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A complete Guide to visiting Turkey

Turkey is a country of diversity, stunning scenery, warm hospitality, and a whole range of resorts and activities to suit all tastes. A country spanning two continents where east meets west and 10,000 years of civilisation, Turkey is a treasure trove of history and culture. Weather in Turkey - Southern Mediterranean and Aegean Coasts Turkey's Mediterranean and Aegean coasts boast a perfect Mediterranean climate with low humidity. The long, extended summer runs between May and October with temperatures ranging from the low 20°Cs at the beginning and end of the season, up to the mid 30°Cs in the hottest months of July and August. During spring, the scent of citrus blossoms fills the air, the hills and valleys are green with vegetation and the cool, sunny days are ideal for hiking and sightseeing. During the autumn months it is a pleasure to visit historical and natural sites in the cool weather or to buy up bargains at end-of-season sales! Winters tend to be mild with some sun, and occasional showers, and it is not unusual to be able to swim in the sea even in November.

Turkish Culture The mix of cultural influences and traditions in Turkey is one of the things that draw tourists to the country. Turkey has a rich cultural heritage with a long history of influences from both Europe and Asia, which is reflected in the complexity and diversity of certain Turkish arts, language and handicrafts. Turks are proud of their centuries-old musical tradition, which is similar to the music of nearby Islamic regions such as Saudi Arabia, Iran, and northern India. A cosmopolitan nation, Turkey has also adopted and developed ideas and traditions that combine Western, Asian, and Arabic elements. The Family Turkish family units are extremely important.

Children often stay with their families until they get married and then continue to be the main focus of their families' lives. Grandparents are often available to look after the children allowing the parents to go out to work. There is a great respect for elders in Turkish Culture and you can often see the younger generation kissing an elder's hand and then touching the forehead as a sign of respect. Turkish Women Equal rights for women were officially added to the civil code in 2002, so women now have equal say in relation to family matters and property and assets are divided equally in the event of a divorce. Women no longer need their husbands consent to obtain jobs and they are also entitled to continue using their maiden name if they wish once they are married. The Evil Eye The 'evil eye' is an ancient belief and is one of the most widespread superstitions in Turkey. It is believed that the 'evil eye' is created by feelings of extreme envy towards a person or object and that it can cast a spell on the object of it's gaze bringing bad fortune. The 'nazar boncuk' or 'evil eye bead' is actually a benevolent eye used to ward off harm and evil. It can be seen providing protection everywhere - in homes and buildings, in the car, and they are even worn by babies and young children. Hamam The Hamam, or Turkish Bath, was a Roman and Byzantine tradition which was adopted by the Selcuk Turks in the 11th century and has been part of the Turkish Culture and a way of life ever since.

It claimed an important role in society as not only was it a place where the faithful could follow the Muslim precept of cleanliness, it was also a place in which to socialize, gossip and even talk business or politics. The exfoliation, bathing and massage routine provide both a relaxing and exhilarating experience. Today Hamams can be found in most Turkish towns and cities and are they are popular with both locals and tourists alike. Family Holidays in Turkey Turks love children and always extend a warm welcome to our young holidaymakers. There are many activities in Turkey which will keep children happy, the most popular being spending time on the gently shelving beaches which are ideal for families. For the more active, walking, horse riding, cycling and watersports are available. Did you know? Turkey is home to two of the Seven Wonders of the World, the temple of Artemis at Ephesus, and the Mausoleum at Halicarnassus (present day Bodrum) St Nicholas, popularly known as Santa Claus, was born and lived in Turkey Noah's Ark is said to have landed at Mount Ararat in Eastern Turkey Turkey provides 70% of the world's hazelnuts Gave the English language many words including chock-a block, turquoise, yoghurt, kismet, kilim and parchment Turkey first introduced tulips to Holland and today still supplies tulips worldwide. The tulip is also Turkey's national flower Turkey was the first ever land to mind and use coins 2700 years ago by the Lydians Turkey has the world's first female Supreme Court Judge, and gave the women the right to vote in 1934 Religion Whilst the population of Turkey is about 99% Muslim, the country is a secular state which allows complete freedom of worship to non-muslims. Tourists visiting coastal resorts are unlikely to see much evidence that they are in a Muslim country, except for the call to prayer which can be heard 5 times per day. If visiting a mosque, dress conservatively and avoid visiting during prayer times or on Fridays, the holy day.

On the coast, dress is generally relaxed beachwear for locals and tourists alike. It is only in smaller villages, more remote areas and the east of the country that the dress codes are more formal and more traditional. During Ramadan, or Ramazan, as it is known in Turkey, some locals may fast from sunrise to sunset. This is quite relaxed in the resort areas and should not have any affect at all to visitors. Public Holidays in Turkey Government offices and banks will be closed on public holidays, but life in the resort areas continues much as usual. Money exchange bureaux and most shops and restaurants open as normal. History of Turkey Historically known as Asia Minor or Anatolia, this vast region reflects a remarkable and fascinating history with settled habitation dating back to the eighth millennium BC. Anatolia has seen virtually every major western civilisation come and go including the Assyrians, Hittities, Phrygians, Urartian, Greeks and Romans. Treasured artefacts, including what is believed to be the first landscape picture ever painted were left behind and are displayed at Ankara's Museum of Anatolian Civilisations. Many of the museums' artefacts are the only clues we have to the earliest civilisations.

Some of the finest sites emerged from the Hellenistic period such as the remains of ancient Troy and the ruined settlements of Lycia. The most impressive of them all is ancient Ephesus. It is believed that the Virgin Mary spent her last days in a small house on the edge of Ephesus whilst St John the Evangelist came to look after her. Now a place of Pilgrimage for Roman Catholics, the house has received the official sanction of the Vatican. In 560 BC the King of Persia, Cyrus, conquered everybody and everything and soon subjected the Aegean cities to his rule. However, 200 years later they were defeated by Alexander the Great. He led the Macedonians eastward across Anatolia as far as India in pursuit of gaining the domination of Asia. Sure enough, he rapidly conquered the entire Middle East, from Greece to India. Following its conquest by Rome in the 2nd century BC, Asia Minor enjoyed centuries of peace.


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