As a meeting point between Europe and the East, Turkey has long held an allure for people from all continents. Over 8,000 years of human history can be traced here from the farmers who first used the fertile land, via the Ottoman Empire and Silk Road through to the present day contrasts of cultures, opinions and flavours.
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A swirl of colours, flavours and fragrances, you can feel the different influences on the streets of Turkey. Less than five percent of the country sits on European soil, but almost twenty percent of the country’s population live in this small section. Capital city Istanbul accounts for around thirteen million of those people and is growing rapidly. The city is Turkey’s cultural capital, in contrast to Ankara’s political dominance.
Once known as Byzantium, then Constantinople and, since 1930, Istanbul, it has long been one of the world’s key trading and cultural hubs. You will discover a truly individual city, with art, music and cuisine influenced by all that has come and gone over the years. Taste the Arabic and Mediterranean influences in the astonishing local cuisine, sit down to puff on a Nargile (the Turkish name for a Hookah pipe) and settle in for some serious people watching. Izmir, in the far west, offers another way to explore Turkish culture. The pearl of the Aegean coast is known throughout the region for its liberal, western outlook and is home to four universities.
Turkey fascinates, intrigues and seduces in equal measure. And then there are the sublime beaches... Return to introduction...