Turkey Vacations

Turkey has a coastline facing the Black Sea and another facing the Aegean Sea. It's main landmass is attached to the Middle Eastern countries of Syria and Iraq. While the Marmara Region of Turkey connects the country to Greece and Bulgaria in Eastern Europe. Geographically and culturally, Turkey straddles the two main cultures, Europe and the Middle East. Turkey's highest mountain is Mount Ararat which reaches 16,945 and is believed to be the site of the remains of Noah's Ark. Historically, Turkey has been intrinsically intertwined with the culture from Byzantine Empire and an extension of the Roman Empire; whose capital Constantinople is known today as Istanbul.

Turkey Vacation Rentals and Boutique Hotels

Turkey Vacations: Things to see while on vacation in Turkey

Turkey Geography

The country of Turkey is one-of-a-kind in its geography, history, and archaeological value. It spans a peninsula touching both Europe and Asia, surrounded by the Black, Mediterranean, and Aegean Seas. Its official name is the Republic of Turkey, and its capital is located in the city of Ankara, which lies mostly in the Central Anatolian region of the country. Since 1941, Turkey has been divided into seven geographical regions, four of which are coastal and three of which are further inland. The regions’ names are Black Sea, Marmara, Aegean, Mediterranean, Central Anatolia, Eastern Anatolia, and Southeastern Anatolia. As a whole, Turkey is a little larger than the state of Texas. The largest city in Turkey is Istanbul, which was historically known as Constantinople. Istanbul is the only city in the world that lies on two continents: cross the Bosphorus Strait running through the city, and you’ll instantly be on another continent.


Another of Turkey’s unique distinctions is a bit more dubious—it’s one of the places in the world that’s most susceptible to earthquakes. The Northern Anatolian Fault runs through the country, from the Sea of Marmara in the west to the Eastern Anatolian Highlands, making Turkey vulnerable to seismic activity. In 70 years, there were 13 quakes. The most severe in recent history occurred in 1939 in Erzincan, in the eastern part of the country. The Erzincan earthquake is believed to have caused over 32,000 casualties.

The highest peak in this mountainous nation is on Mount Ararat; one of its two peaks is called Great Ararat and stretches to a height of almost 17,000 feet.

Turkey’s climate varies by region, from a hot summer Mediterranean climate on the Aegean and Mediterranean seas, to an oceanic climate on the coast of the Black Sea. On the Central Anatolian plateau, a continental climate brings severe winters. Further inland, the Konyan and Malatyan plains receive the least average yearly rainfall in the country—less than 12 inches total.

Turkey History and Culture

Turkey’s civilization stretches back to the dawn of known history. Archaeologists have found some of history’s earliest settlements there, one of which is called Catal Hoyuk, a community of mud homes built almost 9,000 years ago. The earliest known name of this region of the world is Anatolia. It was an empire ruled by the Hittites starting around 4,000 years ago. The Hittites ruled Anatolia for centuries, until the Trojan War disrupted their reign.

It’s believed that the legendary King Midas was ruling in the western part of modern-day Turkey around 700 B.C. A few hundred years later, in 334, Alexander the Great arrived, and his armies conquered Anatolia. The Greeks continued to rule until the Roman Empire took over. In A.D. 330, the Roman emperor Constantine christened his namesake city Constantinople. Subsequently, the Roman Empire fell, and Turkey remained a part of the Byzantine Empire for centuries. The Ottomans arrived in 1453, and occupied Turkey until World War I, when the Greeks invaded and ruled for just a few years, until 1920, when the Turkish war of independence took place. In 1923, Turkey officially formed a secular republican government and established itself as an independent nation. The name of Constantinople was changed to Istanbul, and Ankara became the capital. Turkey’s form of government is known as a parliamentary democracy.

Today, Turkey’s population is over 81 million, making it the 19th largest country in the world by population, according to a 2016 estimate. Its citizens are ethnically diverse, and the majority of them live in Turkey’s cities. If you want to attend high school in Turkey, you’ll need to live in a city, since no high schools are located outside the metropolitan areas.

The religious demographics of Turkey skew heavily towards Sunni Muslims, while a sizeable minority—20%—of the nation’s citizens are Kurdish. The primary language, especially in metropolitan areas, is Turkish.

Turkey’s culture is known for being one of the friendliest and most hospitable in the world. Tourism is one of its main industries, along with textiles, electronics, mining, and a few others. Visitors flock to Turkey because of its spectacular seaside resorts and its rich historical treasures.

Turkey Landmarks

*Aphrodisias
This site is one of the newest World Heritage Sites listed by UNESCO; it was added in 2017. This is the home of an ancient town where the Temple of Aphrodite was located. Here you’ll find a museum, a Roman stadium, and marble quarries.

*Archaeological Site of Ani
Located in northeast Turkey on the border of Armenia, this shows well-preserved medieval architecture like a palace, churches, city walls, and rock structures, all surrounded by beautiful scenery.

*Archaeological Site of Troy
These ruins are among the most famous in the world, and date back approximately 4,000 years. Excavations here began in 1870, and have revealed monuments, public buildings, a citadel, burial mounds, and much more.

*Bursa and Cumalikizik
The city of Bursa and the village of Cumalikizik are in the Marmara region of the country, and illustrate the early architecture and way of life in the Ottoman Empire. You can see how the city was planned and developed, with mosques and kulliyes, or the social units of the time.

*Çatalhöyük
This Neolithic settlement is believed to have been founded around 7500 B.C. Archaeological excavations have revealed houses typical of that time period, along with sculptures, wall paintings, and more.

*City of Safranbolu
Safranbolu is in the Black Sea region and was formerly a main stop on a caravan route. Today you can see Ottoman houses and other buildings from the era.

*Diyarbakir Fortress and Hevsel Gardens Cultural Landscape
The defensive walls of this Roman fortress are the longest and widest in the world after those found on the Great Wall of China. The nearby Hevsel Gardens are found between the fortress and the Tigris River, and were home to an ancient settlement.

*Ephesus
Located in the Anatolia region, this city dates back to ancient Greece and contains the Temple of Artemis (one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World), along with the Library of Celsus and a 25,000-seat theatre.

*Great Mosque and Hospital of Divrigi
This World Heritage Site was built in the 1200s. The intricately designed mosque is in the medieval Anatolian style, along with the adjoining hospital.

*Hattusha
This archaeological site dates back to early history, specifically the Bronze Age, at the time of the Hittites—it was the capital of their empire. These ruins show the ancient style of urban organization.

*Historic Areas of Istanbul
The district of Fatih in Istanbul is home to these historically valuable sites, like the Hagia Sophia, the Walls of Constantinople, the Sultan Ahmed Mosque, and others.

*Nemrut Dag
This mountain in southeast Turkey features carved statues surrounding the site of a mausoleum, believed to be that of Antiochus I, who lived in the first century B.C.

*Pergamon
This ancient Greek city was at the center of trading routes over both land and sea. It was most influential during the Hellenistic period. It’s home to the famous Great Altar and a massive ancient library.

*Selimiye Mosque
This Ottoman-era mosque is located in the city of Edirne, and showcases breathtaking architecture and artwork that is considered to be unsurpassed in value.

*Xanthos-Letoon
As the capital of ancient Lycia, Xanthos and its adjoining settlement, Letoon, form an archaeological complex which showcases the culture and architecture of the Lycian civilization.