Turkey is named to be “The Cradle of Civilization” and by traveling through this historic land, visitors will discover exactly what is meant by this phrase. The world’s first known settlement, a Neolithic city at Çatalhöyük, dates back to 6.500 B.C. From the beginning up to the present, The Land of Turkey boasts a rich culture that has made a lasting impression on modern civilization.
Due to the geographical location, the land of Turkey has always found favor throughout history and is the birthplace of many great civilizations. It has also been prominent as a center of commerce because of its land connections to three continents and the sea surrounding it on three sides.
Being the heir to many centuries of cultures makes this land a paradise of information and cultural wealth. Hittites, Phrygians, Urartians, Lycians Ionians, Lydians, Persians, Macedonians, Romans, Byzantines, Seljuks and Ottomans have all made important contributions to the history of the area. Ancient sites and ruins scattered throughout the country give sufficient proof of each civilization’s unique distinction.
The Republic of Turkey today has a very fascinating recent history. Upon the decline of the Ottoman Empire, a young man named Mustafa Kemal Ataturk who was a soldier and a great visionary, took the defeat of World War 1, and turned it into a shining victory by liberating Turkey from all occupying forces. He founded the Republic of Turkey on October 29, 1923. He led his country towards peace and stability that brought about tremendous economic growth and increasing modernization. Through decades of change and growth, Turkey still boasts growing success, living by Ataturk’s motto of “Peace at Home, Peace in the World”.
Today Turkey is a democratic, secular, unitary, constitutional republic with a diverse cultural heritage. Turkey has become increasingly integrated with the West through membership in organisations such as the Council of Europe, NATO, OECD, OSCE and the G-20 major economies.
Turkey is located halfway between the Pole and the Equator and lies like a natural bridge between Asia and Europe. The European part of the country is called Thrace while the Asian part is known as Anatolia (or Minor Asia). Turkey is 814.578 km2 (301.000 square miles) of which 24.000 km2 in Europe. The country is bordered in the north by Black Sea, in the northeast by Georgia and Armenia, in the east by Iran, in the southeast by Iraq and Syria, in the south by Mediterranean Sea, in the west by Aegean Sea and in the northwest by Greece and Bulgaria.
The European and Asian regions are separated by the Istanbul Boğazı (Bosphorus), the Sea of Marmara and the Çanakkale Boğazı (Dardanelles). Anatolia is a high plateau rising progressively towards the east, broken up by the valleys of about 15 rivers, including the Dicle (Tigris) and the Fırat (Euphrates). There are numerous lakes and some, such as Lake Van, are as large as inland seas. In the north, the mountains along the eastern Black Sea coast run parallel to the Sea: in the south, the Taurus Mountains sweep down almost to the narrow, fertile coastal plain.
Turkey enjoys a variety of climates, ranging 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 touching the four seas that border the country is 8333 km in length.
Climate by Regions
Black Sea Coast: Warm summers, mild winters and relatively high rainfall.
Central Anatolia: Harsh climate with hot, dry summers and cold winters.
Eastern Anatolia: Long snowy, cold winters, with mild summers
Southeast Anatolia: Hot summers with mild, rainy winters
Marmara, Aegean and Mediterranean coasts: These coasts have a typical Mediterranean climate with hot summers, and mild winters.
95% of the Turkish population is Muslim. However, by constitution, everyone in Turkey has freedom of religion and beliefs. There are Catholic, Orthodox, Protestant, Armenian churches as well as Synagogues around the country and everyone is free to practice the religion of his choosing.
Important to say Turkish people have a personal way of following Islam when compared to rest of Muslim world, such as great number of Muslim Turks enjoy alcoholic beverages, smoke cigarettes and though taking care not to do these during religious occasions during holly festives. There are no restrictions of food and drink service in many restaurants during the days of the month of Ramadan .
Turkey is easily accesable from all around the world by enormous numbers of flights from various countries. Turkish Airlines, THY provides international flights to 275 cities around the world .Domestic air transportation is also been provided by Turkish Airlines(Türk Havayolları) THY, Atlas Jet, Pegasus, Sunexpress, Onur Air and also Anadolujet which is an affiliate of Turkish Airlines .
Visitors to Turkey must obtain a visa from one of the Turkish diplomatic missions unless they come from one of the 120 countries and territories that are either visa exempt or whose citizens may obtain a visa on arrival. There is also an online visa facility. Effective from 1 January 2015, passports will have to be valid for at least 60 days beyond the permitted stay.
Turkey, even though a candidate country for the membership in the European Union has a more complicated visa policy than the Visa policy of the Schengen Area. Turkey even requires visas from certain EU member states
Austria, Belgium,Croatia, Cyprus, Ireland, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Spain and the United Kingdom as well as Norway. However all visitors who are from EU Countries to Turkey can obtain a visa through a simple electronic visa system or a visa on arrival so they do not have to apply at the embassy or consulate.
Turkey also requires visas from citizens of the following Schengen Annex II countries – Antigua and Barbuda, Bahamas,Barbados, Canada, Mauritius, Mexico, Moldova, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Taiwan and the United States. On the other hand, Turkey grants visa-free access to many other countries and territories
Belize, Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Georgia, Iran, Kosovo, Lebanon, Morocco, Peru, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Syria, Trinidad and Tobago andTunisia.
Turkish Lira is the name of the currency valid around the Country. With this in some parts of big cities you can shop by EU or US dollars currency.
The exchange rates for foreign currencies are published daily. Exchange offices are called Döviz Bürosu and are widely available in touristy places. They are generally open until midnight. The most widely accepted cards are: Visa and MasterCard, American Express, Eurocard and Diner’s Club. You may exchange travelers’ checks at Post Offices in some tourist places
Government Offices 8.30 to 12.30, 13.30 to 17.30 (Closed Saturday and Sunday)
Banks 9.00 to 12.30, 13.30 to 17.00 (Closed Saturday and Sunday)
Shops 9.30 to 19.00 (some closed on Sunday)
Grand Bazaar Istanbul 8.00 to 19.00 (closed on Sunday)
Spice Market Istanbul 8.00 to 19.00 (everyday)
Shopping Malls 10.00 to 22.00 (everyday)
January 1 New Year’s Day
April 23 National Independence and Children Day
May 19 Atatürk Commemoration and Youth and Sports Day
August 30 Victory Day (final out of invading forces in 1922)
October 29 National Day (Anniversary of the declaration of the Turkish Republic)
Since religious holidays are set by the Islamic calendar, the days vary each year.
Wi-Fi is common and active all around the country. You can find a free wi-fi even if you visit a small shop. The airports, all hotels and many of the restaurants, and transportation channels provide free Wi-Fi to travelers. Crystal Concepts selected coaches and vans have wifi service on board for comfort or our travellers. Buying simcard is another solution to stay connected over your smartphone. We recommend buying simcards, if voice calls are important and if you are staying more than a few weeks.. After buying a simcard, we recommend you should get “IMEI number registration”. If you want to use your own smartphone or tablet, or any device has IMEI number, in Turkey, you have to register your IMEI number by government due to laws. After an initial period, your device will be blocked to Turkish Sim Cards until registered.
In case you do not prefer to register your device under IMEI number, in your next trip if you do not use the previous simcard and buy a new one, the new card doesn’t work on your device.