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About Turkey

The bridge between Europe and Asia

The Name Origin

The word “Turkey” has been used and recorded in diplomatic archives since the 13th century. The Old French word Turchia meaning “the land of the Turks” was formerly used by the Europeans to name Magyars (Uralic-Ugric-Turkic tribes), which later on was adopted by the Anatolian Peninsula. After the declaration of the republic, the name was then officially transformed into The Republic of Turkey.

What was Turkey called before it became Turkey?

Turkey (the land of the Turks) was known as the Ottoman Empire from the 1300s to 1922 when the capital city of it was Istanbul (prev. Constantinople), and the republic was officially proclaimed on 29th October 1923 in the new capital city of Ankara.

Turkey on World Map

Geographical Location

The Republic of Turkey is a vast country spread over a surface area of 814,578 kilometer square (314,500 square miles) with a coastline with a beautiful coastline of 8333 km (5178 miles). Since Turkey is more of a transcontinental country; it is located in both the continents of Europe and Asia. The absolute location of the country is at latitude 38.9637451, and longitude 35.2433205, where only %3 is in Europe (Thrace), and the remaining %97 is in Asia at a large peninsula called Anatolian Plateau.

Stretching from the beautiful Balkan Peninsula in Southeast Europe to the historical Anatolia in Western Asia, Turkey borders Georgia and Armenia on the northeast, Azerbaijan, and Iran on the east, Iraq, and Syria on the southeast, Bulgaria and Greece on the northwest.

  • Local TimeGMT+3
  • Population83,836.040
  • CapitalAnkara
  • CurrencyTurkish Lira: TRY or TL

The Beautiful Lanscape

Turkey is majorly a mountainous country, and the Asian side of the country; high plateaus of Anatolia is somewhat confined to the coastal edges. Around %20 of the surface has an elevation above 4.000 feet (1.200 meters), while %40 lies below 1.500 feet (460 meters).

The Koroglu and Pontic mountain ranges surround the northern part of the country, and the Taurus Mountains lie through the southern region. The highest peaks exceeding 7.500 feet (2.300 meters) are instead in the Eastern part of Turkey bordering Armenia and Iran. Mount Ararat (16.945 feet or 5.165 meters) remains as the highest mountain of Turkey.

In the southeast, Uludoruk reaching 15.563 feet (4.744 meters), Demirkazik Peak 12.320 feet (3.755 meters), and Mount Aydos 11.414 feet (3.479 meters) are the next highest peaks of the country.

The European area is surrounded by Thrace plane and Strandzha mountain, separated by Anatolia (Asia Minor) by the Black Sea, Marmara Sea, Bosphorus Strait, Dardanelles Strait, and the Aegean Sea on the west.

Turkey Map

Regions of Turkey

Turkey is divided into seven geographical regions considering each region’s topography, climate, location, flora & fauna, agriculture, and some other factors. These are; Eastern Anatolia, Southeastern Anatolia, Central Anatolia, Black Sea, Marmara, Mediterranean, and Aegean.

Climate of Turkey

Bordering all these beautiful neighbors with different mountain ranges and climate, Turkey also enjoys different weather conditions in each region, some of which also have a shore of different seas. So, it is hard to make a fixed list for average temperatures for the country as a whole.

Still, if it is to summarize or generalize regions; since Marmara and Aegean regions enjoy the Mediterranean climate while Central Anatolia enjoys a desert climate. Eastern Turkey has sunny summers, and some cities are similar to Central Anatolia for its cold winter.

Northwest of Turkey (Marmara Region)

The inland sea that divides Asia and Europe (home to the largest city of Istanbul) is a beautiful connection between the Black Sea and the Aegean Sea. Due to this beautiful location, the area enjoys a continental climate that can be considered as the chillier days of the Mediterranean.

Western Turkey (Aegean Region)

Covering %11 of the country; the Aegean Region enjoys a lush spring, hot and humid summers, warm autumns and mild winters. With such soft weather conditions, this region allows you to enjoy the area throughout the year.

Southern Turkey (Mediterranean Coast)

If you are heading further down to the south along the coast, the Mediterranean climate will take over with its natural weather conditions of pretty hot summers with mild and rainy winters. Antalya, located in the center of the coastline, is home to some crystal clear beaches and is the most visited destination of the region.

