The ancient Ottoman Empire lasted until the end of World War I and the founding of the Republic of Turkey in 1923, following the devastating War of Independence. Atatürk was the founder of the new Republic.
Turkey is a democratic secular state, and a country that is developing thanks to the economic policy it has followed since 1923 and that has turned it into a vital part of the western world. Tourism is the mainstay of the Turkish economy, as the country boasts one of the world’s most outstanding historical legacies, combined with stunning natural landscapes.
The modern capital is Ankara, although Istanbul (formerly Constantinople) is the country’s historic capital, and also the country’s financial, economic and cultural hub.
Istanbul is a must for anyone planning to visit Turkey. It is the only city in the world that straddles two continents: Europe and Asia. It is a fascinating melting pot of Eastern and Western civilisations. And it is this rich cultural diversity that visitors find most fascinating. Indeed, it is the site of a seemingly endless number of museums, churches, palaces, vast mosques, bazaars and breathtaking natural landscapes.
Istanbul lines both sides of the Bosphorus Strait, which joins the Marmara and Black seas, separating the European and the Asian sides. In turn, a seven kilometre channel, known as the Golden Horn, divides the European part of the city into two.
When in Istanbul, apart from taking a boat trip along the Bosphorus, make sure you don’t miss the Blue Mosque, the Kariye Museum, Hagia Sophia, the Galata Tower, Topkapi Palace, the Binbirdirek Cistern, or Leander’s Tower, to name just a few of the marvels to be seen in this city. And of course, if you love shopping, then you should head straight for the Grand Bazaar. If you haven’t paid at least one visit, then you can’t say you’ve been to Istanbul!
Outside Istanbul, in the heart of the country, lies the region of Cappadocia. I strongly recommend spending a couple of days exploring this region and admiring its lunar landscapes and countless treasures: the churches of Goreme Valley, the troglodyte cave-cities of Uchisar, Ortahisar, Cavusin, Avanos, Goreme… the fairy chimney rock formations, the Valley of Zelve, the Byzantium cave churches, the dovecots of the Soganli Valley and underground cities. Cappadocia was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1985.
In south-west Turkey, on the Mediterranean coast, lies the city of Antalya, perched on top of a cliff overlooking the sea. Antalya is also the name of the province that boasts one of the country’s largest bays: the Gulf of Antalya. Its more than 1,100,000 inhabitants have witnessed the development of this city which has been a major international tourist destination for the last 30 years, attracting numerous visitors who are enthralled by the spectacular cliffs and mountains that surround the city. You’ll also find numerous mosques, churches, madrasahs and hammams. Kaleici, the port where the city walls end, is the oldest part of the city. Here you’ll find the minarets of Yivli Minare and Kesik Minare, as well as numerous historical buildings featuring traditional Turkish architecture.
“IBEROSTAR Hotels & Resorts has a 5 star hotel in Antalya. The IBEROSTAR Bellis, offering an all-inclusive accommodation option, is situated in a prime seafront location and sheltered by a leafy wood. The facilities are quite simply superb and include several pools, restaurants and bars, a disco, theatre, cinema, spa, children’s play areas, plus a host of other options to make sure that you have everything you could possibly wish for during your stay in Turkey.”