Turkey Destination Guide & Country Overview
Republic of Turkey | Türkiye Cumhuriyeti
Turkey is bordered by Bulgaria to the northwest, Greece to the west, Georgia to the northeast, Armenia and Iran to the east, and Iraq and Syria to the southeast. Turkey is also surrounded by many large seas; to the south is the Mediterranean Sea, while the Aegean Sea is to the west, and the Black Sea is to the north.
Turkey is known as the Gateway to the East, as it is the perfect country to combine the Western influences of Europe to its west with the exotic wonders of the Old World in the Asian countries to its east. It is also considered to be in the region known as the Middle East, probably the westernmost of the countries that make up this area.
While in the northern part of the country, it may be easy to assume that you are in a Baltic country, though towards the south and east of the country, the Middle Eastern influence is easily prevalent.
Islam is the religion of most of the inhabitants of the country, with over 97% of the population claiming to be Muslims. However, in cities such as Istanbul, the history of Christianity is easy to see, since the city was once Constantinople, with sites like the Hagia Sophia.
Turkish food is amazing and delicious. The Turks were originally a nomadic people, and as such, they had to learn to live off the land. Many of the dishes, such as the kebabs, are historically what these nomadic peoples used to eat, something over an open fire. Many delectable meats are staples of the Turkish cuisine, especially lamb.
The large cities, especially Istanbul, which has close to 19 million people, can be quite a culture shock for the regular tourist from the western world. However, with an open mind and open heart, you can easily fall in love with the country and its people, and all that they have to offer.