* Istanbul is the 18th biggest city in the world metropolises.
TURKEY has been called “the cradle of civilization” and one can discover what this literally means only by traveling in this land of history. The world’s first town, a neolithic city at Çatalhöyük, dates back to 6500 BC. From the days of Çatalhöyük up to the present time Turkey boasts of a rich culture that through the centuries has left a lasting foot-print on modern civilization. Being the heir of many centuries of culture makes Turkey a paradise of knowledge and a cultural heritage. Hattis, Hittites, Phrygians, Urartians, Lycians, Ionians, Persians, Macedonians, Romans, Byzantines, Seljuks and Ottomans have all occupied crucial places in the historical background of Turkey and ancient sites and ruins scattered throughout the country give proof to each civilization’s unique distinction. Turkey, a country of the most strategic importance in the world due to its geopolitical location, is at the crossroads of Asia, Europa and Africa “the Lands of the Old World”. This country, enjoying a wealth divine gifts of all kinds of scenic wonders, is a unique bridge between all faiths as well as Eastern and Western civilizations. 11 sites of our country have been included in UNESCO’s World Heritage List. In our Temporary List which has been submitted to UNESCO World Heritage Center, there are 37 sites in total; 2 of them are mixed (cultural and natural) and 35 of them are cultural.
* Safranbolu, Karabük
* Xantos, Antalya
Turkish is the official language. English is also widely understood in the main tourist areas.
Turkish Cuisine Turkish Cuisine
Turkish food is famous throughout the world, the range is enormous, from a number of soups to an astonishing variety of meze (appetisers), followed by meat and fish dishes, many famous Turkish sweets and pastries and Turkish coffee. The traditional breakfast is a scrumptious combination of tastes comprising bread, olives, tomato, cucumber, white cheese, butter, jam/honey, yoghurt, and sweet black tea.
Tea is the main drink in Turkey, served without milk in small bulbous glasses with sugar lumps on the saucer. For a very refreshing long drink try Ayran, a mix of yoghurt, water and salt. There are also the normal soft drinks and a wonderful range of squeezed fruit juices. Among alcoholic drinks are light Turkish beer, excellent wines, and the national drink, raki (an anisette), which clouds when water is added giving it the popular name of ‘lion’s milk’.
National Anthem: İstiklal Marşı (The Independence Hymn)
Lyrics by : M.Akif Ersoy, Music composed by : Zeki Üngör
The “İstiklal Marşı” (“The Independence Hymn”) was officially adopted as Turkey’s National Anthem on March 12, 1921. 724 poems were submitted to a competition organized to find and select the most suitable original composition for this March, and a poem written by the poet Mehmet Akif Ersoy was adopted unanimously by the Turkish Grand National Assembly. Twenty-four composers participated in another competition arranged for the selection of a musical composition for the National Anthem. The Council, which was only able to convene in 1924, due to the War of Independence adopted the music composed by Ali Rıfat Çağatay. The words of the National Anthem were sung to this music for eight years. Thereafter, the music of the National Anthem was changed to an arrangement written by Zeki Üngör, conductor of the Presidential Symphonic Orchestra, and the words of the National Anthem have been sung to this musical accompaniment ever since.