As the above, profound lyrics demonstrate, Istanbul is not Constantinople. It is however a city of fantastic history, culture and beauty. Called Byzantium in ancient times, the city's name was changed to Constantinople when it was rebuilt by the first Christian Roman Emperor, Constantine. It was renamed again in 1928 as Istanbul, a name which had already been in use for centuries.
The most populous city in Europe, Istanbul forms the financial centre of Turkey and confidently straddles the borders between Asia and Europe as it has for millennia: this is the result when you mix ancient Christendom, a medieval metropolis and the modern Middle East. Situated on either side of the Bosphorus, Istanbul retains its metropolitan status: the city's population is more than 14 million people, making it one of the largest cities in the world.
Istanbul is divided in three by the north-south Bosphorus Strait (İstanbul Boğazı, "the strait of Istanbul"), the dividing line between Europe and Asia, the estuary of the Golden Horn (Haliç) bisecting the western part and the Sea of Marmara (Marmara Denizi) forming a boundary to the south. Most sights are concentrated in the old city on the peninsula of Sultanahmet, to the west of the Bosphorus between the Horn and the Sea. Across the Horn to the north are Galata, Beyoğlu and Taksim, the heart of modern Istanbul, while Kadıköy is the major district on the comparatively less-visited Anatolian side of the city. The Black Sea forms the relatively less developed northern boundary of Istanbul.
The city of Ankara lies in the city center of Anatolian the eastern edge of the great,high Anatolian Plateau,at an altitude of 850 meters.The province is a predominantly fertile wheat steppeland,with forested areas in the northeast.It is bordered by the provinces of Cankırı and Bolu to the north,Eskisehir to the west,Konya and Aksaray to the south and Kırıkkale and Kırsehir to the east
The city was an important cultural,trading and arts center in Roman times and an important trading center on the caravan route to the east in Ottoman times.It had declined in importance by the nineteenth century.It again became an important center when Kemal Atatürk chose it as the base from which to direct the War of Liberation.By consequence of its role in the war and its strategic position,it was declared the capital of the new Republic of Turkey on october 13th,1923.
Ankara hotels, Ankara, famous ballet, theater, opera and folk dance with the regulations, is witnessing a vibrant artistic and cultural life. City, especially the number of listeners that does not at all with the famous Philharmonic Orchestra.
Elazig is the most orderly city of the Eastern Anatolian region, due to its being recently founded with the name of Mamurat-ül Aziz in the 19th century by sultan Abdülaziz to settle some over-population from Harput town. But it's known that the city has a much older history dating back to ancient civilizations of Anatolia; Hurris, Hittites, Urartus, Byzantines, Seljuks and Ottomans. It is situated on a plain near a mountain on 1,020 meters above the sea level and is surrounded by vineyards and gardens. The city today is also a trading center for crops and livestock. It's population is approximately 560.000 (2012). The Keban and Karakaya Dams on the Euphrates (Firat) river and their artificial lakes contribute to the growth and general appearance of this rapidly developing city. Keban lake is the biggest artificial lake of Turkey. It was started to built in 1965 and gave the first electrical currents in 1974. Its yearly production is 7,5billion KW/hour.
The attraction of Elazig is the Byzantine Fortress of the ancient city Harput, 5 kilometers to the north. There are also several mosques of the Seljuk period. Lake Hazar, 25 kilometers south of Elazig, is a fine tranquil site, while Buzluk Cave, 12 kilometers northeast, is an interesting cave, which remains cool in the summers and warm in the winters despite the harsh climate of the city. Situated over the rocks which are dominating the Elazig plain and history of the citadel goes back to Urartu period. There are rooms and secret passageways carved into rocks during the Urartian era in the Citadel. It is known from historical documents the castle was dominated by Romans, Byzantiums and Arabs. According to a legend; milk was used and mixed to the cement of the constructure in order to have a stronger structure therefore citadel also known in some sources as milk castle . Harput Castle many times renovated especially during the principalities period of Anatolia . Castle improved and got bigger with the new parts added in years . The main entrance of the citadel is in the easternside facing to Harput district. Besides main entrance there are 2 gates located in North and Western sides with the Metris and Dag kapi names .
