The city of Ankara lies in the center of Anatolia on the eastern edge of the great, high Anatolian Plateau, at an altitude of 850 meters. It is the center of the province of the same name, which is a predominantly fertile wheat steppe-land with forested areas in its northeast region. It is bordered by the provinces of Cankiri and Bolu to the north, Eskisehir to the west, Konya and Aksaray to the south, and Kirikkale and Kirsehir to the east.
The region's history goes back to the Bronze Age; Hatti Civilization, which was succeeded in the 2nd millennium BC by the Hittites, then the Phrygians (10th century BC); Lydians and Persians followed. After these came the Galatians, a Celtic race who were the first to make Ankara their capital (3rd century BC). It was then known as Ancyra, meaning anchor. The town subsequently fell to the Romans, Byzantines, and Selcuks under ruler Alparslan in 1073, and then to the Ottomans under sultan Yildirim Beyazit in 1402, who remained in control until the First World War.
The town, once an important trading center on the caravan route to the east, had declined in importance by the nineteenth century. It became an important center again when Kemal Ataturk chose it as the base from which to direct the War of Liberation. In consequence of its role in the war and its strategic position, it was declared the capital of the new Turkish Republic on the 13th October,1923. Anitkabir (Ataturk Mausoleum)
Located in an imposing position in the Anittepe quarter of the city stands the Mausoleum of Kemal Ataturk, founder of the Turkish Republic. Completed in 1953, it is an impressive fusion of ancient and modern architectural ideas and remains unsurpassed as an accomplishment of modern Turkish architecture. There is a museum housing writings, letters and items belonging to Ataturk as well as an exhibition of photographs recording important moments in his life and the establishment of the republic. (Anitkabir and the museum is open everyday, except Mondays. During the summer, there is a light and sound show in the evenings). The Museum of Anatolian Civilizations
Close to the citadel gate an old bedesten has been beautifully restored and now houses a marvelous and unique collection including Paleolithic, Neolithic, Hatti, Hittite, Phrygian, Urartian and Roman works. (Open everyday, except Monday. During the summer, the museum opens everyday). The Ethnographical Museum
Opposite the Opera House on Talat Pasa Boulevard is the Ethnographical Museum. There is a fine collection of folkloric artifacts as well as fine items from Seljuk and Ottoman mosques. (Open everyday, except Monday). The Ankara Citadel
The foundations of the citadel were laid by the Galatians on a prominent lava outcrop, and completed by the Romans; the Byzantines and Seljuks made restorations and additions. The area around and inside the citadel is the oldest part of Ankara and many fine examples of traditional architecture can be seen within the citadel walls. There are also lovely green areas in which to relax. The Temple of Augustus
The temple can be found in the Ulus quarter of the city. It was built in the 2nd century BC and only later dedicated to the Emperor Augustus. It is important today for the 'Monument Ancyranum', the testament of Augustus that is inscribed on its walls in Latin and Greek. In the fifth century the temple was converted to a church. The Roman Bath
The bath, situated on Cankiri Avenue in Ulus, has the typical features of Roman baths: a frigidarium (cold section), tepidarium (cool section) and caldarium (hot section). They were built in the time of the Emperor Caracalla (3rd century AD) in honor of the god of medicine, Asclepios. Today only the basement and first floors remain. The Column of Julian
This column, in Ulus, was erected in 362 AD probably to commemorate a visit by the Roman Emperor Julian the Apostate. It stands fifteen meters high and has a typical leaf decoration on the capital. Haci Bayram Mosque
This mosque, in Ulus, next to the Temple of Augustus, was built in the early 15th century and subsequently restored by Sinan in the l6th century with Kutahya tiles being added in the 18th century. The mosque was built in honor of Haci Bayram Veli whose tomb is next to the mosque.
Izmir's history goes back to 3000 B.C. according to the results of historical knowledge and archaeological excavations. Findings and many investigations have been made to enlighten Izmir's history: The continuous excavations on the Bayrakli ridges by Prof. Dr. Ekrem Akurgal since 1959, the discovery of the Zeus Altar by the German archaeologist Carl Humman in Pergamon (Bergama) between 1866 and 1878, the discovery of the Artemis Temple in 1869 by the British Wood and the continuous excavations by Austrian archaeologists at certain intervals of the city of ancient Ephesus since 1904. Also many researchers in different universities are still investigating on the city's historical development.
