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Hagia-Sophia, Istanbul, Turkey. Author Arild Vågen. Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike
Hagia-Sophia, Istanbul, Turkey. Author Arild Vågen

Turkey: land of ancient civilization

Turkey (Türkiye Cumhuriyeti/Republic of Turkey) is a state located on the Anatolian peninsula, i.e. in Asia Minor by 97% and in the easternmost part of Thrace by 3%, thus bridging Asia with Europe. The country is an unstable parliamentary republic. Turkey borders to the northeast on Georgia and Armenia, to the east on Iran, to the south on Iraq and Syria and to the northwest on Greece and Bulgaria.

The largest and best known city of Turkey is Istanbul, formerly Constantinople, originally known as Byzantium, which is located on both sides of the Bosporus strait in Asia and Europe. The country’s capital is Ankara in the center of the Anatolian plateau. Other major cities are Izmir, Antalya, Adana, Edirne, Bursa, Manisa, Alexandretta, Antioch, Konya and Erzurum.

Most of Turkey is mountainous. Its center is formed by the large Anatolian plateau, while the mountains rise up all around. To the south lie the Taurus Mountains, the largest mountain range in Turkey, which seperates the Mediterranean coast from Anatolia. Here are the mountains Bolkar Daglari with 3.585 meters and the Ala Daglari with 3.734 meters.

Turkey Map

Turkey Map

To the north of Anatolia towards the Black Sea lie the mountains of Pontus, reaching almost 4,000 meters by Kaçkar Dagi with 3,937 meters. At the eastern end of the country near the great Lake Van with 3,738 square kilometers, located at over 1,600 meters above sea level, there are other mountain ranges, which reach heights of 3,250 meters with the Bingöl Daglari.

The entire eastern region is a vast plateau with an average altitude of 1,800 meters. This area is characterized by the presence of important volcanic cones. The Süphan Dagi volcano with 4,434 m dominates the northern shores of the majestic Lake Van, but the most imposing volcano is the famous Mount Ararat with 5,165 m, the highest mountain in Turkey, located on the border with Iran and Armenia.

The main rivers of Turkey are the Kizilirmak, Sakarya and the Yesilirmak, which flow into the Black Sea, the Gediz and Büyük Menderes flow into the Aegean Sea and the Euphrates and Tigris flow into the Persian Gulf. Anatolia is rich in salt lakes: the largest ones are the lakes of Van, Tuz and Beysehir.

English text correction by Dietrich Köster. 

  • Area: 779,452 sq km
  • Population:72,600,000
  • State Capital: Ankara
  • Official Language: Turkish.
  • Religion: Islam.
  • Currency: New Turkish Lira (TRY)
  • Time Zone: Turkey belongs to the Eastern European Time Zone. Eastern European Standard Time (EET) is 2 hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time from October to March UTC+2; Summer Daylight Saving Time is UTC+3.

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