Lying at the crossroads between Europe and Asia at the entrance to the Black Sea, Turkey fascinates with its countless natural and historical attractions, rich culture, welcoming and passionate people and delectable food. Its extraordinary importance throughout history remains as strong as ever today
Though most of its fast-growing population of 80 million citizens are Muslim, Turkey is officially a secular state. Western lifestyles coexist alongside age-old traditions, from camel wrestling to whirling dervishes. As you stroll Istanbul’s cosmopolitan streets, you’re as likely to see a pair of skin-tight designer jeans as a headscarf or a fez. 

The political capital of Turkey is Ankara, but Istanbul remains an important economic centre – as it was during its former status as capital of the Eastern Roman and Ottoman empires and a major Silk Road trading hub. The city’s iconic skyline encompasses some of the world’s most spectacular buildings, from Hagia Sophia to the Blue Mosque.

With around 8,000km of coastline bordering four different seas, Turkey is clearly not only about business and buildings. On the western Aegean coast, popular resorts Çeşme and Bodrum mark the start of the Turquoise Coast, a chain of sun-kissed beaches running southeast towards the Mediterranean city of Antalya. Near Çeşme is the UNESCO-protected archaeological site of Ephesus. Its Greek, Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman ruins reveal the richness of Turkey’s history.

Turkey’s natural wonders are just as jaw-dropping. Inland from the Aegean coast at Pamukkale, mineral-rich thermal waters form dramatic pools on a hillside lined with white travertine terraces. In the country’s vast, dry centre, the Cappadocia region is famed for surreal rock formations known as 'fairy chimneys’. 

Many count Turkish cuisine and craftsmanship as two more of the country’s many wonders. Kebabs, meze platters, flaky börek pastries and lahmacun pizzas have spread across the world, as have traditional Turkish products from hand-knotted carpets to ceramics, jewellery and textiles.

Whether it’s business or a beach holiday that takes you to Turkey, the country will captivate you with its natural beauty, history, cuisine and crafts – and its sense of constant transformation.
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