Many legends are known about the derivation of the name of Izmir. According to the knowledge acquired from scientific studies the word "IZMIR" came from Smyrna in the ancient Ionian dialect and it was written as Smyrna in the Attican (around Athens) dialect. The word Smyrna was not Greek, it came from Anatolian root like many other names in the Aegean Region from the texts belonging to 2000 B.C. in the Kültepe settlement in Kayseri, a place called Tismyrna was come across and the (Ti) at the beginning was omitted and the city was pronounced as Smyrna. So the city was called Smyrna the early years of 3000 B.C. or late 1800 B.C. In the Turkish era the city was called Izmir.
In the years of 3000 B.C. Western Anatolia was under a rich Trojan civilization influence. The settlement areas built on the Aegean Coast also developed generally under the Trojan influence. The Hittites which Homer wrote about in the Iliad, were an active force and civilization in the Anatolian mountain pastures because the Trojans were allies of the Hittites and they had a big influence on the Aegean settlements. As a matter of fact Pitane (Çandarli) in the Bakirçay River basin and similar settlements were built by the Hittites. It is believed that the Amazons lived in the area between Caria and the Lydia which today is the sides of the Yamanlar Mountains, and they carried on their existence until the arrival of the Aiolos and the Ions. The Aiolos and the Ions who Fled from the Doric invasion around 1000 B.C., came from Greece and settled in Izmir and its surroundings. The important Aiol and Ionian settlements are as follows: Bergama (Pergamon), Manisa (Magnesia), Izmir (Smyrna), Urla (Klazomenai, near Cesme), Kemalpasa (Nimphaion), Cesme-Ildiri (Erythrai), Sigacik (Teos), Selcuk (Ephesus).
Until the 7th century B.C. Izmir got richer because of its trade with its neighbors especially Lydia. Its good neighbor relationships with Lydia lasted until the Lydians were conquered by the Persians. The Persian sovereignty ended with Alexander the Great's arrival to Anatolia in 334 B.C. In these years, in which the Hellenistic period began, a new settlement was formed around Kadifekale (Mount Pagos) and its city walls belong to the Hellenistic period and have undergone many restorations in the following periods.
The city, which was tied to the Pergamon Empire in 197 B.C., passed into the control of the Roman Empire after a short period between 27 B.C. and 324 A.D. Roman control transformed Izmir into an important trade and harbor city. For the west, Izmir was seen as the center of Asia. In this period the Agora, Acropolis, Theater, Stadium, and constructions that did not remain up to now, like the libraries and the fountains, were built during this period.
The two roads stretching from Kadifekale (Mt. Pagos) to Ephesus and Sardis were built during the Roman period. In 324 A.D. after the Roman Empire was divided into two, Izmir had been taken by the Byzantine Empire and Ephesus especially was an important cultural and religious center in the classic Hellenistic, Roman and Byzantine periods. An important development was not seen during the Byzantine period.
Even though Izmir came into the possession of the Hun Emperor Attila, this authority did not last long and the city re-taken the Byzantines.
Kutalmisoglu Suleyman Sah in 1076 was the first conqueror of Izmir by the Seljuk Turks. In the period that the famous sea admiral Çaka Bey was appointed as the mayor of Izmir; Urla, Foça and the Islands of Sakiz (Chios), Samos and Istanköy (Cos) were conquered. After Çaka Bey's death the city and its surroundings passed into the possession of the Byzantines in 1098. Then Izmir was taken by the knights at the time that Istanbul was invaded by the Crusaders. In 1320 the Turkish sailor Umur Bey returned Izmir from the Catholic knights and added it to the Turkish land.
In the period of the principalities, Izmir and its nearby surrounding were under the reign of the Saruhanogullari principality. Pergamon (Bergama) and its surroundings were tied to Karesiogullari principality. The reign of Izmir and its surroundings passed into the Ottoman hands completely in 1426.
The following Turkish architectural constructions are distinguished examples of the Turkish culture built during the Ottoman period, they have adorned Izmir for centuries: The Hisar Mosque, The Sadirvan Mosque, the Hatuniye Mosque, the Konak Yali Mosque, the Kemeralti Mosque, the Kestane Bazaar Mosque, the Izmir Clock Tower, the Kizlaragasi Han (Inn - commercial building), the Mirkelamoglu and Cakaloglu Inns and other inns (trade places for spending the night), Bedesten (Ottoman's special trade constructions).
