Turkey in Brief
The Turkey is a bridge between the three continents of Asia, Africa, and Europe, it is straddled by three seas, and it is the point where Europe and Asia meet. Geographically, the country is located in the northern half of the hemisphere at about halfway between the equator and the North Pole, at a longitude of 36 degrees N to 42 degrees N, and latitude of 26 degrees E to 45 degrees E. Turkey is roughly rectangular in shape and is 1,660 kilometers wide.
Because of its geographical location, the mainland of Anatolia has been the home of a great amount of activity throughout history. It is the birthplace of many great civilizations and has also been a prominent centre of commerce.
The actual area of Turkey, including lakes, is 780,600 square kilometers.
The land borders of Turkey consist of 2,648 kilometers in total, and coastlines (including islands) make up another 7,200 kilometers.
The northeast border with Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan is 530 kilometers long; the border with Iran is 499 kilometers long, and the border with Iraq is 352 kilometers long. In the south lays the 352 kilometer-long border with Syria. Turkey's borders on the European continent consist of a 206 kilometer frontier with Greece, and a 240 kilometer border with Bulgaria.
Turkey is divided into seven regions: the Black Sea region, the Marmara region, the Aegean, the Mediterranean, Central Anatolia, the East and Southeast Anatolia regions. The uneven north Anatolian terrain running along the Black Sea resembles a narrow long belt. The land of this region makes up approximately 1/6 of Turkey's total land area.
The Marmara region covers the area encircling the Sea of Marmara, which includes the entire European part of Turkey, as well as the northwest of the Anatolian plain. Marmara is the smallest but most densely populated region in Turkey. Uludag is the highest peak in the region, and with an elevation of 2,543 it is a very popular winter sports and tourist centre. In the Anatolian part of the region there are fertile plains running from east to west.
The Aegean region extends from the Aegean coast to the inner parts of western Anatolia. There are significant differences between the coastal areas and those inland, in terms of both geographical features and economic and social aspects. In general, the mountains in the region fall perpendicularly into the sea, and the plains run from east to west. The plains through which the Gediz, Kücük Menderes, and Bakircay rivers flow carry the same names as these rivers.
In the Mediterranean region, located in the south of Turkey, the western and central Taurus Mountains suddenly rise up behind the coastline. The Amanos mountain range is also in this area.
The Central Anatolian region lies in the middle of Turkey and has comparably the mildest mountainous ranges in Turkey. The highest peaks of the region are Karadag, Karacadag, Hasandag and Erciyes (3.917 meters).
The Eastern Anatolia region is Turkey's largest and highest region. About three fourths of it rises to altitudes of 1,500-2,000 meters. Eastern Anatolia is composed of individual mountains as well as whole mountain ranges, with vast plateaus and plains. There are numerous inactive volcanoes in the region, including Nemrut, Suphan, Tendurek and Turkey's highest peak, Mount Agri (Ararat), which is 5,165 meters high. At the same time, several plains extended along the course of the River Murat, a tributary of the Firat (Euphrates). These are the plains of Malazgirt, Mus, Capakcur, Uluova and Malatya.
The Southeast Anatolia region is notable for the uniformity of its landscape, although the eastern part of the region is comparatively more uneven than its western areas.
Turkey is surrounded by sea on three sides: by the Black Sea in the north, the Mediterranean in the south, and the Aegean Sea in the west. In the northwest, between the straits of the Bosphorus and the Dardanelles, lies the small Sea of Marmara. The path of the Bosphorus, through the Sea of Marmara, and out throught the Dardanelles connects the Black Sea with the rest of the world.
Because the mountains in the Black Sea region run parallel to the coastline, the coasts are fairly smooth, without too many indentations or projections. The length of the Black Sea coastline in Turkey is 1,595 kilometers, and the salinity of the sea is 17%. The Mediterranean coastline runs for 1,577 kilometers and here too the mountain ranges are parallel to the coastline. The salinity level of the Mediterranean is about double that of the Black Sea.
