Turkey tourist information
Tourism in Turkey is focused largely on a variety of historical sites, and on seaside resorts along its Aegean and Mediterranean Sea coasts. In the recent years, Turkey has also become a popular destination for culture, spa, and health care tourism. In 2010, Turkey attracted more than 28.6 million foreign tourists.
Istanbul is one of the most important tourism spots not only in Turkey but also in the world. There are thousands of hotels and other tourist-oriented industries in the city, catering to both vacationers and visiting professionals. Turkey's largest city, Istanbul, has a number of major attractions derived from its historical status as capital of the Byzantine and Ottoman Empires. These include the Sultan Ahmed Mosque (the "Blue Mosque"), the Hagia Sophia, the TopkapÄ± Palace, the Basilica Cistern, the DolmabahÃ§e Palace, the Galata Tower, the Grand Bazaar, the Spice Bazaar, and the Pera Palace Hotel. Istanbul has also recently became one of the biggest shopping centers of the European region by hosting malls and shopping centers, such as Metrocity, Akmerkez and Cevahir Mall, which is the biggest mall in Europe and seventh largest shopping center in the world. Other attractions include sporting events, museums, and cultural events.
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Beach vacations and Blue Cruises, particularly for Turkish delights and visitors from Western Europe, are also central to the Turkish tourism industry. Most beach resorts are located along the southwestern and southern coast, called the Turkish Riviera, especially along the Mediterranean coast near Antalya. Antalya is also accepted as the tourism capital of Turkey. Major resort towns include Bodrum, Fethiye, Marmaris, KuÅŸadasÄ±, Ã‡eÅŸme, Didim and Alanya.
Lots of cultural attractions elsewhere in the country include the sites of Ephesus, Troy, Pergamon, House of the Virgin Mary, Pamukkale, Hierapolis, Trabzon] (where one of the oldest monasteries is the SÃ¼mela Monastery), Konya (where the poet Rumi had spent most of his life), Didyma, Church of Antioch, religious places in Mardin (such as DeyrÃ¼lzafarÃ¢n Monastery), and the ruined cities and landscapes of Cappadocia.
DiyarbakÄ±r is also an important historic city, although tourism is on a relatively small level due to waning armed conflicts.
Ankara has an historic old town, and although it is not exactly a touristic city, is usually is a stop for travelers who go to Cappadocia. The city enjoys an excellent cultural life too, and has several museums. The AnÄ±tkabir is also in Ankara. It is the mausoleum of AtatÃ¼rk, the founder of the Republic of Turkey.
Characteristics of Turkey's tourists
Foreign tourists mainly come from the United Kingdom, Germany, Ukraine,Romania, Russia and Japan, but tourists from Arab countries, Iran, North America, France and Scandinavia are not uncommon. There seems to be a trend in which British tourists tend to go on holiday to Aegean resorts such as Bodrum or Marmaris, whilst German and Russian tourists almost exclusively go to resorts on the Mediterranean coast of southern Turkey (e.g. Antalya) and Japanese tourists mainly visit Istanbul and historical sites such as Ephesus.
People from Spain have become frequent tourists in recent years. In 2007, 200,000 Spaniards visited Turkey. Most Spaniards book hotels in Istanbul (it is becoming especially popular among them) and many of them also visit Cappadocia.
The coastal areas of Turkey bordering the Aegean Sea and the Mediterranean Sea have a temperate Mediterranean climate, with hot, dry summers and mild to cool, wet winters. The coastal areas of Turkey bordering the Black Sea have a temperate Oceanic climate with warm, wet summers and cool to cold, wet winters. The Turkish Black Sea coast receives the greatest amount of precipitation and is the only region of Turkey that receives high precipitation throughout the year. The eastern part of that coast averages 2,500 millimeters annually which is the highest precipitation in the country.
The coastal areas of Turkey bordering the Sea of Marmara (including Istanbul), which connects the Aegean Sea and the Black Sea, have a transitional climate between a temperate Mediterranean climate and a temperate Oceanic climate with warm to hot, moderately dry summers and cool to cold, wet winters. Snow does occur on the coastal areas of the Sea of Marmara and the Black Sea almost every winter, but it usually lies no more than a few days. Snow on the other hand is rare in the coastal areas of the Aegean Sea and very rare in the coastal areas of the Mediterranean Sea.
Conditions can be much harsher in the more arid interior. Mountains close to the coast prevent Mediterranean influences from extending inland, giving the central Anatolian plateau of the interior of Turkey a continental climate with sharply contrasting seasons.
Winters on the plateau are especially severe. Temperatures of âˆ’30 Â°C to âˆ’40 Â°C (âˆ’22 Â°F to âˆ’40 Â°F) can occur in eastern Anatolia, and snow may lie on the ground at least 120 days of the year. In the west, winter temperatures average below 1 Â°C (34 Â°F). Summers are hot and dry, with temperatures generally above 30 Â°C (86 Â°F) in the day. Annual precipitation averages about 400 millimetres (15 in), with actual amounts determined by elevation. The driest regions are the Konya plain and the Malatya plain, where annual rainfall frequently is less than 300 millimetres (12 in). May is generally the wettest month, whereas July and August are the driest.
Turkey has a very diverse culture that is a blend of various elements of the OÄŸuz Turkic, Anatolian, Ottoman (which was itself a continuation of both Greco-Roman and Islamic cultures) and Western culture and traditions, which started with the Westernization of the Ottoman Empire and still continues today. This mix originally began as a result of the encounter of Turks and their culture with those of the peoples who were in their path during their migration from Central Asia to the West.
As Turkey successfully transformed from the religion-based former Ottoman Empire into a modern nation-state with a very strong separation of state and religion, an increase in the modes of artistic expression followed. During the first years of the republic, the government invested a large amount of resources into fine arts; such as museums, theatres, opera houses and architecture. Diverse historical factors play important roles in defining the modern Turkish identity. Turkish culture is a product of efforts to be a "modern" Western state, while maintaining traditional religious and historical values.
Turkish music and literature form great examples of such a mix of cultural influences, which were a result of the interaction between the Ottoman Empire and the Islamic world along with Europe, thus contributing to a blend of Turkic, Islamic and European traditions in modern-day Turkish music and literary arts. Turkish literature was heavily influenced by Persian and Arabic literature during most of the Ottoman era, though towards the end of the Ottoman Empire, particularly after the Tanzimat period, the effect of both Turkish folk and European literary traditions became increasingly felt. The mix of cultural influences is dramatized, for example, in the form of the "new symbols [of] the clash and interlacing of cultures" enacted in the works of Orhan Pamuk, winner of the 2006 Nobel Prize in Literature. According to Konda public opinion researchers, 70% of Turkish citizens never read books.
Architectural elements found in Turkey are also testaments to the unique mix of traditions that have influenced the region over the centuries. In addition to the traditional Byzantine elements present in numerous parts of Turkey, many artifacts of the later Ottoman architecture, with its exquisite blend of local and Islamic traditions, are to be found throughout the country, as well as in many former territories of the Ottoman Empire. Mimar Sinan is widely regarded as the greatest architect of the classical period in Ottoman architecture. Since the 18th century, Turkish architecture has been increasingly influenced by Western styles, and this can be particularly seen in Istanbul where buildings like DolmabahÃ§e and Ã‡Ä±raÄŸan Palaces are juxtaposed next to numerous modern skyscrapers, all of them representing different traditions.