With its rich history, warm people and diverse landscape, Turkey is currently the world’s 6th most popular holiday destination. She received 51 million foreign visitors last year alone and the projection for 2020 is 58 million visitors.
What makes Turkey a unique destination is the incredible richness and wide range of her offerings, from 12,000 year long history and culture to its beautiful and diverse natural landscape.
Cradle of Civilizations
East Meets West
Turkey is a bridge between East and West both geographically and culturally. And this is why today’s Turkish culture is a unique blend of modern and old, and East and West with its rich and diverse history. This unique feel is apparent anywhere in the country. The more east one travels, the more eastern it gradually starts feeling.
And, of course, a crucial component of a country is its people. Giving to a stranger at one’s doorstep, as if giving to God, forms the basis of the famous Turkish hospitality. Accordingly, Turkish culture and religion dictates going out of one’s way to give guests as much as possible.
One of the best things about Turkey is the food. Turkish cuisine is a refined and rich synthesis of the cuisines of the former Ottoman territories and it is among the world’s top three most prominent cuisines, along with the French and Chinese cuisines. Both meat lovers and vegetarians can find a wide range of food options to satisfy their taste buds in Turkey.
From the temperate and lush Black Sea coast, protected by high mountain ranges, to the most pristine beaches of the Mediterranean – the word turquoise is the French word depicting the color of the Turkish Mediterranean – and from the rugged and snow-capped mountains of the East, where winters are cold and long, to the fertile valleys and the lace-like shores of the Aegean, Turkey offers a wide range of alternative landscapes.
Anatolia is encircled with mountains that offer an exceptional variety of wildlife, flora and fauna. The three highest peaks of Turkey are Mt. Ararat (5137 m), where Noah’s Ark is believed to have landed, Mt. Kackar (3932 m), and Mt. Erciyes (3917 m) in Eastern and Central Turkey.
Istanbul, Not Constantinople!
A Turkey page wouldn’t be complete without at least a paragraph on Istanbul. It was the capital of three great empires in the last 2,000 years: the Roman Empire, Byzantium and the Ottoman Empire. Napoleon once said, “If only one state existed on earth, Istanbul would be the capital”. Considered a holy city for both Islam and Orthodox Christianity, Istanbul has 157 Christian churches, 17 synagogues, 10 monasteries and close to 2,000 mosques.
Istanbul is the only city in the world that lies on two continents: half of the city is in Europe and the other half is in Asia. Walking through the streets of Istanbul, you will have moments where you will feel like you are in any Western metropolis. Then you will turn your head and travel a few centuries back in time. In Istanbul, you will feel the West, but sense the East. The magical history of the last couple of thousand years will be all around you, blending into a modern city.