Although the Aegean coastline, over 2,800 kilometers, is a continuation of the Mediterranean coast, it is quite irregular because the mountains in the area fall perpendicularly into the Aegean Sea. The coastline faces out to many islands.
The Marmara Sea is located within the national boundaries and occupies an area of 11,350 square kilometers. The coastline of the Marmara Sea is over 1,000 kilometers long and is connected to the Black Sea by the Bosphorus, and to the Mediterranean by the Dardanelles.
Most of the rivers of Turkey flow into the seas surrounding the country. The Firat (Euphrates) and Dicle (Tigris) join together in Iraq and flow into the Persian Gulf. Turkey's longest rivers, the Kizilirmak, Yesilirmak and Sakarya, flow into the Black Sea. The Susurluk, Biga and Gonen pour into the Sea of Marmara; the Gediz, Kucuk Menderes, Buyuk Menderes and Meric into the Aegean; and the Seyhan, Ceyhan and Goksu flow into the Mediterranean.
The Eastern Anatolian region contains the largest and greatest number of lakes in Turkey, including: Lake Van (the largest lake in Turkey, 3.713 square kilometers), Ercek, Cildir and Hazar. There are also many lakes in the Taurus Mountains: the Beysehir, Egirdir, Burdur, and Acigoller lakes. Around the Sea of Marmara there are the Sapanca, Iznik, Ulubat, Manyas, Terkos, Kucukcekmece and Buyukcekmece lakes. In Central Anatoia there is Tuzgolu, a great salt lake and the second largest lake in Turkey. The lakes of Aksehir and Eber are also located in this region.
As a result of dam construction during the past thirty years, several large lakes have come into existence. With the completion of the Ataturk dam in January 1990, which controls the flow of the Firat (Euphrates) in Sanliurfa, a lake was created that now has a depth of about 526.1 meters. Other created lakes lie at the base of the Keban, Karakaya, Altinkaya, Adiguzel, Kilickaya, Karacaoren, Menzelet, Kapulukaya, Hirfanli, Sariyar and Demirkopru dams.
Although Turkey is situated in a geographical location where climatic conditions are quite temperate, the diverse nature of the landscape, and the mountains that run parallel to the coasts result in significant differences in climatic conditions from one region to another. While the coastal areas enjoy milder climates, the inland Anatolian plateau experiences extremes of hot summers and cold winters with limited rainfall.
Turkey's capital is a sprawling urban centre in situated within the Central Anatolian semi-desert. This once small Anatolian town has grown to be the second largest city in Turkey . Some of its featured sights include Hisar, a Byzantine castle located on top of the hill east of Ulus, the oldest neighborhood in Ankara . Just down from the castle is the Anatolian Civilizations Museum , which features magnificent archeological finds from all over the region. A couple of km to the south is Atatürk's mausoleum, a monumental building that pays tribute to the founder of the Turkish Republic, and echoes the architectural styles of several great Anatolian empires.
Of Turkey's hundreds of ancient cities and classical ruins, Ephesus is the grandest and best preserved. Ephesus is located in what was once the city of Ionia , a flourishing cultural centre during the Greek Empire, and a busy provincial capital during Roman times. Ionia's Temple of Diana was counted among the Seven Wonders of the World , and the city was generally renowned for its wealth and beauty.
Bodrum is one of the South Aegean's prettiest resort cities, with a yacht harbor and a port for ferries traveling to the Greek island of Kos . Palm-lined streets surround the bays, and white sugar-cube houses, now joined by ranks of villas, crowd the hillside. Boating, swimming, snorkeling and scuba diving are prime Bodrum activities.
Antalya is the largest city on Turkey 's central Mediterranean coast. As well as several km of pebble beaches and a historic Roman-Ottoman district, Antalya is surrounded by many quiet beach towns and spectacular ancient cities and ruins.