Central Turkey (Anatolia)

Except for some cities, the majority of the region has pretty cold winters and continental climate in both summer and winter. The temperature changes between day and night drastically, and unlike other areas of the country, the inland is less foresty. It does not support the vegetation growth as also the moist air from any coastal areas gets blocked by the mountains.

Northern Turkey (Black Sea)

The beautiful 1700 km of coastline is pretty fertile with a humidity of %72, which might confuse one before traveling there. It is better to check the latest updates before packing. The year-round rainfall is higher than anywhere else, reaching up to 780 mm some years. So, the best time to visit the area is inevitably summer when it is the peak time for tourism. If you don’t like crowds like many of our guests, then it might be ideal for keeping in touch and seeing if the weather conditions are good enough to visit in late Spring or early Autumn.

Eastern & Southeastern (Anatolia)

Both regions have almost similar temperatures with an average of -13 Celcius degrees during harsh winters with heavy snow and 17 Celcius degrees of hot, dry summers. Several dam projects to help with the irrigation changed the climate a bit, but still protecting its main character. The highest temperatures experiences were around -43 Celcius degrees in winter and approximately 46 Celcius degrees over the banks of the beautiful rivers Tigris and Euphrates.

Average Monthly Temperatures

Jan
Feb
Mar
Apr
May
Jun
Jul
Aug
Sep
Oct
Nov
Dec
Destination☀ °C☀ °F☂ (mm)☂ Days
Istanbul64310014
Ankara-130606
Cappadocia-3273010
Ephesus84612612
Pamukkale33711210
Antalya105018011
Bodrum12537310
Trabzon7459013
Erzurum-7192911
Gaziantep3389812
Destination☀ °C☀ °F☂ (mm)☂ Days
Istanbul6437012
Ankara134406
Cappadocia-130279
Ephesus9489511
Pamukkale439848
Antalya115113010
Bodrum1253708
Trabzon7456612
Erzurum-6223311
Gaziantep5407912
Destination☀ °C☀ °F☂ (mm)☂ Days
Istanbul8465013
Ankara541309
Cappadocia5413312
Ephesus11527710
Pamukkale643767
Antalya1355809
Bodrum643646
Trabzon8475814
Erzurum-1304213
Gaziantep8477913
Destination☀ °C☀ °F☂ (mm)☂ Days
Istanbul12546011
Ankara10506012
Cappadocia10504813
Ephesus1559479
Pamukkale1050435
Antalya1660808
Bodrum1763306
Trabzon12535615
Erzurum5426215
Gaziantep13565113
Destination☀ °C☀ °F☂ (mm)☂ Days
Istanbul1661409
Ankara13555012
Cappadocia14574810
Ephesus1966296
Pamukkale1457334
Antalya2068206
Bodrum2170125
Trabzon15605813
Erzurum10507717
Gaziantep18653111
Destination☀ °C☀ °F☂ (mm)☂ Days
Istanbul2272306
Ankara1763409
Cappadocia1763338
Ephesus2475114
Pamukkale1966152
Antalya2576103
Bodrum2577141
Trabzon20675711
Erzurum14574911
Gaziantep247563
Destination☀ °C☀ °F☂ (mm)☂ Days
Istanbul2475303
Ankara2068205
Cappadocia206863
Ephesus267967
Pamukkale217050
Antalya2882101
Bodrum2983103
Trabzon2272428
Erzurum1865247
Gaziantep288211
Destination☀ °C☀ °F☂ (mm)☂ Days
Istanbul2475204
Ankara2068104
Cappadocia206873
Ephesus267956
Pamukkale217051
Antalya643101
Bodrum2882101
Trabzon2272579
Erzurum1865176
Gaziantep288220
Destination☀ °C☀ °F☂ (mm)☂ Days
Istanbul2170508
Ankara1763205
Cappadocia176365
Ephesus2373155
Pamukkale1864202
Antalya2576102
Bodrum2678101
Trabzon2067859
Erzurum1458205
Gaziantep247534
Destination☀ °C☀ °F☂ (mm)☂ Days
Istanbul16616010
Ankara1152308
Cappadocia1152309
Ephesus1864416
Pamukkale1355534
Antalya2068906
Bodrum2169304
Trabzon166012013
Erzurum8474810
Gaziantep1763329
Destination☀ °C☀ °F☂ (mm)☂ Days
Istanbul125410013
Ankara541409
Cappadocia541367
Ephesus1457849
Pamukkale950846
Antalya15581808
Bodrum1660797
Trabzon135510912
Erzurum235449
Gaziantep1051567
Destination☀ °C☀ °F☂ (mm)☂ Days
Istanbul84610017
Ankara134509
Cappadocia0322710
Ephesus105014413
Pamukkale54112210
Antalya125321012
Bodrum135510810
Trabzon9499313
Erzurum-4253111
Gaziantep6429511

