Turkey became a recognized nation in the first quarter of the twentieth century, rising from the ashes of the great and prolific Ottoman Empire, and because of its location and heritage, the country today exhibits traces of a variety of cultures.
Geographically, Turkey stands with one foot in southeast Europe and the other in southwest Asia and since its conception has bridged the gap between the East and the West. The result is that modern-day Turkey is a fusion of cultures, displaying cultural evidence from its own heritage spanning from the Ottoman era, as well as showing signs of European and Islamic influences.
Though only a small percentage of Turkey lies in Europe — about three per cent of the vast country — due to its political and cultural nature, many consider it more a part of Europe than Asia. Turkey has a long and fascinating history, as its roots lie 10 millennia in the past and it has been called home by at least half a dozen ancient civilizations over the ages; Persian, Roman and Byzantium to name but a few. For the traveller, this means a tour to experience a wealth and variety of architectural and cultural sights in a place that is in many senses a unique blend of West and East.
Turkey’s largest and capital city, Istanbul, epitomizes the country’s meshing of cultures and is a tour destination not to be missed. The only city in the world that can claim to lie on two continents, Istanbul mixes modernity with antiquity and the bustling day-to-day activities of the culturally and socially advanced society in the major metropolis occur against the backdrop of majestic and well-preserved reminders of the past. After touring Istanbul’s numerous stunning mosques, palaces, cisterns and castles—or perhaps visiting some famous historical places, like the remnants of the great city of Troy—all dating from different eras and engineered by different civilizations, travellers can sample some of the delicacies on offer at a local café and can opt for either Turkish or Eastern cuisine.
Turkey’s population of close to 70 million enjoy a range of geographical differentiation and available activities. The Taurus Mountains serve as the ideal locale for hiking or mountain biking, where the Turquoise Coast on the lapping shores of the Mediterranean is the beach-lover’s paradise and perfect for a quick swim to cool off or a relaxing sunbathe to warm up.