The province of Rize is located inside the Eastern Black Sea Region is the province which displays most of the characteristics of the Region. The province is separated from other regions of Anatolia not only with its geographic structure, but also with its cultural structure. The province of Rize is a very special tourism city with its steep sloped valleys, mountains which you can climb to the peaks, glacier lakes, emerald green plateaus, historical arched bridges and castles and exuberant flowing creeks. Ayder Thermal Spring is among the most important thermal springs of the country. The Andon Mineral water which is located 20 km. distance to the province of Rize attracts the interest of the local folk. The waters of the mineral water spring are colorless, scentless and clear. Also the mineral spring waters of İkizdere – Şimşirli Mineral water and Çayırlı Mineral water are known to cure various diseases.
Districts: Rize (center), Ardeşen, Çamlıhemşin, Çayeli, Derepazarı, Fındıklı, Güneysu, Hemşin, İkizdere, İyidere, Kalkandere, Pazar. The plateaus are densely located at the skirts of the Kaçkar Chain Mountains, at the Çamlıhemşin, Hemşin, and İkizdere districts. These plateaus offer a living beyond the clouds with their well preserved original architecture style plateau houses. Ayder plateau, Upper – Lower Kavron and Anzer Plateaus among these numerous plateaus are declared as Tourism Center. Especially these plateaus become a frequent visiting place for local and foreign tourists. In Rize, summer seasons are cool and winter seasons are mild while all seasons are precipitant
The cabbage and hamsi (anchovy) hold a special place in the region. All meal varieties had been concentrated around these two. Main meal varieties could be counted as; Mısır Ekmeği (Corn Bread), Muhlama (melted cheese), Lahana Sarması (Cabbage Wrapping), Lahana Vurması (Cabbage Beating), Hamsili Ekmek (Bread with Anchovy), Hamsili Pilav (Pilaf with Anchovy) and Laz Pastry. The hand crafts production is still at continuance at the region and is possible to buy wooden and hand crafted products. The socks of Hemşin District, the cloth of Rize (feretiko) are famous textile products. Wickerwork products as tea basket, grape basket, fruit basket and picnic basket could be found extensively in the region. Among other wooden products, boxwood spoon varieties, stools, kemençe (local small three-stringed violin) and model small sailing boat could be counted. One should not forget to buy the famous Anzer honey of the region.
About 180 kilometers (110 miles) west of Kiziltepe, in South Eastern Anatolian region, lies the venerably old towns of Urfa (Sanliurfa). According to both the Bible and Quran it is the birthplace of Abraham before his migration to Canaan, now Palestine. Local Muslim legend differs from that of the other great monotheistic faiths by the intervention of one vicious and cruel King Nimrod, who had Abraham launched from a catapult from the city's citadel to fall into a pile of burning wood. Happily, God intervened, and turned the fire to water and the faggots to fish, and today, the visitor to the town can visit the mosque complex surrounding Abraham's Cave and The Pool of Sacred Fish (Balikligöl) around it. The cruel ruler's giant slingshot is represented by two Corinthian columns still standing atop the citadel.
