Because of its location, Turkey was a region through
which ancient Asian Turkish culture moved into Europe,
and also a window of Western culture opening to meet
Turkey is surrounded by the Mediterranean Aegean and
Black Sea which connects the country to the whole
world. Three of the four - Black, Aegean and Mediterranean
Sea – flow into the Atlantic Ocean. The Sea
of Marmara, between the Black Sea and the Aegean,
is within the borders of Turkey. Because of these
long coastal borders and the bridge between Asia and
Europe, Turkey has been the centre of major commercial
and migration routes.
Turkey is considered a high-altitude country, as the
mountains cover the majority of the land, there is
a significant area which is made up of plains, plateaus
and sediment areas. These geographical variations
mean that the climate is also varied, and affects
the location of settlements and economic conditions.
Turkey is separated into seven major geographic regions
according to climate, natural plantation and distribution
of the agricultural activities.
A BRIEF ON HISTORY
Turkey is one of the most ancient settlement
areas of the world as four seasons are encountered
on this fruitful land on which thousands of natural
At the archeological excavations in the Karain cave
near Antalya, various traces relevant with the lower,
intermediate and upper periods of Paleolithic Age
were found. The Paleolithic Age is generally accepted
to start two million years before the present time
and ended ten thousand years ago.
The most developed Neolithic Age settlement of the
Ancient Near-east and Aegean is Çatalhöyük,
which is 52 km southeast of Konya Province. Anatolia
has entered Bronze Age by the end of 4000 BC.
The inscribed history period of Anatolia began by
1950 BC. The Hittites has founded the first state
governed by the central system in Anatolia at 1750
BC. The traces and the art work belonging to Hittites
are obtained from the archeological excavations carried
in Boğazköy, Alacahöyük, Eskiyapar,
İnandık, Maşathöyük, Kargamış,
Zincirli, Arslantepe, Karatepe, Sakçagözü
and in various places which were under the reign of
After destroying the Hittite Empire, Frigs have gained
the dominance over some regions of Anatolia between
1200-700 BC. Their government center was Gordion,
at the vicinity of Ankara. Urartus, founding a state
around Van Lake with their capital as Tuşba (Van)
at the beginning of 1000 BC has added important works
of art to our cultural heritage.
By the end of the 2000 BC, as a result of the Dorian
migrations, the first Hellenist colonies begin to
settle at the western parts of Anatolia. The effect
of Ionian civilization had significantly increased
in Western Anatolia after the 1050 BC. Karia, Lycia
and Lydia Civilizations had their brightest and most
advanced periods between VII- VI. Centuries BC. The
Lydians –the inventor of the currency in the
form of coins- founded a state at the central parts
of the Aegean Region around 700 BC with the capital
city of Sardes. Although the Lydian Civilization was
destroyed by Persians in 546 BC it continued to effect
Anatolia until 300 BC. During the reign of Persians
in the western Anatolia, Greco- Persian Style art
works were established.
After the invasion of Anatolia by Alexander the Great,
the Hellenistic Period (333-30 BC) began. During this
period, the cities of the Aegean Region was ornamented
by architectural art works. After 30 BC, there was
a major cultural improvement under the reign of Roman
Empire. As the Roman Empire was divided into two in
395, the Byzantine period began in Anatolia and the
art works were adapted to this culture. Parallel to
the spreading of the Christianity, there was a significant
increase in the religious structures and works. The
Byzantine period ended in 1453, after the conquest
of Istanbul by the Turks.
The Turks begin to settle in Anatolia starting from
the beginning of the XI. Century during the period
of Great Seljuk Empire. During the period of the Seljuks
(1075-1318), the older cities were repaired and ornamented
with new structures and also new settlements were
founded. The priority was set to the religious architecture
required by Islam, education institutions and hospitals.
The Ottomans, which founded a state in 1299 to became
an empire, had obtained the unification in Anatolia
in the period of Fatih Sultan Mehmet. During the ascension
period which begins with Fatih Sultan Mehmet, the
borders of the empire reached from the inner parts
of Iran to Central Europe and from Crimea to Northern
Africa. The Ottoman Empire carried its own culture
to these newly conquered lands while absorbing the
admired elements of the local culture into its own.
Therefore, a rich cultural mosaic is founded.
Starting from the XVIII. Century, The effects of European
culture on the Ottoman culture is seen.
After the Turkish Independence War under the command
of Atatürk, Republic of Turkey was founded in
29 October 1923. The Republic of Turkey took over
a rich cultural heritage from the Ottoman Empire.
Atatürk initiated important studies about enlightening,
preserving and presenting of this rich heritage. He
founded Turkish Language and History Institutions.
He founded and flourished education in Faculty of
Language, History and Geography and reverted Topkapı
Palace and Ayasofya (Hagia Sophia) into museums.
Turkey has united its natural beauties with its cultural
heritages and therefore made great improvements in
the tourism field. The remains and works of ancient
cultures other than Turkish background are preserved
and great importance is paid to these art works. The
Ephesus Arthemis Temple and Halikarnassos Bodrum Mausoleum,
which are counted among the seven wonders of the world,
were once inside the borders of Turkey. Sadly,the
remaining parts of these two unique wonders are displayed
at the major museums all around the world.