Best Time to Visit Turkey

Month by Month Guide
Jan
Feb
Mar
Apr
May
Jun
Jul
Aug
Sep
Oct
Nov
Dec

Cildir Lake, Kars in Eastern Turkey in January

Visiting Turkey in January

As a mountainous country, Turkey offers numerous skiing activities in January for those who travel this month specifically for this activity. Uludag in Bursa, Kackar Mountains for heliskiing, Erciyes in Cappadocia, and Kartalkaya near Istanbul are among the most popular ones. The rates will be way lower than peak season, and you will be able to enjoy free upgrades and almost no lines at all museums and sites. Too cold? It depends on the year, but a Turkish Bath (Hamam) experience is always available to warm up, and why not enjoy a nice hot Sahlep during the day with the beautiful snowy views and wine in the evening by the fireplace in your room?

Events & Festivals

  • New Year’s Day – 1st January is a public holiday; however, shops, museums, and other touristic activities will still be available and less crowded.
  • Orthodox Christmas – Celebrated on 6th January (Armenian) and 7th January (Greek); most of the churches in Istanbul get visited by religious travelers and Patriarchs blessing the crowds.

Spice Market, Experience Turkey in February

Visiting Turkey in February

February is similar to January but will get a little colder, especially around the middle of the country than shores. While packing; be prepared with warmer clothing and always check the updated weather forecast. While February is not a peak time for events & festivals; there are still some fun activities you can benefit from.

Events & Festivals

  • Valentine’s Day – It is not something historically traditional to celebrate Valentine’s Day in Turkey, but enjoyed pretty much all around the country now with a dining-out, classically a jewelry gift for the loved one and so on. When it is about romance though; Turkey has numerous things to offer.
  • International Istanbul Gastronomy Festival – International Istanbul Gastronomy Festival, which is organized by Cooks and Chefs Federation of Turkey (COCFED) aims to combine the cuisines Turkish and the world. Bringing all the beautiful tastes of the world to Istanbul; chefs from different cultures compete for over 70 different categories.
  • !f Istanbul Independent Film Festival – Since 2002 and lasting for about ten days; the festival aims to showcase the best contemporary film based on various themes hosting renowned filmmakers and thousands of film buffs from all over the world.
  • Datca Almond Blossom Festival – This brand new, activity-oriented festival offers delicacies made of almond as the main theme, then wine tastings, photo tours, and many others in the beautiful town of Datca, known as “the city with two seas” in ancient history.

Lake Salt in Turkey in March

Visiting Turkey in March

March is a perfect time for those who don’t like it too cold or too hot. While it is the coolest period of the early spring, most of the month will still be warm enough to enjoy the day. While it is not going to be as cold as other winter months, make sure you bring some waterproof coat and boots. Include some warm sweats as well so that you can layer your day and evening clothing.

It is a pleasant month as well for hikers and cyclists who are interested in exploring the coastal routes. Depending on the time of your arrival, you can enjoy watching dolphins on their way to the northwest towards the Black Sea region.

