Geography and mountains
Turkey extends from southeastern Europe to southwest Asia. European Turkey, Turkish Thrace, represents only 3% of its total area but it has the most important city of the country, Istanbul. This region has rolling hills and fertile valleys along the Marmara Sea. On the Asian side, known as Anatolia, we find two different environments, the coast, both Aegean and Mediterranean and Black Sea, and peninsula’s inland. In this second area the plateau has an average altitude of 1.100 meters and its surrounded by orographic reliefs: Pontic mountain ranges in the north near the city of Trabzon, with altitudes above 3900 meters, the Taurus Mountains in the south, whose summits rise above 3,700meters, lower elevations in the west near the Aegean coast, and eastbound the mountains of Armenia, place of the highest mountain in the country, the Ararat (5,615 m) . Another important mountain in the area is Mount Suphan, located near Lake Van. In this area of high seismic activity are born the famous Tigris and Euphrates rivers.
Perhaps the most famous region of the country and the most developed for mass tourism along the coasts of the Aegean and Mediterranean seas and Istanbul. The Cappadocia occupies the central position of the Central Anatolian Plateau, southeast of Ankara, immediately west of the city of Kayseri and east of Tuz Golu salt lake. This place is formed by numerous little valleys, that have curious erosive formations on them, and its spotted with little traditional villages. The rocks molding these valleys are tuff, volcanic ash and basaltic lava coming from the eruption of volcanoes around the region, including Mount Erciyes (3,916 m) and Mount Hasan (3,253 m), the two highest peaks of the Cappadocia.
Turkey has three climatic regions. In the Mediterranean and Aegean coasts we find rainy winters and hot, humid summers. The central plateau has a continental climate, with hot, dry summers and harsh winters. At the peaks and mountains we find an alpine climate with very cold long winters, with snow above 2,000 meters.
Places to visit
Istanbul – The most important and beautiful city of Turkey. This magical city is worth visiting at least three days. Wander about Sultanhamed and be amazed by architectural gems such as the Blue Mosque, Hagia Sophia and Topkapi Palace. Stroll around the old city and the Grand Bazaar, buy tea in the Spice Bazaar, or take a cruise to the Golden Horn and the Bosphorus.
Ephesus and the Greek ruins on the Aegean coast– Ephesus is one of the most spectacular Greek archaeological sites throughout Turkey, there we will find the famous Library of Celsus, Temple of Hadrian and the magnificent theater. Other Greek places worth visiting are Didyma, Miletos and Priene.
Pamukkale – Travertine pools located next to the ruins of Hierapolis delight tourists and visitors.
Antalya and Mediterranean Coast – Impressive beaches with transparent waters will keep you wanting to come back.
The Cappadocia – Anatolian central region offers spectacular valleys formed by erosive fanciful shapes. Its hub is Goreme and from here there are excursions and hiking in valleys as famous as the Valley of the Doves, Rose Valley, White Valley or the Valley of Love. The castle of Uchisar, the underground cities of Derinkuyu and Kaymakli and cave chapels on the Ilhara Valley are also places worth visiting.
Nemrut – Located near Kahta in the southeast region of Turkey, stands the burial mound of King Antiochus I at the top of a mountain at an altitude of 2.134m. This tomb is dominated by spectacular sculptures and stone heads representing the major gods of Greek mythology.
Gaziantep, Sanliurfa and Harran – Cities located very close to the Syrian border. They are mostly Muslim and have beautiful mosques. Harran retains the famous adobe houses as hives.
Trabzon and the coast of the Dead Sea – This area of Turkey is characterized by dense coniferous forests, high mountains with alpine high mountain lakes that are very near the coast of the Dead Sea. It is a small Swiss located at the eastern end of Anatolia.
The Eastern Anatolia – Near Lake Van Agri extends the region with more cultural mix throughout Turkey. In this region come together Ottoman , Armenian, Arabic, Persian and Byzantine traditions and architecture. Here we find the highest and most Biblical mountain in the country the, Ararat, where Noah’s Ark settled at the end of the Flood. At the foot of this mountain rises one of the most beautiful palaces in the area, the Palace of Ishak Phasa, with a mixture of Turkish, Arabic and Mesopotamian architecture.