Country - Turkey

Turkey

Turkey Country Information

Turkey is a republic that straddles on both the continents Asia and Europe, with a larger part of it occupying in western Asia. The country has its smaller territorial presence in Balkan Peninsula in southeast Europe. The northern border is a coastline with Black Sea and the southern border is in contiguity with the Mediterranean Sea. Georgia and Armenia lie to the north east of Turkey, Iran in the east and Iraq and Syria share the southern frontier. The Azerbaijani exclave of Nakhchivan is in the west. The northwestern tip is shared by Greece and Bulgaria.

Ankara is the political capital of Turkey but the main economic, cultural and historic center is the city of Istanbul which is the largest metropolis by population estimated as over 15 million at the end of 2017. Originally known as Byzantine, the city of Istanbul was called Constantinople till 1924. The Bosporus strait rips off Istanbul city into two parts and separates Europe and Asia, joining the Sea of Marmara and the Black Sea. The commercial and historical center of Istanbul is lopsided toward Europe.

Turkish is the official language of the country and about 82% of the population follows Islam. Thirteen percent of remaining population is found to be irreligious and 2% make for Christians and the balance belongs to others. As per the estimates of 2017, the total population was nearing 81 million with an average density of population of 105 people per square kilometer. The per capita GDP (nominal) was US$7615 as estimated in 2019.

Turkey’s economy was badly hit by the economic meltdown in 2008 and the country saw a steep decline in exports.  The country exported goods worth US$ 156 billion and imported US $186 billion in 2016 resulting in a trade deficit of about US $30 billion. The main items of exports were gold, cars, delivery trucks, vehicle spare parts and T-shirts. The top imports included machinery, transport equipment, electrical appliances, manufactured goods of iron and steel, mineral fuels and lubricants.

The iconic monument of Turkey, Hagia Sofia, which had been originally a patriarchal cathedral of Orthodox Christianity was later converted into a Mosque by Ottomon Empire. It is the main abode for the tombs of five Sultans Mehmed III, Selim II, Murad III, Ibrahim I and Mustafa I. The monument is not only iconic for Istanbul but also for the country Turkey. Nowadays, it is used more as a museum exhibiting various designs of Byzantine architecture.

Ephesus is regarded as the ancient city of Gods, built in 10th century B.C., which had a population of between 33000 to 56000 people. The aqua ducts for draining water can be seen in a semi-buried state. The Odeon is an amphitheatre which was constructed in 2nd century A.D., and stands as an evidence of the superior civil engineering skills of the bygone era. The site is thickly littered with dilapidated ruins of solitary pillars and carved arches. The frontal façade of library of Celsus is the only surviving structure today that attracts tourists in large numbers.

Cappadocia is a semi-arid terrain in central Turkey. The landscape is marked by numerous half-finished buildings carved on the surface of rocks.   In order to have a quick view of the vast area, innumerable hot air balloons take visitors letting them watch the innumerable ancient constructions. At certain places, the semi-finished buildings look more haunting like grottos of eerie spirits.

Sumela Monastery is dedicated to Virgin Mary by Greek Orthodox Christians in 386 A.D. This entire place looks like a vast forlorn city built on the steep slopes of a single mountain. The ancient buildings, though look uninhabited, are filled up with thoroughfare of numerous tourists.

Mount Nemrut is an ancient landscape scattered with gigantic statue-heads sculpted during the era of the late Hellenistic King who ruled between 69 – 34 B.C.  The colossal statue-heads of various Armenian and Greek Gods, kings, eagles and lions lying on the rocky sand reach a height of 20 to 30 feet and arrest the attention of onlookers by admirable sculpting skills.

The ancient city of Aspendos is ironically more famous than the modern city of the same name, which is 25 miles apart. The prehistoric city is home to the mega-amphitheatre built by the local architect Zenon under the aegis of Marcus Aurelius in 155 A.D. Tourists watch the behemoth stadium wondering how far-sighted and technically intelligent the builders were in the days of extreme antiquity, in the absence of modern architectural tools.

The Apollo Temple at Didyma is said to be the gift given by Anthony to Cleopatra in the 2nd century A.D. While most of the structure has disappeared during the course of time, the main tall pillars still remain intact and the site manages to retain its graceful look even today. The temple was dedicated to the Roman Deity Apollo, the God of Sun and Light, Music and Poetry.

Turkey has plethora of ancient monuments that reflect the Roman legacy, Persian, Armenian, Arabic and Byzantine culture. What deserves sincere appreciation is the preservation and restoration of ancient heritage by the country. Turkey promises to be the most appealing land on the planet for history buffs as well as those who prefer reveling and raving in hi-fi modern life.