This is an Anatolian city which has figured in all the religions of the book. Old Testament prophets such as Jethro (Hz. Suayp), Job (Hz. Eyup), Elijah (Hz. Elyasa) and Abraham (Hz. Ibrahim) lived in this city, which in ancient times known as Edessa, and Moses (Hz. Musa) lived in the region for seven years working as a shepherd before returning to Egypt with his staff. It was in Sanliurfa that early Christianswere first permitted to worship freely, and where the first churches were constructed openly. Pagan temples were converted to synagogues, synagogues to churches and churches to mosques, resulting in a uniquely eclectic architecture. Sanliurfa is a city of ancient traditions, old friendships and mystical associations. One of these traditions is gatherings known as 'Sira Geceleri', which bring together people sharing the same pleasures, world views and ideas. The friendships formed there are even stronger than the ties between old school or army friends. Such gatherings take place in one another's houses or in rooms hired for the occasion. The name means literally 'nights by turns', since the members of the group take it in turns to host these events, which have a ceremonial character and are based on a sense of fraternity. When the French occupied Sanliurfa after the First World War, the seeds of resistance were supposedly sown at sira geceleri held by the Group of 12, consisting of members of such leading families of the city as the Bozanogullari and Gullulogullari.
Other traditional activities such as country excursions take place in a similar communal spirit of friendship, with each family contributing different and special home cooked dishes from the famous regional cuisine. Many more customs and traditions make up the rich cultural fabric of the city. In no other Turkish city today do shopkeepers begin the day with a communal prayer wishing their neighbors a prosperous day's trading as they did for centuries, but in Sanliurfa this tradition is still kept alive by the tradesmen of the carpet bedesten (exchange) in Sipahi Pazari. This ancient ceremony and religious ritual in the colorful surroundings of the bedesten is a moving sight.
Known as "Green Bursa", this province with its 2,7 million people (2013) stands on the lower slopes of Uludag (Mount Olympos of Mysia, 2543 m) in the Marmara region of Anatolia. The title "Green" of Bursa comes from its gardens and parks, and of course from its being in the middle of an important fruit growing region. In Bursa there are things you should not miss. First of all you are in the homeland of the delicious "Iskender Kebap", one of the best dishes of world famous Turkish Cuisine. The candied chestnuts (Kestane Sekeri) are a specialty of desserts and have an unforgettable taste. The peaches of Bursa are unique. As for something to purchase; Bursa is a center of the silk trade (since first silk cocoons were brought here with the caravans of the Silk Road) and towel manufacturing. It is also the homeland of the very famous Turkish folklore figures, Karagöz and Hacivat shadow puppets.
Because of its being the first Ottoman capital, Bursa is very rich in religious monuments, mosques, and tombs (Turbe), baths. One of the places to be seen in Bursa is the Yesil Cami (Green Mosque), with its carved marble doorway which is one of the best in Anatolia. It is an elaborate and significant building in the new Turkish style. Just opposite, is the Yesil Türbe (Green Tomb), set in a green garden with an enchanting exterior decorated with turquoise tiles. Near the tomb, the Medrese complex (old theological school) now houses the Ethnographical Museum which certainly deserves visiting. The Yildirim BeyazitMosque is important as it is the first one built in the new Ottoman style and is accompanied by the Emir Sultan Mosque which lies in a peaceful setting. The province is decorated with these monuments, each of which is a masterpiece.
Uludag is the largest and most celebrated winter-sports and skiing center in Turkey. It is 36 kilometers from Bursa and easily accessible by car or cable-car (Teleferik in Turkish). The area is also a national park and is worth a visit at any time of the year. The accommodation is high quality offering the opportunity to enjoy the mountain, with a variety of entertainment and sports activities. On the way up don't miss the 600-year old plain tree.
Konya, 261 km (162 miles) south of Ankara (map), is Turkey's city of Whirling Dervishes, and has been for 800 years. Located right on the ancient Silk Road, Konya has lots to see and do, a number of good hotels, and transport is easy. Located about three hours' drive south of Ankara, it's an extremely old city, its roots going back to the days of the Hittites, who called it Kuwanna. As a Roman city, it was Iconium. Today it is the most religiously conservative city in Turkey—and proud of it. The reason to visit Konya is to see the Mevlana Museum which shelters the tomb of Jelaleddin Rumî (1207-1273), known to his followers as Mevlana (or Rumî), a Muslim poet and mystic and one of the great spiritual thinkers and teachers of all time.
