Area Guide – Turkey

Astride two continents, Turkey is a country of contrast and beauty. As the cradle of civilisation and with a varied landscape, it has much to offer both the visitor and investor.

Often called the gateway to the East, Turkey is not only a bridge between continents but also between nations and civilisations.

Both the country and its capital city, Istanbul is in the unique position of lying on two continents. The Bosphorous separates the eastern part of the city from the west.

Turkey covers an area of 814,578 sq km, roughly the size of Texas in the USA, of which 790,200 sq km are in Asia and 24,378 in Europe. The European part of Turkey is called Thrace, while the Asian part is Anatolia or Asia Minor.
The coastline is more than 8,333 km long.

Turkey borders eight other countries with Bulgaria lying to the northwest, Greece to the west, Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan to the northeast, Iran to the east and Iraq and Syria to the southeast.

The country is separated into seven geographical regions: the Black Sea region, Marmara, the Aegean region, the Mediterranean region, South eastern Anatolia, Eastern Anatolia and central Anatolia.

The Mediterranean and the Aegean regions are at the heart of the tourist industry. The irregular coastline means there are many coves and little peninsulas, ideal for yachting. The charming town of Bodrum, home to the ancient Greek historian Herodotus and once a stronghold of the crusaders, lies on one of these peninsulas.

If you are interested in hiking, Fethiye is the starting point of the Lycian way (a 311 mile footpath through the Tekke peninsula). However for the less energetic, Fethiye boasts the most beautiful beaches in Turkey.

Colourful and diverse, Turkey is a country with landscapes ranging from snow capped mountains to oak and pine forests, wide green meadows and large lakes.

Turkey has something to offer everyone, even winter sports in the Uludag region,

The climate is a Mediterranean, with hot, dry summers and mild, wet and cold winters, though conditions can be much harsher in the more arid interior

With more than 70,000,000 people, Turkey would seem to be crowded, yet the country is so vast that there are large uninhabited areas. 99% of the population of Turkey is Muslim but it is a secular state that assures complete freedom of worship to non-Muslims. The Turkish language is spoken by 90% of the population.

Turkey is rich in folklore and traditions that have been kept alive for centuries due to the characteristics of the Turkish people.

While in Turkey you should make time to try a Turkish bath (Hammam) it is a never to be forgotten experience. Bath houses have existed since medieval times and are an integral part of the culture.

The History of Turkey

Modern Turkey owes its existence to Kemal Attaturk the first president of the Republic of Turkey. His forward-looking policies led Turkey out of the middle ages and placed it firmly in the twentieth century.

"The Cradle of Civilization" - from Neolithic times to the present day, Turkey has been at the centre of world history. By travelling 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.

Rich in information and cultural wealth, Turkey is the historian’s paradise. 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 Anatolian peninsula, because of its geographical location, has always found favour throughout history and is the birthplace of many great civilizations. It has also been prominent as a centre of commerce because of its land connections to three continents and the sea surrounding it on three sides.

Travel to Turkey

Turkey is well served with airports and many low cost airlines have flights to various destinations. Here are a few:

  • Antalya International Airport serves the Mediterranean area and is big and modern.
  • Dalaman Airport is outside of the town of Dalaman and seves the western Mediterranean coast. There are daily flights from Istanbul and charter flights also land here.
  • Milas-Bodrum airport has daily flights to and from Istanbul
  • Ataturk International Airport – most airlines fly here and flights to all Turkey’s airports are available from here

Medical, Water and Vaccinations

Mains water is usually chlorinated in larger towns and cities, but this is not so in all areas. If used for drinking or making ice it should have first been boiled or otherwise sterilised so bottled water is a wise precaution.

Information Required When Travelling to Turkey

Visa Requirements For Foreigners:

Visas are required for the citizens of the following countries:

Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Holland, Ireland, Italy, Portugal, Spain, United Kingdom, United States of America

These can be obtained at the port of entry and last for three months


No vaccinations are required for visitors from European countries

Time Zone:

Turkey is 2 hours ahead of GMT


220 volts, throughout Turkey. Two pin plugs are used

Weights and Measures:

Metric system.

Tel. Dialling Code:

00 90 area code tel no.
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