10 Reasons to Visit Turkey and Country Facts

Here are 10 reasons why you should visit Turkey:

1. Istanbul

10 Reasons to Visit Turkey and Country Facts 1

Istanbul is a city that has witnessed countless things. Connecting the Asian continent and the European continent with three bridges, Istanbul also connects eastern and western cultures at the same time. Lively night life, excellent views of the Bosphorus, historical half-island attracts tourists. Furthermore, two great empires in history, capital of Istanbul, everywhere smells of history. Not only for Turkey, an important city for the whole world. With a population of 16 million, it is one of the most crowded cities in the world and this city never sleeps.

2. The Grand Bazaar

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Grand Bazaar is one of the biggest bazaars and oldest bazaars in the world in the middle of Istanbul. The Grand Bazaar has about 4,000 shops and the total number of employees in these shops is about 25,000. Moreover, it is said that during the peak times of the day, there are half a million people in close proximity. Home to 91 million tourists a year, the bazaar is the most visited tourist attraction in the world.

3. Hagia Sofia

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Hagia Sofia is a historical museum in Istanbul. It was a basilica-planned patriarchal cathedral built by the Byzantine Emperor Justinian I in the center of the old city on the historical peninsula of Istanbul between 532 and 537. It was converted into a monument by Sultan Mehmet the Conqueror in 1453 after the capture of Istanbul by the Ottomans. Since 1935 it has been serving as a museum. Hagia Sofia is a domed basilica type building that combines a basilica plan with a central plan in architectural terms. Furthermore, it is considered an important turning point in the history of architecture with the features of the dome passage and the supporting system.

4. Cappadocia

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Cappadocia is a region where 60 million years ago the soft layers formed by Erciyes, Hasandağı, and Güllüdağ erupted by rain and wind for millions of years. The human settlement extends to the Paleolithic turn. Moreover, the lands that the Hittites lived became one of the most important centers of Christianity in later periods. Cappadocia is on the list of UNESCO World Heritage sites with rocky houses and churches.

5. Turkish Baths

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After the conquest of Istanbul, the Turks built thousands of hammams here and throughout the Ottoman Empire. In the seventeenth century, only 168 large bazaar baths were in Istanbul. Baths are made with hot water and soap are good for washing and cleaning the body for cleaning. Washing the body sweating in the bath with a cloth or a sponge facilitates blood circulation in the body.

6. Mount Nemrut

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The grave, monumental sculptures and unique landscapes and the most spectacular remnants of the Hellenistic Period are one of the most magnificent remnants of Antiochos I, the King of Commagene, who ruled on the slopes of Mount Nemrut at the height of 2,150 meters in the Kahta District of Adıyaman in order to show his gratitude to the gods and their ancestors. Monumental sculptures spread to the eastern, western and northern terraces. The eastern terrace is the sanctuary and for this reason, the most important sculptures and architectural remains are here. Furthermore, the well preserved giant sculptures are made of limestone blocks and are 8-10 meters high.

7. Pamukkale

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We encourage everyone to see this white place in the UNESCO World Heritage List. Pamukkale is home to a natural beauty that makes people wonder. Travertens are formed as a result of precipitation of various chemical reactions. It’s actually a kind of rock. In Pamukkale region, there are 17 hot springs in the area where the travertines are located and 35-100 degrees hot water source.

8. Beautiful Beaches

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The sea on three sides surrounds the country. Turkey is popular with its coast, especially in the southern regions. In the coasts where millions of tourists flock in the summer months, you can find everything you are looking for.

9. Antalya

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Antalya region from prehistory until today has housed many civilizations covered by the province and the province is located in the most ancient cities in Turkey. In Turkey, which attracts the greatest number of tourists along with Istanbul, tourism opportunities and facilities in every period of the year are more prosperous in the summer months. In Antalya you can do culture tourism, especially sea, sports, health, winter, congress, plateau, cave, camp and belief tourism and facilities for these tourism options are available.

