Turkey as a Destination

  • Is known as the cradle of civilization since 9000 BC.
  • Is central to Europe, Asia and the Middle East.
  • Is surrounded by seas: The Black Sea, the Aegean Sea, the Mediterranean Sea.
  • Is also acknowledged as Asia Minor; the Asian side of Turkey is referred to as Anatolia.
  • Held grounds for the first known Human Rights Declaration in 1463, 485 years before the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
  • Is where Alexander the Great cut the intricate Gordian knot-a phrase commonly used for “solving diffucult problems” today.
  • Is the birthplace of King Midas-The Touch of Midas was said to turn everything into gold.
  • Is the original, and again today’s, destination of the well-renowned romantic train: The Orient Express.
  • Was the center of two of the biggest empires in history, Byzantine and Ottoman.
  • Has a 650 year old covered shopping area of 64 streets, 22 entrances and 25.000 workers the famous Grand Bazaar.
  • Is the birthplace and home of St. Nicholas, popularly known as Santa Claus.
  • Is a Republic, founded in 1923, after the collapse of the Ottoman Empire.
  • Is where Noah’s Ark landed, at Mount Ararat, Eastern Turkey.
  • Is the location for two of the Seven Wonders of the World-the Temple of Artemis and the Mausoleum of Halicarnassus.
  • Has a historical background in three of the world’s major religions-Christianity, Judaism and Islam.
  • Preserves the most valuable silk carpet in the world, in the Mevlana Museum, with 144 knots per sq.cm. In the 13th century, Marco Polo wrote “The best and handsomest of rugs are woven here and also silks of crimson and other rich colors.”
  • Is said to have provided the water for the Garden of Eden-from its 2 great rivers-Euphrates and Tigris.
  • Is the birthplace of St. Paul for centuries, the sick have drunk from the well of St. Paul, in Tarsus.
  • Is the only country in the world that stretches over two continents, Europe and Asia.

Geographically, Turkey is the centre between the West and the East, a junction between continental and peninsular Europe and the immense mass of the Afro-Asian continent stretching out south and eastwards. The country is a paradise of sun, sea, and mountains that offers the visitor an ideal climate and a variety of beautiful scenery.

Historically, Turkey has been the home for many civilizations, such as the Hitites, Romans, Greeks, Byzantium, Seljuks and Ottomans. The country offers numerous legendary and historical sites, including the Hagia Sophia, the Topkapý Museum, Ephesus, Troy, the home of Homeros, Virgin Mary and the ruins of Aspendos.

Culture in Turkey - where three empires reigned each with its own religion, its own customs and traditions-is very rich in its diversity and forms. Throughout history many cultures found a home in Anatolia. The handcrafts of jewellery, embroideries, the traditional theatres, music, and dance and many more aspects of life reflect the richness of culture in Turkey.

Antalya: The city of Antalya stretches along the bay bearing its name, and is built at 39 meters altitude on a rocky coastline. One is immediately struck by the Taurus mountains rising to 3086 meters above this coastline, intersperesed withvalleys of varying sizes. Land and sea everywhere meet the beaches stretching for miles or the steep cliffs. The Taurus mountains against the blue backdrop of the sky, the precipices and especially the caves close to the sea add another dimension to the beauty of the region. Small and large streams emerging from the west side of the Taurus water the plains on their journey to the Mediterranean. This translucent running water, cascading into the sea at points along the coast, is another attractive sight. The plant life of Antalya is extremely varied. Every kind of tropical plant can be found along the coast. Visitors to Antalya are struck by the size attained by the different species of cactus. When you reach the foothills of the Taurus, you will see they are covered in the typical Mediterranean maquis, while the forests are full of thriving oaks and pine trees. The coton and sesame plantations and citrus and banana groves of the plains have a beauty of their own.

Phaselis: One km. after turning south 57 km. along the Antalya-Kemer highway (in itself a beautiful ride) one reaches Phaselis. This was settled by the Rhodians in the 7th century B.C. and for many years was claimed to be the most important port city of the eastern Lycian  seaboard. Phaselis has three harbours: the North harbour, the Military or Protected (enclosed) harbour and the South harbour, of which the most important is the latter. A 20-24 m. wide avenue runs throughout the city. The western end is the site of Hadrian's Gate. On either side of the avenue are sidewalks and shops. Close to these can be seen the public places like the baths, the theatre and the agora.

Olympos ve Cýralý:Phaselis is in the west part of Antalya and is between Kemer and Adrasan. After passing Phaselis on the Antalya-Kumluca highway, signposts leading to Olympos and Cirali will be seen and Olympos can be reached by following either route. Cirali is the name of the village near Olympos, which was a port city established in the 2nd century and which continued to flourish until the 15th century A.D. The famous myth of Bellerophontes is said to have taken place here. The antique city is on two sides of a beautiful valley. A sandy beach is found where the town and the valley meet the sea, into which a mountain stream flows. An hour's walk from Olympos brings you to the natural phenomenon of Cirali. Known by the local inhabitants as the " burning mountain " (Yanartas), it is a result of escaping natural gas, whose flames have been shooting heavenwards for centuries. It is suggested that those who wish to visit the Yanartas for the first time should be accompanied
by someone from the village.

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