Beginning with the 16th century Izmir had an important place in the world trade. There was an increase in the consulates of foreign countries especially due to the capitulations that the Ottoman government provided for Europe. It is known that these consulates participated in the trade activities and each anchored their ships in the bay.
A castle was built on the narrowest point of the bay to check the ships entering and leaving the Izmir Gulf. New constructions were built in the second half of the century to help developing of the city's trade. Among these constructions, the most important examples are the customs building in the 19th century, the sectors of packing, insurance, stock and banking.
In the years of the struggle of liberation, Izmir underwent a great wreckage with huge destructions and fires. With the driving away of the Greek army by the leadership of the great leader Mustafa Kemal Ataturk on September 9th 1922, Izmir started to become a modern city of the young Turkish Republic and developed this character more everyday.
The province of Canakkale lies on both sides of the Dardanelles which connects the Sea of Marmara to the Aegean Sea. Its shores touch both Europe (with the Gelibolu Peninsula) and Asia (with the Biga Peninsula) and there are regular ferries between the two sides.
The Canakkale Marina, besides those of Karabiga, Gelibolu, Bozcaada and Kucukkuyu, hosts the colorful yachts which pass through the strait and make a stopover at Canakkale, to see this historical and mythological rich area, homeland of many widely known legends.
The province has witnessed two very important battles in history. One of them is the mythological war of Troy, which Homer immortalized in his Iliad. Archaeological digs in Troy (Truva) have proved that there had been nine separate periods of settlement (3000 BC- 400 AD). Here, one can see the ruins of city walls in addition to the Wooden Horse of Troy. The other one is the Battle of Canakkale which took place during World War I when Turkish troops under the command of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk maintained the defense of the region against enemy forces and Canakkale has taken its place in history as "Canakkale; un-passable". To honor the 500,000 soldiers who gave their lives at Gelibolu (Gallipoli), this peninsula has been made a national park of remembrance. There are memorial monuments here in surroundings of natural beauty.
The small village of Behramkale is a lovely place, facing the Gulf of Edremit. It is founded on the site of Assos where there is the famous Temple of Athena built in the 6th century BC. The panoramic view of the Gulf from the top of the acropolis is breathtaking and the remains of Assos, surrounding the acropolis are worth visiting. Gökceada, the largest of the Turkish islands, and Bozcaada are also in this region and they have many camping facilities.
It lies on the European side of Canakkale which today is called as Eceabat. A titular see of Troas in Asia Minor, suffrage of Cyzicus in the Hellespont province. It was situated at the narrowest point of the Hellespont, and was famous as the legendary spot where Leander swam over to Sestus (today's Canakkale city) to visit his mistress, Hero. Here, too, Xerxes built the famous bridge of boats (480 BC) on which he crossed with his troops to a promontory on the opposite European shore then torched it to make sure that there was no return for his army.
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. In the picturesque old quarter, Kaleici, narrow winding streets and old wooden houses abut the ancient city walls.
Since its founding in the second century B.C. by Attalus II, a king of Pergamon, who named the city Attaleai after himself, Antalya has been continuously inhabited. The Romans, Byzantines and Seljuks in turn occupied the city before it came under Ottoman rule. The elegant fluted minaret of the Yivli Minareli Mosque in the center of the city built by the Seljuk sultan Alaeddin Keykubat in the 13th century has become the Antalya's symbol. The Karatay Medrese (theological college) in the Kaleici district, from the same period, exemplifies the best of Seljuk stone carvings. The two most important Ottoman mosques in the city are the 16th century Murat Pasa Mosque, remarkable for its tile decoration, the 18th century Tekeli Mehmet Pasa Mosque. Neighboring the marina, the attractive late 19th century Iskele Mosque is built of cut stone and set on four pillars over a natural spring. The Hidirlik Kulesi (tower) was probably originally constructed as a lighthouse in the second century. Today a church, the Kesik Minaret Mosque attests to the city's long history in its succession of Roman, Byzantine, Seljuk and Ottoman renovations. When Emperor Hadrian visited Antalya in 130 A.D. a beautifully decorated three arched gate was built into the city walls in his honor.