10. Foods

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Turkish cuisine, which is one of the few cuisines of the world and differentiating its local and regional varieties, under the influence of Ottoman cuisine also influenced the cuisines of the Balkans and the Middle East at the same time. New tastes in the palaces of the Seljuk and Ottoman empires in the Turkish cuisine, shaped by the cultural geographical, ecological, economic and historical processes in which they are nourished, have made significant contributions to the enrichment of this culture. Turkey has a rich cuisine consisting of 2 thousand 205 varieties of local food and drink. It is the province of Gaziantep which has 291 varieties of food and drink and the richest cuisine in Turkish cuisine.


Tourism in Turkey

Tourism in Turkey has largely concentrated in the seaside resort along various historical sites and the Aegean and Mediterranean coasts.

Turkey drawing 42 million tourists in 2014 was one of the world’s most popular six countries. However, this number is about 36 million in 2015 and in 2016, it declined to about 25 million. As a result, a partial recovery has begun in 2017 and 32.4 million tourists visit the country. But exact figures are not known because it is known that the state media and institutions have increased the numbers.

Government policies alienating Western countries are the main reason for the decline of tourism.

What is the Currency of Turkey?

Turkey’s currency is the Turkish lira. Sub-unit of currency used in Turkey and North Cyprus is a penny. The Central Bank of Turkey organized the TL Symbol Contest on 8 September 2011 in order to increase the reputation of the Turkish lira and increase its awareness in the world. The new symbol was determined as the result of the competition and announced by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on 1 March 2012. Symbol of Turkish Lira: ₺ and code: TRY.

In order to reduce the number of zeros, on January 31, 2005, it was temporarily abolished and replaced with New Turkish Lira (YTL). Due to the completion of the transition from YTL to TL, it was re-introduced on 1 January 2009. There are no 6 zeros in the currency that entered into force in 2009.

Coins and Banknotes

Turkish Lira
Turkish Lira
  • Coins: 1 kuruş, 10 kuruş, 25 kuruş, 50 kuruş, 1₺
  • Banknotes: 5₺, 10₺, 20₺, 50₺, 100₺, 200₺

On the front of the Turkish lira so far, only Mustafa Kemal Ataturk (the founder of the Republic of Turkey) and Ismet Inonu (Turkey’s first prime minister) images were found. İsmet İnönü’s picture was only on the front of the Turkish lira during the period when he was the presidency (1938-1950). The reason for this is that it has been a tradition since the Ottoman period and is a method used by many non-Ottoman states to put the picture of the head of state at that time on the front of the money.

But this law was changed by the government headed by Adnan Menderes in 1952 and it was decided that above the Turkish lira, only Mustafa Kemal Ataturk’s picture should be found, not the head of state at that time.

Turkish Cuisine / What to Eat in Turkey?

The Turkish cuisine varies according to the region. Many localities like Black Sea Cuisine, Southeast Cuisine, Central Anatolian Cuisine have their own rich food treasure.

Turkish cuisine
Turkish cuisine

Istanbul, A Mirror of Turkey

Istanbul, where you can eat almost all the dishes of Turkish cuisine and at the same time you can find fresh fruits from world cuisines, should be at the top of your list in your dining room.

It has a culinary culture coming from Istanbul, Byzantine, and Ottoman. However, most of the traditional food has been forgotten and left to be replaced. Istanbul, Turkey, as a meeting point, offers a combination of flavors from each region. Although the city’s culinary culture varies according to periods, some tastes have always protected their popularity.

In the last 20 years in Istanbul, the kebabs and restaurants of Southeastern Anatolia have become very popular. The cuisine of the city varies from region to region.

Besides, restaurants in Asia and Europe are mainly located in Greece, China, and France. As an effect of American culture, fast food has become widespread in recent years. So much so that fast food shops selling products like hamburger, pizza, lahmacun, kebab, sandwich, toast and hot dogs can be seen on the Istanbul streets.

Popular Turkish Foods, Turkish Restaurant Suggestions

Istanbul is a metropolis where you can find the best examples of Ottoman – Turkish cuisine besides the world cuisine.

Turkish Breakfast, Places to Have Turkish Breakfast

turkish breakfast
Turkish Breakfast

If you want to make a delicious start to your holiday in Turkey, you should try the famous Turkish breakfast. In particular, Turkey has many places where you can have breakfast in Istanbul. In this regard, we recommend you to visit the Beşiktaş breakfast street.