Konya was the capital of the Seljuk Turkish Sultanate of Rum ("ROOM," that is, Rome) which flourished in Central Anatolia from 1071 to 1275. The Seljuks built numerous caravansaraysalong the Silk Road between Cappadocia and Konya, and beyond. Seljuk architecture is outstanding, and numerous great Seljuk buildings—mosques and theological seminaries mostly—are Konya's pride and joy. Konya has a sufficient number of hotels, but if you plan to visit in mid-December, when Şeb-i Aruz, the annual Rumî commemoration ceremonies, pack Konyawith pilgrims, you must be sure to reserve your room well in advance; or, better yet, take a guided tourthat includes Konya and Cappadocia. During the holy month of Ramazan, many restaurants may be closed during daylight hours, and may open only for İftar, the break-the-fast dinner just after sundown. The Mevlevi sema is the Sufi worship ceremony in which the Mevlevi dervishes whirl for a quarter of an hour at a time in their quest for mystical union with the Divine. (Dervishes also whirl in Istanbul.
In fact, Konya is an interesting place any time of year, with its historic buildings and savory slow-roasted mutton Konya kebap, though it can be difficult to get a beer or a glass of wine with dinner (strictly observant Muslimsdo not consume alcoholic drinks at all). About 45 km (28 miles) southeast of Konya lies Çatalhöyük, the famous Neolithic archeological site excavated by James Melaart in the 1950s, and currently under further investigation. As for Konya transportation, daily Turkish Airlines flights connect Konya with Istanbul, and soon a High-Speed Train. There are also dozens of fast, frequent and comfortable dailybuses.
Antalya, Turkey's principal holiday resort in the Mediterranean region (ancient Pamphylia), is an attractive city with shady palm-lined boulevards, a prize-winning marina on the Mediterranean. In the picturesque old quarter, Kaleici, narrow winding streets and old wooden houses abut the ancient city walls. Lately, many foreigners have bought (and continue to buy) property in and around Antalya for their holidays or for the retirement. It became a popular area especially for the German and Russian nationals. During the winter months its population is around 2 million, but in the summer times it doubles. The region around Antalya offers sights of astonishing natural beauty as well as awesome historical remains. You can walk behind the cascade, a thrilling experience, at the Upper Düden Waterfalls, 14 km northeast of Antalya. On the way to Lara Beach, the Lower Düden Waterfalls plunge straight into the sea. The nearby rest area offers an excellent view of the falls; the view is even more spectacular from the sea. Kursunlu Waterfalls and Nilüfer Lake, both 18 km from Antalya are two more places of superb natural beauty.
The sandy Lara Beach lies about 12 km to the east. Closer to Antalya, but to the west, the long, pebbled Konyaalti Beach offers a view of the breathtaking Taurus mountain range. A little further the Bey Dagi (Olympos) National Park and Topcam Beach provide more splendid vistas. There are camping grounds at the north end of the park should you decide to linger amid the natural beauty. For a panoramic view of the area, drive to the holiday complex on top of the Tünektepe Hill.
Saklikent, 50 km from Antalya is an ideal winter sports resort on the northern slopes of Bakirli Mountain at an altitude of 1750-1900 meters. In March and April you can ski in the morning, eat a delicious lunch of fresh fish at Antalya's marina and sunbath, swim or wind surf in the afternoon. The wildlife (deer and mountain goat) in Düzlercami Park, north of Antalya are under a conservation program. On the way you can stop at the astonishing 115 meter deep Güver Canyon. In the eastern side of Can Mountain, 30 km from Antalya, the Karain Cave, which dates from the Paleolithic Age (50,000 B.C.) is the site of the oldest settlement in Turkey. Although the little museum at the entrance displays some of the finds, most of the artifacts are housed in various museums throughout Turkey. The ruins of the city of Termessos, set inside Güllük Dagi, a national park northwest of Antalya, is perched on a 1050 meter high plateau on the west face of Güllük Mountain (Solymos). A nature and wildlife museum is found at the park entrance. The Archaeological Museum, with remains from the Paleolithic Age to Ottoman times, offers a glimpse of the area's rich history.
