Before you even begin to invest in property in Turkey, it’s important to learn as much as you can about this incredible country which holds a unique position as a bridge between Europe in the West and Asia to the East. So let’s go right ahead and take a look at Turkey.
Turkey is a huge country! It is over 1600 km in length and 800 km wide, giving it a roughly rectangular shape. It’s area – including several lakes thus encompasses over 783 thousand square kilometres, most of it in Asia. Turkey is in fact the 37th largest country in the world. On three of its sides it is surrounded by water – the Black Sea in the north, the Aegean to the west, and the Mediterranean to the south. Of course one must not forget the famous sea of Marmara in the north-west.
Turkey is divided into 7 very distinct regions geographically: the Mediterranean, Marmara, Black Sea, Aegean, Eastern Anatolia, South-Eastern Anatolia and Central Anatolia. All possess very distinct landscapes which are the result of many earth movements of millions of years. And to this day there are regular earthquakes and volcanic eruptions. There was a most severe earthquake in 1999.
Climatically, Turkey is considered to possess a Mediterranean type climate with very hot, dry summers and very cold, wet winters. The interior of the country is very dry and can suffer from harsh extremes of heat and cold. Here the seasons are very clearly defined and the winters can see temperatures descending as low as -40 C in the mountain regions to the east. Here also, snow falls regularly for several months each year.
Turkey is very diverse and original culturally. It is a subtle fusion of the ancient Anatolian, Ottoman and Western cultures and traditions which began with the gradual westernization of the Ottoman Empire, and to this day continues. Following its gradual transformation from a religion controlled state into a modern nation with separation of church and government, the artistic life of the country also underwent a massive enlarging and diversification, with the government investing in the fine arts, new museums, theatres and building construction. The resulting contemporary Turkish culture is one of a diversified fusion of the old and the new, combining tradition and history with Western ideas.
Turkish music and literature are good examples of such a cultural mix. Music schools are popular throughout Turkey, from traditional Arab to hip-hop styles. Turkish literature was heavily influenced by that of Persia and Arabic literature during most of the Ottoman era, though later on the effect of both Turkish folk and Western literary traditions are increasingly felt.
Architecturally, Turkey possesses a unique mix of traditions. In addition to the traditional Byzantine elements present everywhere, many remains of the later Ottoman architecture, with its exquisite blend of local and Islamic traditions, are to be found throughout the country, as well as in many former territories of the Ottoman Empire. From the 18th century, Turkish architecture has been increasingly influenced by Western styles, and this can be seen particularly in Istanbul where buildings like the Blue Mosque and the Dolmabahce Palace are set against a background of modern skyscrapers.
Moving on to sport, the most popular sport in Turkey is the ubiquitous football. The major teams include Galatasaray, Besiktas and Fenerbahce. In fact Turkey is now becoming a major international force in the game, with Galatasaray winning both the UEFA and UEFA Super Cups in 2000. Then a short while after, Turkey finished third in the World Cup finals in Japan.
Other sports are now also very popular in modern-day Turkey, such as volleyball, basketball and several motor sports. Interestingly enough, by far the most successful of any teams have been the women’s volleyball teams, which have won a number of major European titles and medals.
I hope this brief overview will give you some background to the ancient and culturally diverse world of the fascinating country that is modern-day Turkey. In future articles I’ll be looking at many aspects of the country in much greater detail.
By Unsplash from Pixabay