Turkey: An endless poem
In Turkey, daily life consists on the one hand of conforming to the needs of the time, and on the other of cherishing
the traces and colors of thousands of years of cultural accumulation. These lands embrace at any moment the
mystery of the past through the existence of the statues of gods and goddesses, temples, theaters, agoras, churches,
mosques, medresseh, palaces …
Turkey is one of the places on earth where several religions were born. There are many significant religious sites
and centers scattered throughout Asia Minor.
Turkey is a country where all the colors find definition. Here, nature means diversity. Mountain and plain, forest
and wilderness, sun and snow… Contrasts turn into fascinating forms of beauty. Surrounded with the crystal clear
waters of the Mediterranean Sea from three directions, Turkey generously offers 8000 km of beautiful shores.
There, time transcends into history. Time gains meaning with people. Because of its geographical location, the
mainland, Anatolia, has witnessed the mass migration of diverse peoples shaping the course of history. Twentyfour
fascinating civilizations render Turkey the heir of 10.000 years old history, which has still been examined
for further ancient secrets to be brought up into daylight.
Did you know that Turkey..?
• Is known as the cradle of civilization-in fact, for many civilizations since 9000 BC.
• Is central to Eurospe, Asia and the Middle East.
• Is a long-time member of NATO (since 1952).
• Is surrounded with seas known as the Black Sea, the Aegean Sea, the Mediterranean Sea.
• Is also acknowledged as Asia Minor; the Asian side of Turkey is referred to as Anatolia.
• Held grounds for the first known Human Rights Declaration in 1463, 485 years before the Universal
Declaration of Human Rights.
• Is where Alexander the Great cut the intricate Gordian knot-a phrase commonly used for “solving difficult
• Is the birthplace of King Midas; the touch of Midas was said to turn everything into gold.
• Is the original, and again today’s, destination of the well-renowned romantic train: The Orient Express.
• Was the center of two of the biggest empires in history, Byzantine and Ottoman.
• Has a 650 year old shopping mall-the famous Grand Bazaar.
covered shopping area of 64 streets, 22 entrances, 25.000 workers and is
• Is the birthplace and home of St. Nicholas, popularly known as Santa Claus.
• Is a secular Republic, founded in 1923, after the collapse of the Ottoman Empire.
• Is where Noah’s Ark landed, at Mount Ararat, Eastern Turkey.
• Is the location for two of the Seven Wonders of the World-the Temple of Artemis and the Mausoleum of
• Has 3500 periodical publications, 1056 radio stations and 280 TV channels.
• Has a historical background in three of the world’s major religions-Christianity, Judaism and Islam.
• Preserves the most valuable silk carpet in the world, in Mevlana Museum, with 144 knots per sq.cm. In
the 13th century, Marco Polo wrote “The best and handsomest of rugs are woven here and also silks of
crimson and other rich colors.”
• Is said to have provided the water for the Garden of Eden-from its 2 great rivers-Euphrates and Tigris.
• Is the birthplace of St. Paul-for centuries, the sick have drunk from the well of St. Paul, in Tarsus.
• Is the only one country in the world that stretches out to two continents, Eurospe and Asia.
Turkey in Brief
Hospitality is a Turkish Tradition
Hospitality is one of the major attributes of the Turkish Life Style. Following his innate benevolent instincts, The
Turk is a most gracious and generous host. Even the poorest peasants feel the need to host guest in the their best
possible manner. Hospitality is taken to such an extent that a foreigner often feels he is suffering from an overdose
of it after being plied with food and drinks for hours and being unable to refuse anything lest he hurt his host’s
feelings. In addition to ensuring his guest’s comfort, the Turkish people make every effort to converse, no matter
what linguistic barriers might exist.
The Turkish language belongs to Ural-Altaic group and has an affinity to the Finno-Ugrian languages. Turkish
is written in Latin alphabet and is spoken by some 150-200 million people around the world.
98% of the Turkish population is Muslim. However, by constitution, everyone in Turkey has freedom of religion
In Turkey you will find Catholic, Orthodox, Protestant, Armenian churches as well as Synagogues and everyone
is free to practice the religion of his choosing. Istanbul has many areas where people of very different religions
have lived side-by-side for centuries with their practices and customs and continue to do so.
The Turkish Lira is available in notes and coins. The exchange rate is determined daily; several banks and
exchange offices are available. Traveler’s checks can be cashed in most banks. Hotels and many shops and
restaurants accept foreign currency. There is no limit to the amount of foreign currency that travelers can bring
cash. Hotels, most restaurants and shops accept all major credit cards (American Express, VISA, MasterCard
/Euros card, Diners' Club)
Business, Banking & Shopping Hours
Offices and banks are generally open 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM from Monday to Friday, with a break between 12:00
to 1:30 PM
April 23rd National Sovereignty and Children’s Day
May 19th Youth and Sports Day
August 30th Victory Day
October 29th Republic Day
Apart from those mentioned above, there are religious holidays, the dates of which change every year according
to the lunar calendar.
Weight and Measures
Turkey uses the metric system for weight and measures.
220 volt, 50 cycle. Most hotels have an adaptor with 110 volts. Socket type is Eurospean standards.
There are fixed postage rates for letters and postcards. Post offices (PTT) are open between 9:00 AM to 12:00
and 1:30 to 5:00 PM. Hotel concierges also take the mail.
Internet cafes are available all around the city and it is also possible to get Internet connection through the hotel’s
business centers and rooms. Wireless internet is also available in most of the hotels restaurants and cafes.
Public telephones operate with tokens or cards, sold at post offices or some booths. Through some of the public
phones, there is access to AT&T and some other telecommunication networks - please check with your operator
for the latest information. Fax messages can be sent from major post offices, or from the hotel. Cellular telephones
can olso be hired.
Available at taxi stands or hailed on the street. All are yellow and have meters.
Education & Health
Six of the seventy-three state universities in Turkey are located in İstanbul, with faculties offering education in all
subjects, from engineering to fine arts, economics to literature. The general level of education is of high standard.
There are also several foreign schools with the advantage of a second language from early years.
‹stanbul is as much a center from the standpoint of health, with several hospitals fully supplied with modern
Passports & Visas
A valid passport is required for entry to Turkey, the visa procedure is in most cases quite easy; most country
citizens only need to purchase a sticker visa for entry. More detailed information can be obtained from your
nearest Turkish Embassy or www.mfa.gov.tr