Turkey celebrates its National Day on October 29, commemorating the proclamation of the Republic of Turkey, which took place in 1923.
Historical and geographical data
Turks, originally from Central Asia, entered Asia Minor between the ninth and twelfth centuries. The independent state was established through the union of Anatolian Turkish tribes, by Osman I (1281-1326). Until the middle of the 16th century, the Ottoman Empire became an important power and reached the peak of its territorial expansion.
After the dissolution of the Ottoman Empire, the Turkish Republic was founded on October 29, 1923 by Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, who became the first president of modern Turkey (1923-1938).
The European and Asian sides of Turkey have different natural conditions. The European side represents 3% of Turkish territory. The remaining 97% is on Asian territory, and is generally known as Anatolia, surrounded by mountain ranges. In the north there are the Pontic Mountains, and in the south, the Taurus Mountains. The eastern part of Turkey consists of a plateau dominated by large volcanic cones.
Tourism in Turkey
Turkey has great tourism potential, with huge numbers rushing in to see the beautiful country every year. With the summer season lasting for six months a year, Turkey is one of the most popular holiday destinations for tourists from all over the world.
Istanbul is the largest city on the Bosphorus, with countless tourist attractions including the
St. Sophia’s Cathedral, built by Emperor Justinian in the 6th century (527-565), later converted to a mosque (1453) and in 1935 to the Museum of the Blue Mosque (Sultan Ahmad), which includes six minarets, the sixteenth-century Suleiman Mosque with four large minarets, the Galata Tower (120 meters high), the Topkapi Palace (15th century), and the Archaeological Museum which features an impressive collection.
The most important tourist attractions on the Aegean coast are Izmir , the ruins of the city of Troy, Bergama, Sart (old Sardes, the capital of the Lydian Kingdom), Ephesus (Hellenistic, Roman and pagan ruins), Bodrum (the ancient Hallicarnassus, the natal town of Herodotus).
The southern coast (Mediterranean) is well known for its famous resorts in Antalya, Adana (the famous archaeological museum and the stone bridge built by Hadrian), Antioch.
Among the tourist attractions that attract visitors here are Pamukkale, with its unique karstic terrains, the Column of Julian, the tomb of Kamal Ataturk and many others.
Many of Turkey’s monuments are on the UNESCO World Heritage List, such as the historic city of Hattusas, Safranbolu, and and Troy.
The art of cooking and traditional cuisine
Turkish cuisine is one of the best and most famous in the world, and it especially became famous in the last few years. Turkey is one of the few countries in the world that can produce enough food to meet its own needs. This advantage provides Turks with easy access to fresh, locally produced ingredients.
Contrary to popular belief, Turkish cuisine is not generally spicy. Spices and sauces, despite their frequent use, are simple and light and do not overwhelm the natural taste of food. The most popular spices include dill, peppermint, parsley, cinnamon, garlic, cumin and sumac. Yogurt is often used to complement meat and vegetable dishes.
The most common vegetables are: eggplant, onion, beans, tomatoes, garlic, cucumber and lentils. The most popular fruits are grapes, melons, cherries, lemons, figs, plums and various seeds such as peanuts, walnuts, almonds, pine nuts.
Rice and bulgur are often added to various dishes. Olive oil is also widely used, especially in the western part of Turkey where most farms are located. Bread is a staple food in Turkish cuisine and bread types vary widely here, from region to region.
Meat is broadly consumed in Turkey, especially lamb, which is the most widely used type of meat here. Beef and chicken are also important parts of the Turkish cuisine.
Turkish sweets are usually eaten with coffee or as a snack, and the most common dessert is a bowl of fresh seasonal fruits such as strawberries or apricots. Baklava is the most famous Turkish pastry, a multi-layer cake filled with sugar and honey and covered with crushed nuts.
Instead of a dessert, however, you could enjoy a nice cup of Turkish tea or coffee, or the traditional ayran, a yoghurt based refreshing drink.