Central Europe into Iran, from Crymeria to the South African coasts. The Ottoman Empire, while extending its own culture to these new lands, at the same time adopted features of those cultures into its own, thus leading to a rich mosaic of culture. As a result of the nationalistic wave, which dominated Europe after the French Revolution, all nations started to take precautions to preserve its own culture and to achieve independence upon its own lands. As nations under the realm of the Ottoman Empire began to win their freedom one by one, it is observed that a certain importance was attributed to Turkish culture.

During World War I (1914-1918), the Ottoman Empire, together with its allies, was defeated. Its lands fell under invasion. After the War of Independence led by Great Ataturk, the Turkish Republic was established on 29 October 1923. The Turkish Republic had inherited a rich cultural background from the Ottoman Empire. Ataturk commenced important studies in revealing, preserving and publicizing this inheritance. The Turkish Language and History Institutions were established. The Faculty of Letters, History and Geography were opened to education. Great importance was given to the establishment and development of museums. The Topkapi Palace and Ayasofia were turned into museums. Archaeological excavations were encouraged and many findings were put into museums. As of 1994, the number of archaeological ruin sites has risen to 525, the number of public museums to 184, private museums to 80, and the number of items exhibited in museums are 2.456 691.

Turkey, as the birthplace of many civilizations and its cultural diversity, has an important place among the countries of rich cultures in the world. Great steps have been taken in tourism by combining its natural beauty with its cultural richness. Ancient works of art receive utmost importance besides Turkish ones. Today, although many of the Turkish works of art in the Balkans and Central Europe have been destroyed, all works of art in Turkey, regardless of their artistic value are under preservation.

Turkey contains thousands of works of art considered masterpieces. Among the 7 Wonders of the World, the Ephesus Artemis Temple and the Halicarnassos are situated in Turkey. Bodrum Mausoleum used to be in Turkey. Among other invaluable works of art, many of the pieces concerning these two masterpieces are now exhibited in important museums in the world. If one were to assemble the most valuable of glazed tiles and porcelain in Turkey, one would end up with volumes of material. Seaside residences, mansions, mosques, religious schools, fountains, wooden pulpits, clothing would never be able to fit into books.