WHERE IS TURKEY?
In order to situate Turkey, one must look at the roughly rectangular
region between the longitudes of 36° 42 N and the latitudes of 26° 45 E. Greece and
Bulgaria border the European side; while Georgia, Armenia, Nakhitchevan autonomous region
of Azerbaijan, Iran, Iraq and Syria border on the Asian.
Between these land borders of Turkey, there rest the seas which
surround it on three sides. The Black Sea to the north, the Mediterranean to the south,
and the Aegean Sea to the west, fill in the remaining parts of the frame with their
lengthy beautiful coastlines.
Turkey is a big country of a varied topography and so it has many
climatic zones. While in Eastern Anatolia you ski down the slopes, others ski on water
along the Mediterranean coast.
There is a quite difference between the coastal regions and the inland
regions which are at higher altitudes. The climate reaches its extremes in central and
eastern Anatolia with hot, dry summers when the temperatures may reach 42° C. Spring and
autumn are best for sightseeing and traveling. Anatolia shows all her beauties during this
period. Because of the spherical warm up summer comes to Turkey earlier this year. So it
will be so hot in May. Bring your thin clothes for the day. In Istanbul, the wind may be
cold in the afternoons, so you had better take some warm sweaters for cool evenings and
nights. Also comfortable shoes are advisable for visiting archeological and historical
sites, sunglasses and sun hats are recommended in summer.
ART & ARCHITECTURE
Turkey is a land which has been the home of many civilizations since
the beginning of history. It is difficult to find another land on earth in which one
civilization leads to another. Turkey, with its rich past , stands as a challenging
resource for both art historians and archeologists; it is a real open-air museum of art
and architecture. The artistic history of Turkey is very rich and goes back to the
beginning of history.
FOLKLORE AND CUSTOMS
Turkey has very rich folkloric traditions which have been kept alive
for centuries due to the characteristics of Turkish people. Folk music accompanies
Anatolian people every single moment of their lives. Every individual creates his own folk
music suitable for his own situation. People create their own music, and do not write it
down, but pass it from one to the other, and the aşıklar (troubadours) who
sing and play this music keep it alive. Turkish folk dance is also very alive and variant.
Each region has its characteristic dance with particular costumes, steps, rhythms and
instruments. Every regions dance reflects the characteristics of that regions
Coffee-houses (kahve) are very specific to Turkish people. Even the
smallest village has at least one kahve. In old times men used to smoke
hubble-bubble pipes (nargile) while talking about the matters of the day. You can still
smoke nargile, but only in some of the coffee-houses.
Another feature symbolizing the Turkish way of life is the Turkish
Baths (Hamam). They have a very important place in Turkish daily and historical life as a
result of the emphasis placed upon cleanliness by Islam. Since Medieval times public bath
houses have been built everywhere and they retain an architectural and historical
With its traditional foods of good taste and wide variety, the Turkish
kitchen is famous throughout the world, and everyone would find something suitable to his,
or her, own taste among the numerous types of dishes prepared. The use of fresh materials
in the preparation of all these dishes, is the main characteristic of Turkish cuisine, and
the unique methods applied, results in their unique taste. Being in a country surrounded
by seas on three sides, Turkey possesses great seafood resources, while it also has a
large capacity of fruit and vegetable production. Various other ingredients are added to
these, and hundreds of tasty dishes are prepared, from soups to mezes, from
pastries to desserts. Here are some you should at least taste once, and certainly it will
not be the last!
Döner kebap (Lamb grilled on a revolving spit), Tit köfte (Grilled
meat balls), Kuzu kapama (Dish made of lamb meat), Dolma (Stuffed vegetables), Mantı
(Dish prepared with dough, ground meat and yogurt), Çiğ köfte (Spicy raw meatballs),
Baklava (Flaky pastry stuffed with nuts in syrup), Rakı (The indispensable alcoholic
drink of pleasant dinners) and after the meals Turkish coffee.