Turkish – Greek Tavern Culture

If you want to experience the tavern experience that offers a mixture of Greek and Turkish cultures in Istanbul, go absolutely to these places;

Eleos Restaurant-Taksim, Barba Vasilis-Balat, O Maestros-Arnavutköy, Neşemore-Etiler, Ela Maçka Taverna-Maçka, Süreyya Teras-Beyoğlu, Giritli Restaurant-Sultanahmet…

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rakı-meze

Of course, when it comes to Istanbul, raki-fish is of special importance. You must absolutely taste the delicious Turkish meze with the famous Turkish drink rakı. Tarabya district in Istanbul and Çiçek Pasajı in Taksim are places that come to mind first as raki-fish. If you are planning to go to Tarabya, we recommend you to reserve one of the raki restaurants on the edge of the Bosphorus for a day. Especially Hristo, one of the oldest places in Tarabya, may be a good option.

Turkish Kebab, Where to Eat Turkish Kebab

kebap
kebap

In addition, at the beginning of the meals you have to eat in Istanbul, the Turkish kebabs come with a Turkish-lahmacun-dürüm triple. The main ingredients of these exquisite flavors are meat, along with spices, oil, and dough. If you have a diet that you need to keep up with, we are sorry for you. At the beginning of the places you can go to eat kebab in Istanbul, there are Bayramoğlu in Beykoz and Horhor in Aksaray where there are many kebab restaurants.

Turkish Street Foods, Where to Eat Street Foods in Turkey?

Kızılkayalar
Kızılkayalar

We advise you to try street meals as you come to Istanbul. Wet hamburger, tantuni, kumpir are among the tastes you will not forget. Located in Taksim Square, Kızılkayalar is one of the most famous places you can taste street tastes.

A Final Touch, Turkish Desserts!

baklava
Baklava

Of course, we can not pass dessert while talking about the influence of thousands of years old Ottoman cuisine. In the Turkish cuisine, where milk and syrup desserts are of great importance, baklava, kadayıf, şekepare, rice pudding, kazandibi ve tavukgöğsü come at the forefront of our suggestions. İnci Pastanesi in Taksim and Sütiş in Emirgan are among the best choices for dessert.

Public Holidays in Turkey

Here are the official public holidays in Turkey.

  • January 1, New Year’s Day. The first day of the Gregorian new year
  • April 23, National Sovereignty and Children’s Day. Commemoration of the first opening of the Grand National Assembly of Turkey at Ankara in 1920.
  • 1 May, Labour and Solidarity Day, May Day
  • 19 May, Commemoration of Atatürk, Youth and Sports Day. Commemoration of the beginning of national liberation movement initiated in 1919 by Atatürk’s landing in Samsun. Dedicated to the youth.
  • July 15, Democracy and National Unity Day. Commemoration of the national unity against the coup d’état attempt for democracy in 2016.
  • August 30, Victory Day. Commemoration of the victory at the final battle in Dumlupınar ending the Turkish Independence War in 1922, dedicated to the armed forces.
  • October 29, Republic Day. Commemoration of the proclamation of the republic in 1923. Also the half-day in the afternoon of the previous day.

Ramadan Feast

After the end of the Islamic month of Ramadan. Religious holiday for 3 days. Also the half-day in the afternoon of the previous day.

Sacrifice Feast

Begins on the tenth day of the Islamic month Dhu’l-Hijjah. Religious holiday for 3 days in the Hajj period. Also the half-day in the afternoon of the previous day.

Festivals in Turkey

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You can find any kind of atmosphere in Turkey from Turkish and international pop music to alternative rock, jazz, Latin and much more. Turkey has a great reputation in the world related to the popular nightlife activities. During the summer season, Istanbul hosts some of the most active nightlife events. In addition to Istanbul, Antalya is regarded as one of Turkey’s largest city filled with nightlife.

You can find any kind of atmosphere in Turkey from Turkish and international pop music to alternative rock, jazz, Latin and much more. Turkey has a great reputation in the world related to the popular nightlife activities. During the summer season, Istanbul hosts some of the most active nightlife events. In addition to Istanbul, Antalya is regarded as one of Turkey’s largest city filled with nightlife.