Events & Festivals

  • Canakkale Victory and Martyrs’ Day – 18th March is an important date for Turkey commemorating the heroes of Canakkale who lost their lives to defeat the Allied battleships for her freedom. While it is not considered as a public holiday for the country; many will still share their feelings by hanging a flag or visiting memorials of the Gallipoli Campaign of the First World War which took place from 17th February 1915 to 9th January 1916.
  • Akbank Short Film Festival (16th – 26th March 2020) – Organized by Akbank Sanat; the purpose of the festival is to inspire and support filmmakers to deliver better short film productions. The event also has other highlights such as workshops, interviews, master-classes connecting cinema professionals, and the audience. The festival is FREE to the public and organized at the Akbank Sanat Art Venue in the Beyoglu district of Istanbul.
  • Camel Wrestling 18th-19th January 2020) – While it is known to be a two-centuries-old tradition, some acclaims that the first-ever camel wrestling was done during the reign of Mahmut II, an Ottoman sultan, in Tire and its neighborhood. Either way, the Turkic tribe tradition today is organized in Selcuk, Kusadasi, on the west coast near Ephesus, and the most recent wrestling had over 120 camels hosted around 20.000 audiences. The wrestling involves two male camels fighting for the female, as this is the mating time of the camels. Organized in 4 different categories; foot, middle, under the head and the head; a camel can win if they can make the other one retreat, scream or fall.

Istanbul Tulips in April

Visiting Turkey in April

Well-worthed some light or heavy rain depending on the region you are in; April is a great month to see the blossom of the wildlife where you can enjoy the Tulip Festival in Istanbul as well with millions of tulips with different colors.

If you are in the coastal areas such as Aegean or Mediterranean, you will be able to see that the swimming season is already on, and this is the time where you can get reasonably rated hotels, resorts, and blue cruise.

Compared to Marmara and the south coast, it will be fairly cooler in the Black Sea, Central Anatolia, Southeast, or Eastern Turkey. Depending on how much it snowed already within the winter months, April might feel like already spring or still too early for eastern areas.

Events & Festivals

  • International Film Festival – The 11 days long film festival is organized by Istanbul Foundation for Culture and Arts (IKSV) offers a chance to see the best art-house films in one place where the industry is boosting as well as amazing movies from all around the world. Other highlights include various activities and workshops throughout the city.
  • Istanbul Tulip Festival – Starting from 1718, the Tulip Era of the Ottoman Empire was a cherish time that the sultans and public enjoyed for over 12 years of festivals and ceremonies. It was not anymore about conquers or defeats, but tulips and streets lits with thousands of lanterns. Today, to celebrate both the arrival of the spring season and the Tulip Era, in every April, millions of tulips are planted at Gulhane Park, Emirgan Park, Fethi Pasa Grove, Sultanahmet Square, Yildiz Park, Camlica Hill, Cubuklu Hidiv Grove and Beykoz Park on the Asian side. In addition to tulips, some other activities also take place such as live music performances, painting, sculpture and glass-furnace which is a great alternative for travelers with children.
  • Anzac Day Dawn Service – On 25th April each year, the Anzac Day Dawn Service is hosted by New Zealand and Australia at the Anzac Commemorative Site on the Gallipoli Peninsula as an anniversary of the landing on Gallipoli in 1915.
  • Istanbul Half Marathon – First organized in 1987; The Istanbul Half Marathon is one of the most popular marathons in Europe running majorly around on the coast of the Marmara Sea and the European side of Istanbul. Promising perfect weather in April; the start-finish lines are at Golden Horn in Balat.
  • The Orange Blossom Carnival in Adana – Located on the Mediterranean edge of Turkey; Adana welcomes the early spring in April with this astonishing carnival named after the scent of the orange blossom. Also famous for its kebab, Adana opens its door wide open for millions of people from all around the country to entertain the beautiful crowd with hundreds of events and activities.
  • Spring Flowers in Cappadocia – After the snow melts and the beautiful wildflowers of Cappadocia starting to blossom; it creates beautiful backdrops while hiking or enjoying some sightseeing.
  • Birdwatching – Turkey is located on the migration route of numerous bird species that enjoy their journey between Europe and Africa. Pack your best camera and book your private birdwatching tour led by experts.
  • Presidential Cycling Tour of Turkey – First organized as a national Marmara tour in 1963; the international road cycling competition gained a special interest and announced as a presidential tour in 1965. Today, the full week race welcomes hundreds of professional cyclists from all around the world. The main cities on the race map include Istanbul, Cappadocia, Konya, Alanya, Fethiye, Marmaris, and Selcuk.
  • Ramadan (24th April – 23rd May) – The Ramadan Feast is an official and religious holiday that mostly lasts 3 to 4 days during which most people will take their time off to visit their home city to see family members, relatives or friends. While most of the museums will operate in the afternoon on the first day of the feast, other places might get closed for a longer time, such as Grand Bazaar or Spice Market. Please check with your travel advisor before planning for the dates.
  • National Sovereignty and Children’s Day – Following the Grand National Assembly of Turkey opening after all the struggles began on 19th May 1919; Ankara was declared as the capital city of the Republic of Turkey on 13th October 1923. On 23rd April 1929, Ataturk proposed the date to be dedicated to the children as 23rd April. Since 1979, the day gained an international value and recognized as an international event and the world’s children day by UNICEF as well.