Near the marina the two towers flanking the gate and other sections of the walls still stand. The clock tower in Kalekapisi Square was also part of the old city's fortifications.
On March 29th, 2006, Total Solar Eclipse will be seen in Antalya as well at 13:54pm local time.
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 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.
Other historical sites around Antalya are: Perge, Aspendos, Side, Termessos, Phaselis, Olympos, Chimeira, Kekova, Simena, Patara, Xantos, Letoon, Pinara, Tlos, Kas, Kalkan, Aperlai, Myra and Sillyon.
Konya is a city in Central Anatolia in Turkey which has protected its name for centuries. Legend says that Perseus killed a dragon that had been ravaging the town. The people set up a special monument to honor him, a stone obelisk with an icon of Perseus carved in it. This event gave the city it's name, Ikonyon, Ikonyum, Iconium.
However, among Muslims, another legend is told. Two dervishes, friends of Allah, were making an excursion through the skies from the far away countries of Horasan toward the west. When they flew over the lands of central Anatolia, one asked the other, "Shall I land?" ("Konayim mi?"). The other answered, "Sure, land." ("Kon ya!") So, they landed and founded the city of Konya.
Archaeology shows that the Konya region is one of the most ancient settlements of Anatolia. The results of excavations in Catalhöyük, Karahöyük, Cukurkent and Kucukoy show the region was inhabited as far back as the Neolithic Period (Late Stone Age) of BC 7000. Other settlers of the city before Islam were; the Calcolitic Period (Copper Age) civilizations, Bronze Age civilizations, Hittites, Frigians, Lidians, Persians, Romans and finally Byzantines.
Konya is an important place for Christians as well because St. Paul and St. Barnabas came to the city on one of their journeys in Asia Minor around 50 AD. St. Paul preached in Konya but they angered both Jews and Gentiles so they had to leave the city and went to Derbe and Lystra.
The first exposure of the city to Islam happened during the time of the Caliph Muaviya. Later, attacks made by Arabic Muslims, whether Emevi's or Abbasi's, yielded no results. Konya's real meeting with and adopting of Islam began some time after the victory of Seljuks at Malazgirt in 1071, in the time of Kutalmisoglu Suleyman. The attacks of the Crusaders from 1076 to the end of the 12th century could not wrench the city from Islam.
Konya was the capital of Seljuks between 1071 and 1308. In 1220 Alaaddin Keykubad I repaired the city wall and decorated them with towers. But the city has been the site of a power - struggle between the Seljuks, Karamanoglu's, Mongols, and Ilhan's and it changed hands a few times. In the time of Fatih Sultan Mehmet, in 1466, Konya joined the lands of the Ottoman Empire. The first general census was made by the sultan and repeated in the time of Bayazit II, Kanuni Sultan Suleyman, and Murad III.
In the time of Kanuni Suleyman, the city, which had been named as Karaman ili, reached the status of statehood. The borders of the Karaman state, which included the regions of Larende (Karaman), Seydisehri, Beysehri, Nigde, Kayseri (Cesarea), Aksaray, Maras, Elbistan, and Bozok, were reduced when Maras became its own state and Bozok was added to another state.
Konya was affected by the Celali Rebellion. This rebellion was an outcome of the instability in the Ottoman government and land orders in the Ottoman army was defeated by the command of Ibrahim Pasa, Grand Vizir of Sultan Suleyman, in the Battle of Konya.
The borders of the province of Konya, which was set up in 1867, included Nigde, Isparta, Icel and Teke Sanjaks. In the same year, the city was affected by a big fire and in 1873 suffered a serious famine.
In the 19th century the city appeared shabby and neglected and the city walls were in ruins and even the mosques were in terrible conditions. Many of the more recent houses were made of bricks and their lifespan was not more than 100-150 years. Commercial activity was slow. But at the end of the century, in 1896, after the railway to Eskisehir was opened, commercial activity was revived. After 1902, farming with machines developed. The period of sultan Abdul Hamid II was a productive one for Konya. Transport, education and restoration works flourished the city as they did in the whole of the country.
The First World War caused the decrease of manpower in Konya and throughout the country. During the occupation of Anatolia by the Allies, Konya's railway station was run by the British (January 1919). The Italian powers which occupied the city in April 1919, left the city in March 1920 during the Independence War led by Atatürk.
