Turkey, a country with a population of over 70 million, borders such countries as Armenia, Bulgaria, Greece, Iran, Iraq and Syria, Turkey is actually located across both Asia and Europe. Because of this strategic location, the country has a blend of Eastern and Western tradition.
For example, Turkish cuisine is a combination of Middle Eastern food, such as kebabs, pita bread and hummus, and Mediterranean food, like tomatoes, garlic, olive oil, and grilled meat. Hot peppers, mint, parsley, dill, cumin, and yogurt are important ingredients in Turkish cuisine.
Turkey’s climate is temperate, with hot, dry summers, and mild, wet winters. However weather conditions get harsher towards the interior of the country.
Turkey is split into 7 regions. Each has its own distinct climate, landscape and traditions. The first four are named according to their adjacent seas: the Black Sea, the Marmara, the Aegean and the Mediterranean Regions. The other three are named in relation to their location in the whole of Anatolia – The Central, Eastern and South East Anatolia Regions.
Eastern Turkey has a mountainous landscape, and is home to the sources of rivers such as the Euphrates and the Tigris.
Antalya is one of the Mediterranean's most important cities and is Turkey's hottest vacation spot, with the Konyalti beaches on the west and the Lara beaches to the east lying at the foot of Antalya's massive mountain range.
In Antalya, the pine-clad Taurus Mountains sweep down to the sparkling clear sea forming an irregular coastline of rocky headlands and secluded coves. The region, bathed in sunshine for 300 days of the year, is a paradise of sunbathing, swimming, and sporting activities like windsurfing, waterskiing, sailing, mountain climbing and caving. Antalya in March and April allows visitors to ski in the mornings and in the afternoons swim in the warm waters of the Mediterranean. The Turkish Riviera is Turkey's tourism capital. But Turkey also has a very rich architectural heritage. Among its monuments are examples of Greek, Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman architecture. In fact, it is the home of some of the world’s most beautiful Byzantine architecture.
The main religion in Turkey is Muslim, and therefore the country showcases several fantastic mosques, including Hagia Sophia and the Blue Mosque.
Some of the main exports are clothing and textiles, with the silk trade being a huge draw. Woven rugs called Kilims are also an important item shoppers might pick up at the Grand Bazaar, one of the world’s largest covered markets, which is located in Istanbul, which is Turkey’s largest city.
Istanbul is the heart of business and cultural life, however Ankara is Turkey’s capital. Istanbul recently became one of the biggest shopping centers of the European region, by hosting the biggest mall in Europe and the fourth-largest shopping center in the world – Cevahir Mall.
Foreign tourist arrivals increased substantially in Turkey between 2002 and 2005, which made Turkey a top-10 destination in the world for foreign visitors.