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Thursday 23rd May
Turkey Information - Page 1
The Republic of Turkey is located in South Eastern Europe (the area west of the Bosporus) and South Western Asia. Turkey is bordered by the Mediterranean Sea, the Aegean Sea, Greece, Bulgaria, the Black Sea, Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Iran, Iraq and Syria.

Ankara is the capital city. Istanbul is Turkey's largest city and largest port. Other cities include Adana, Bursa and Izmir.

Turkey can be divided into seven geographical regions: the Mediterranean Region, Aegean Region, Marmara Region, Black Sea Region, Central Anatolia Region, Eastern Anatolia Region and the South Eastern Anatolia Region.

The terrain is mountainous with a central plateau and a narrow coastal plain. Rivers include the Euphrates, Kizilirmak, Sakarya, Tigris and Yesilirmak.

Turkey's weather varies according to region but is generally hot and dry in the summer and cold in the winters.

Turkey's environment is very diverse consisting of mountains, valleys, forests and woodlands, plains, rivers, lakes and coastal areas.

There are a number of national parks and nature reserves; some sites are on the Ramsar list of Wetlands of International Importance. The Society for the Protection of Nature, an independent organisation, is concerned with conserving Turkey's forests, wetlands, freshwater systems, coasts and marine life.

Birds found in the conservation areas include cranes, ducks, geese, gulls, herons and flamingoes. Wild animals living in Turkey are boar, deer, wild goats, mouflon (wild sheep), wolves and wildcats.

Turkey has a very rich architectural heritage. Among its monuments are examples of Greek, Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman architecture.

Ephesus is Turkey's best preserved classical city. It is the site of the Ancient Greek Temple of Artemis, one of the Wonders of the Ancient World.

World Heritage sites include the archaeological site of Troy; Hattusha, the former capital of the Hittite Empire; Xanthos-Letoon, the capital of Lycia; Nemrut Dag, the mausoleum of Antiochus I; the rock sanctuaries of Cappadocia; the thirteenth century Great Mosque and the Hospital of Divrigi, and the City of Safranbolu.

With the fall of the Byzantine Empire, the Ottoman Empire made Constantinople (Istanbul) its capital. The Ottomans converted many of the Christian churches into mosques, including the church of St Sophia built by the Emperor Constantine.

Chinli Kiosk in Istanbul's Topkapi Palace, built in 1473, was a great influence on Ottoman architecture. Ottoman architects designed baths, libraries, mansions, mosques, palaces, schools, aqueducts and bridges. Mimar Sinan, the Chief Architect to the Sultans (1538-1588), designed over three hundred and thirty buildings including the Suleymaniye Mosque in Istanbul.

The Ottomans were also responsible for many mosques and buildings throughout their Empire in Africa, Asia and Europe.

The population of the Republic of Turkey was estimated at 78,785,548 in 2011.

Turkish is the official language. Other languages spoken include Kurdish, Zaza, Arabic, Armenian and Greek.

Almost all of the Turkish population is Muslim; mostly Sunni Muslim.

Turkish cuisine is a combination of Middle Eastern food (kebabs, pitta bread and houmous) and Mediterranean food, (tomatoes, garlic, olive oil, and grilled meat). Hot peppers, mint, parsley, dill, cumin, and yoghurt are important ingredients in Turkish cuisine. Bread is part of the daily diet.

A meze consisting of a number of small dishes may be served before the main course of a meal. These include slices of melon, feta cheese, pickles, nuts and small portions of fish, salads and vegetables.

Soups, rice and wheat dishes, meats and seafood are prepared with vegetables such as aubergines, artichokes, beans, beetroot, chard, chick peas, cucumbers, mushrooms, onions, peppers and spinach. Stuffed vegetables, meatballs and egg dishes are popular. The kebab, marinated lamb roasted on a spit, is a Turkish favourite.

Milk puddings flavoured with orange, lemon or rose water are popular desserts. Other sweet courses include fresh and stewed fruit: apples, apricots, cherries, figs, melons, peaches, quince and tangerines.

Raki, an anise flavoured spirit, is the national drink. Boza, another traditional alcoholic drink is made from fermented wheat berries. Beer, wines and fruit juices are produced. Turkish coffee is thick and black and tea is prepared over boiling water and served in small glasses.

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