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ABOUT TURKEY

You will get acquainted with ancient Anatolian, Prehistoric, Greek, Roman, Byzantine, Seljuk, Ottoman civilizations...You will encounter unmatched natural beauty...You will be welcomed with the hospitality of the Turkish people...You will have the opportunity to do interesting shopping...You will enjoy the original entertainment activities... You will be able to taste the specialties of the world famous Turkish cuisine...

Turkey is a land of tales with her nature, culture and history. One can follow the traces of the old civilizations, feel the warmth of the sun and can experience the interesting cultural mosaic of the country. One can meet Homer, Mevlana, Marcus Anthony and Cleopatra, Noah and the Virgin Mary. It is possible for one recall Aphrodite while swimming in the same waters where she supposedly swam and to remember Dionysos while sipping a tasteful wine...Two of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, the Temple of Artemis and the Mausoleum of Halicarnassos are in Anatolia...Cappadoccia with its fairy chimneys or white Pamukkale, turquoise bays, the waterfalls, lakes and mountains, the unbelievable sunrise in Nemrut mountain will stay in memories of visitors for a lifetime...One will never forget the beauty of this dream country...

Geography: Modern Turkey is a country of 780,576 square kilometers, somewhat larger than the state of Texas or France and Great Britain combined. The Mediterranean, Aegean and Black Seas border it. In clockwise order, Turkey shares borders with Greece, Bulgaria, Georgia, Armenia, Iran, Iraq and Syria. About three percent of the country is in Europe. South and east of the Dardanelle, the Sea of Marmara and the Bosphorus stretches the peninsula known as Asia Minor or Anatolia.

History: Turkey has been called "the cradle of civilization" and by traveling through this historic land, tourists will discover exactly what is meant by these pharoses. The world's first town, a Neolithic city at Catalhoyuk, dates back to 6,500 B.C. 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 information and cultural wealth. Hattis, Hittites, Phrygians, Urartians, Lycians, Lydians, Ionians, Persians, Macedonians, Romans, Byzantines, Seljuk’s, 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, who was a soldier by occupation but in character, a great visionary, took the defeat of World War I and turned it into a shining victory by liberating Turkey of al foreign invaders. Mustafa Kemal Ataturk founded the Republic of Turkey on October 29, 1923.

Population: According to a 2000 census, Turkey has 65 million inhabitants, 35% of whom live in the countryside. The major cities are: istanbul, Ankara ( the capital ), Izmir, Adana, Antalya.

Language: The Turkish language belongs to the Ural-Altaic group and has an affinity with the finno-Hungarian languages. Turkish is written in the Latin alphabet and is spoken by some 150 million (it supposed 600 million with dialects) people around the world.

Religion: While Turkey is a secular state, about 98% of the people are Muslims; their faith is that of Islam. The holy book of Islam is the Koran. The non-Muslim minority people are concentrated in Istanbul. There are Sephardic Jews and Christians of several backgrounds: Greek Orthodox, Armenian Orthodox, Greek Catholic, Syrian Orthodox, a few Protestants and some others.

Political structure: The Turkish Republic is based on a secular democratic, pluralist and parliamentary system. The National Assembly is elected by popular vote and the nation is governed by the Council of Ministers headed by the Prime Minister. Turkey is a founding member of OECD, the Black Sea Economic Cooperation Organization, a member of NATO, the European Council and the European Parliament, and a member of the European Union.

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