The most important place to visit in Konya is Mevlana's Mausoleum, the mystic poet on the way of sufism and the founder of the Whirling Dervish order. Apart from that there is Karatay Medrese, which was a theological school used as tiles museum today, Alaaddin Keykubat Mosque from 12th century and Ince Minare (Thin Minaret) Mosque.
The historical background of Usak goes back to 5000 BC. This province, is situated at the inner side of Western Anatolia. Being closer to the central region, rather than the Aegean, a typical continental climate prevails in the area. The most distinct characteristic of the city is its location, constituting a pathway between four different regions of Turkey, namely the Marmara, Aegean, Central Anatolian and the Mediterranean regions.
As such a binding point, the province witnessed the earliest civilizations which have passed by, and left their signs in every corner of the land. From the Lydians to the Persians, from the Romans to the Ottomans, Usak had been ruled by many invaders, and the remains of those ancient times are found in various districts. There is an archaeological museum in the province, which holds the finds from the area, and is worth a visit for those who are interested. Especially the display of Karun Treasures who were stolen during illegal excavations in the 60's and which were returned back in 1993 by Authorities in collaboration of Metropolitan Museum of Art, are the best examples of the museum.
Usak is an important and lively weaving center. High quality cotton cloth and bed sheets are widely produced in the various towns; and the carpets and kilims traditionally woven here are world famous, with their many colors and beautiful motifs. There are also picnicking areas and thermal centers in the region.
Although antique carpets are world famous, today the province's weavers make kilims instead of carpets. Kilims are associated first and foremost with the district of Esme and the village of Takmak. The women of Takmak do not make kilims commercially, but only for the dowries of their daughters or grandchildren. Esme on the other hand has turned kilim weaving into a commercial asset, and has held a kilim festival every May. The sixty villages of the district are all cashing in on the growing popularity of kilims, and thanks to the efforts of some entrepreneurs traditional colors and designs have been revived. Over recent years kilim weaving has come to rival tobacco cultivation as the main source of income for local families. There are many different local types of kilim design, such as the safe namazlik, selvili namazlik, altinbas, albas, aynali kilim, and Takmak kilimi. The kilims woven in the area are sold first to wholesalers in Istanbul, and from there are exported all over the world.
Edirne is a gateway of Turkey opening to western world in Thrace, the first stopover for newcomers from Europe. Situated between the Greek, Bulgarian and Turkish borders, this beautiful city is famed for its many mosques, the elegant domes and minarets which dominate the panoramic appearance of the province. It was the capital of the Ottoman Empire from 1416 until the conquest of Istanbul by Mehmet II in 1453.
One of the most important monuments in this ancient province is the Selimiye Mosque, built in the 16th century by the Turkey's greatest architect, Mimar Sinan. Carrying the name of the sultan reigning in that era, this mosque magnificently represents Turkish marble handicrafts and architecture, and it is covered with valuable tiles and fine paintings. The Yildirim Mosque and the Eski Mosque, dating back to the 14th and 15th centuries respectively, are other spectacular sights while the Muradiye Mosque and the Üç Serefeli Mosque are also among the oldest and most impressive buildings. Last to be mentioned is the Beyazit II Mosque, a great monument with its complex construction comprising many facilities used in those times.
Besides the fascinating mosques, there are different sites to be visited in Edirne, all reflecting its rich past. There are attractive palaces, the most prominent one being the Edirne Palace, which was the "Palace of the Empire" built during the reign of sultan Murat II. There are amazing caravansaries, like the Rüstem Pasha and Ekmekcioglu Ahmet Pasha caravansaries, which were designed to host travelers, in the 16th century.
The lively bazaars of "Bedesten" and "Arasta" make the province colorful and bring back the ancient times. Several bridges exist which have stood for centuries, adorning the land with their old but fine appearances.
Ipsala, is a district of Edirne province and it is Turkey's second most important border gate, on the European frontier, with Greece. It is a wildfowl paradise enjoyed by both Turkish and foreigners.
A specialty of Edirne is to be a center for grease-wrestling (yagli güres), which is the national sport of Turkey. Lively championships are held here every July, for more than 400 years, on Kirkpinar island, a forested area between the Meriç and Tunca rivers. These traditional occasions compromize many entertaining activities, and the province is filled with spectators.