One of the most historical cities to have hosted many ancient civilizations, Erzurum, is situated on the Silk Road as a city that has been a residential area for centuries. Yet today, it is a favorite getaway for local and foreign tourists, especially in the winter season. Occupying an important place in the history of the Republic of Turkey as a city where critical decisions were made prior to the Turkish War of Independence, Erzurum is the pearl of eastern Turkey. The most preferred location in the city, the district of Palandöken, with all its majesty, is very popular for its sports facilities; particularly seen during the University Games in 2011 held here, successfully hosting a number of foreign athletes. . Palandöken impresses everyone with its nature, as well as its international standards. Endemic plants nearby waterfalls and lakes attract the attention of visitors even in winter. Holding the title for having the longest ski track in Turkey, Palandöken offers local and foreign tourists a true skiing experience. The summit of the 3,000-meter-high mountain bears the name of Büyük Ejder (The Great Dragon). The most assertive ski hotel in the region is the Polat Resort located 7 kilometers from the Erzurum train station and 20 minutes from the airport.
You can also experience rafting, apart from skiing, if you wait until the spring months. Rafting on the Çoruh River is quite sensational. The course guided by professional instructors is rather long and challenging. Speaking of water sports, you can visit the Tortum Lake and the Tortum Falls once you are in the region. One of the most outstanding waterfalls in Turkey, Tortum Falls stands 50 meters tall, to be exact. It is absolutely a wonder of nature!
The historical places of the city are too numerous to count. Erzurum can be referred to as the city of mosques and madrasas. The historical mosques in Erzurum were built in the period of the Saltukids, the Ilkhanates of the Mongol Empire and the Ottomans. The building I admire most is the Erzurum Grand Mosque. Apart from that, Erzurum Castle, Yakutiye Madrasa and Rüstempasa Caravanserai are some of the best sightseeing locations. The Clock Tower is situated at the highest point of the city center. With its architectural features, it is the oldest Seljuk minaret
İzmir is one of the oldest cities of the Mediterranean world and has been of almost continuous historical importance during the last 5,000 years. Excavations indicate settlement contemporary with that of the first city of Troy, dating from the 3rd millennium BCE. Greek settlement is first clearly attested by the presence of pottery dating from about 1000 BCE. According to the Greek historian Herodotus, the Greek city was founded by Aeolians but soon was seized by Ionians. From modest beginnings, it grew into a stately city in the 7th century, with massive fortifications and blocks of two-storied houses.
The modern city, with spacious avenues and buildings constructed since 1924, stands mainly on the small delta plain of the Kızılçullu (ancient Meles) River around the eastern end of the gulf and on the heights and ridges to the south. Karşıyaka (formerly Kordelia) district, once a separate town across the gulf from central İzmir, now constitutes the northwestern extent of the city. Konak district is the commercial centre of İzmir; the city’s residential quarters are concentrated in Karantina and in Güzelyalı to the southwest and in Eşrefpaşa, north of the bazaar. South of the commercial centre lies Kadifekale (Mount Pagus), on which the old citadel of İzmir was built. Alsancak to the north is the site of the recently enlarged harbour, whereas industry is concentrated in suburbs along the gulf to the northeast.
The city’s landmarks include the partly excavated remains of its agora and the ancient aqueducts of Kızılçullu. The archaeological museum has a fine collection of local antiquities. Situated near such famous ancient sites as Ephesus and Pergamum and numerous holiday resorts, İzmir has a growing tourist trade. İzmir is located in one of Turkey’s most densely populated areas. The coastal region includes the irrigated and fertile valleys and delta plains of the Küçükmenderes and Gediz rivers.