Music Festivals in Turkey

  • SunSplash Open Air Antalya Music Festival (September): This festival is held in unique Turkey’s Mediterranean coast. A few days of dance and parties, artists and DJs from many parts of the world add joy to this festival.
  • Rock’n Coke Music Festival (July): Coca-Cola sponsored the festival in Istanbul Hezarfen Airport. The organization took the stage with many famous artists and bands from around the world and Turkey. Famous groups such as Limp Bizkit, Motörhead, Travis, Moby, Nine Inch Nails, Muse, Franz Ferdinand, Placebo, The Cure, Korn, Iggy Pop, Gogol Bordello, The Prodigy, Linkin Park, Within Temptation, The Rasmus and Juliette Lewis have participated in the festival.
  • Istanbul International Music Festival (June-July): The event was held in classical music, classical ballet, contemporary dance, opera, traditional music, jazz, pop, cinema, theater and visual arts. After 1986, the film festival, biennial, theater and jazz events became separate festivals, and the music festival gained its own unique identity.
  • Mersin International Music Festival (April-May): The Association of Art Activities organizes the Mersin International Music Festival. Moreover, the festival has hosted many famous artists and communities worldwide.
  • Istanbul International Jazz Festival (July): The Istanbul Foundation for Culture and Arts organizes the jazz-focused music festival every year since 1994 in the first half of July in Istanbul’s various concert and event venues.

Other music festivals held in different cities of Turkey

Chill Out Music Festival (September), Konya International Mystic Music Festival (September), Izmir International European Jazz Festival (June-July), Istanbul One Love Festival (July), Gumusluk International Classical Music Festival Music Festival (April), Ankara International Jazz Festival (May), Antalya International Piano Festival (September-October), Bozcaada Jazz Festival (July).

Art and Culture Festivals in Turkey

Aspendos International Opera and Ballet Festival
  • Antalya International Film Festival (October): It has been held in Antalya since 1964.  It is Turkey’s the most important film festival. One of the most established film festivals in Europe and Asia, and also Turkey’s oldest and longest-running film festival.
  • Istanbul International Film Festival (April): Istanbul Foundation for Culture and Arts has organized the festival since 1982. It took place in various cinemas every year in April and also hosts two national and international competitions.
  • Aspendos International Opera and Ballet Festival (September):  The Ministry of Culture organizes the Aspendos International Opera and Ballet Festival. Turkey’s first opera/ballet festival. It has been held in Antalya since 1994. It takes place in the ancient theater of two thousand years.
  • Istanbul International Theatre Festival (May-June): The festival was held every year until 2001. In addition to theater plays, theater groups from around the world participate in the festival, where workshops, seminars, conferences, and exhibitions take place.

Other art and culture festivals held in different cities of Turkey

Istanbul International Opera Festival (June-July), Izmir International Short Film Festival (November), Antalya International Choir Festival (April), Antalya International Folk Music and Dance Festival (July), Mevlana Whirling Dervishes Festival (December), Bodrum International Ballet Festival (July-August), International Istanbul Biennial Festival (September November).

Lifestyle Events in Turkey

Istanbul Coffee Festival
  • Izmir International Fair (September): Izmir International Fair is Turkey’s first and only general trade fairs. With cultural and social events it is one of Turkey’s most important city events.
  • Istanbul Coffee Festival (October): The Istanbul Coffee Festival takes place once a year in Istanbul. It is the meeting point of coffee itself, smell, all kinds of tools, coffee shops, coffee arts..
  • Shopping Festival Istanbul(July): Offers shopping experience together with an unforgettable ‘Istanbul’ experience with Shopping Fest.
  • Istanbul International Gastronomy Festival (February): Turkey’s largest gastronomy contest and festival organization, which is 15 years. World Association of Chefs (WACS) take place in cooperation with the organization. It brings together the gastronomic world in Turkey at the international level.
  • Cappadox (June): Music, contemporary art, gastronomy and outdoor disciplines come together. Cappadox’s 2018 theme is “Silence”.

