When you set foot in Turkey, you are following in the wake of some remarkable historical figures. Turkey has hosted many of history’s leading star cast including Julius Caesar, who famously ‘came, saw and conquered’ near Amasya, and St Paul, who criss-crossed the country. Byzantine Christians cut cave churches into Cappadocia’s fairy chimneys, and Ottoman sultans luxuriated in Istanbul’s Topkapı Palace, ruling an empire that stretched from Budapest to Baghdad. Turkey however, is not just about it’s past. History blends with the modern in a mesmerizing mix of the exotic and the familiar, offering the promise of rich experiences to the modern day visitor.
Due to Turkey’s diverse geography, one can experience four different climates in any one day. The rectangular shaped country is surrounded on three sides by the three different seas. Its shores are laced with beaches, bays, coves, ports, islands and peninsulas. Turkey is also blessed with majestic mountains and valleys, lakes, rivers, waterfalls and grottoes perfect for winter, summer tourism and the sports of all kinds.
The friendliness of the Turkish people makes visiting a pleasure. ‘A cup of coffee commits one to 40 years of friendship’ goes an old Turkish saying – reflecting the rare warmth of its locals, who are always ready to chat over a çay or Efes beer.
Turkey is, above anything else, a huge open-air museum, a repository of many civilizations nurtured by the soils of Anatolia. The huge amount of historical and archaeological wealth in Turkey seems more appropriate for an entire continent than a single country.
Attractions: Cappadocia, Pamukkale, Ishak Pasa Sarayi, Monastery of Sumela, Whirling Dervishes, Ancient Ephesus, Troy, Nemrut Dagi, The Grand Bazaar, Roman Theatre – Aspendos, Mardin, Aya Sofya, Hittite Capital, Selimiye Camii – Edirne, Kaçkar Daglari, Zeugma Mosaic Museum, Hamam (Turkish Baths), Patara beach, Kariye Museum, Gallipoli Cemeteries and Memorials & Acropolis of Ancient Pergamon.
Tongue teasers: Sis Kebap (Sheesh Kabab), Doner Kebap, Pide (Turkish pizza), Dolma, Baklava (Turkish Dessert) and Turkish Black Coffee amongst many others.
Accessibility: Tourists can reach Turkey by air, train and bus from various popular destinations. There are international airports at Istanbul, Ankara, Izmir and some Mediterranean resorts.
Best time to visit: The best time to visit Turkey especially the Aegean and the Mediterranean coasts would be in the Spring months between April and June and the Autumn months from September to November, as the weather is ideal then.