Wonderful View of Cappadocia in May

Visiting Turkey in May

Pleasant weather, lots of festivals, city sightseeing, outdoor activities, and beautiful clouds… Yes, this is May which is considered one of the best months to visit Turkey. When it comes to weather, as mentioned earlier, it is quite sunny, yet cool enough to wander around and explore it all into little details.

Events & Festivals

  • Labor and Solidarity Day (1st May) – Also known as International Worker’s Day, different parties of workers will celebrate the day dancing into traditional folk music, organizing demonstrations for better conditions for all workers. These groups mostly are not welcomed by the policemen, and it is advised to stay away from any demonstrations in general.
  • Commemoration of Ataturk, Youth & Sports Day (19th May) – This public holiday commemorates the great leader of Turkey; Mustafa Kemal Ataturk’s landing at Samsun on the day of 19th May 1919, the beginning of the Turkish War of Independence.
  • International Istanbul Theater Festival – Consisting of independent and classical productions; this theater festival exhibits some foremost global and local theatrical events as well as hosting free-to-attend workshops.

Beach Time Turkey in June

Visiting Turkey in June

June is the time when the summer sun takes over the spring and shines over the beautiful Mediterranean and Aegean regions. This is the beginning of the perfect time for the most beautiful beaches, sunbathing, enjoy the Mediterranean cuisine by a seaside restaurant, chartering a private yacht or enjoy strolling around the beautiful streets of Alacati that is also an excellent location for windsurfing. As the first half of the month is warming up with one or two days of rain (maybe more in the Black Sea), the second half might get very hot. For this reason, it makes touring the ancient sites a little harder than other months, yet it allows you to enjoy the half-day touring when it is cooler yet and spend more time at the beach or poolside and enjoy the quality time with your family.

Events & Festivals

  • Istanbul Music Festival – June is a great time for music lovers to visit Istanbul. You can enjoy the events with cultural venues, historical sites, concert halls, parks, and gardens hosting around 600 local and international artists, including some celebs in classical, opera, and bullet.
  • One Love Festival – This is a weekend-long festival held annually in mid-June at Life Park Istanbul featuring performances of alternative local and international bands.
  • Aspendos International Opera and Ballet Festival (June and July) – Being the first and only festival awarded the “Best Quality Management Certificate”; Aspendos International Opera and Ballet Festival was first organized in 1994. Performed at the stunning 2000 years old Aspendos Theater, the audience enjoys the same quality of sound from every corner thanks to its design.
  • Cappadox Festival – Started in 2015, the event offers attendees a great mixture of contemporary art, music, gastronomic experiences, and outdoor activities at various valleys and other beautiful locations of Cappadocia. Cappadox Festival had a break for the moment, but it is planned to be available soon.
  • Bozcaada Wine Festival – Bozcaada, somewhat locally, but pretty famous for its wines that have its door wide open for those interested in wine tasting as well. The festival is organized every June on the last four days of the month by four wineries on the island that are Talay, Camlibag, Ataol, and Gulerada. In addition to this, Corvus and Amadeus welcome guests who are interested in wine, either amateur or professional.
  • Istanbul Jazz Festival

Lavender Kuyucak Turkey in July

Visiting Turkey in July

 

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Gulet Trip in Turkey in August

Visiting Turkey in August

 

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Sunken City, Kekova in September

Visiting Turkey in September

 

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Cultural Tours in October

Visiting Turkey in October

 

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Nemrut Sunset Turkey November

Visiting Turkey in November

 

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Bursa Uludag, Turkey in December

Visiting Turkey in December

 

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