Other lifestyle events held in different cities of Turkey

Ankara Shopping Festival (August), Istanbul Design Week, Istanbul Fashion Week (October), Istanbul International Puppet Festival (October),  Istanbul Boat Show (February), Bodrum International Yacht Show (August), Izmir International Puppet Festival (March), Urgup International Wine Festival (October).

Is Turkey a Safe Country?

Turkey is a safe place to visit unless you get as you use your common sense and precaution. Governments around the world are not advised to travel south-east of the country (Syria border) and Diyarbakir, Siirt, Tunceli and Hakkari provinces on this border, constantly due to the risk of terrorism.

The last terrorist attack in Turkey was held in Istanbul in 2016 New Year’s Eve in a nightclub.

Turkey Safety Map
Turkey Safety Map

Street crime is low in Turkey but is likely especially on defrauded of travelers. You should pay attention to those who are trying to approach you and sell something while you are walking around in tourist areas.

One of the most fraudulent methods in Istanbul is an extra bill on a restaurant where you sit. Before eating or drinking in a place, ask for the price and get information about the prices. There is a benefit if you go with a small amount of money.

Your visit to Turkey, Turkey’s culture to understand and respect is very important. Especially religious places should be respected.

Religious respects are most important, you should travel with clothes that will not show your arms and legs in the mosque.

General Security Information

  1. Pickpocketing and baggage are especially common in tourist areas such as Taksim Square, Sultanahmet, Grand Bazaar and the Egyptian Bazaar in Istanbul.
  2. Regions shouldn’t be visited on the Syrian border in Turkey.
  3. In general, it is safe to transport in Turkey. However, travelers must always keep an eye on their products.
  4. Turkey, targeted by a terrorist group beyond the Syrian border. in Turkey, the Turkish army in southeastern Turkey and eastern regions in the fight against the terrorist group from Kurdistan workers party.
  5. It is recommended that female passengers stay away from isolated places and don’t travel alone in the dark. In addition, there is a possibility that women will be touched by hand in public transport.

Trip Advice to Places Around Turkey

Where to go from Turkey, how to get there? Istanbul to Izmir, Istanbul to Antalya, Istanbul to Cappadocia.

Prices are given in local currency, Turkish Lira, due to exchange rate changes between currencies.

Istanbul to Izmir

Izmir
Izmir
  • Private Car: Izmir is 472 kilometers from Istanbul by road. It takes about 5.5 hours. Daily car rentals start at ₺275TRY.
  • Bus: With the companies Metro and Ulusoy you can travel from Istanbul to Izmir by bus. Round-trip ticket prices average ₺240TRY. The journey takes 8 hours. For bus tickets click.
  • Train: Izmir city does not have direct train line from Istanbul. Transfers can be made in the form of Istanbul-Eskisehir and Eskisehir-Izmir. But the trip is not recommended because it will take a long time.
  • Flight: It is possible to take a 1-hour flight from Istanbul to Izmir. Flying companies: Turkish Airlines and Pegasus. Round-trip average prices are around ₺400TRY.

Istanbul to Antalya

Antalya
Antalya
  • Private Car: Antalya is 697 kilometers from Istanbul by road. It takes about 8.5 hours. Daily car rentals start at ₺280TRY.
  • Bus: With the companies Metro and Ulusoy you can travel from Istanbul to Antalya by bus. Round-trip ticket prices average ₺280TRY. The journey takes 12 hours. For bus tickets click.
  • Train: There is no train line from Istanbul to Antalya.
  • Flight: It is possible to take a 1-hour 20 minutes flight from Istanbul to Antalya. Flying companies: Turkish Airlines and Pegasus. Round-trip average prices are around ₺380TRY.

Istanbul to Cappadocia

Cappadocia
Cappadocia
  • Private Car: Cappadocia is 757 kilometers from Istanbul by road. It takes about 8 hours. Daily car rentals start at ₺280TRY.
  • Bus: With the company Metro and Nevsehir Seyahat you can travel from Istanbul to Cappadocia by bus. Round-trip ticket prices average ₺240TRY. The journey takes 11 hours. For bus tickets click.
  • Train: There is no train line from Istanbul to Cappadocia.
  • Flight: It is possible to take a 1-hour flight from Istanbul to Nevsehir. Flying companies: Turkish Airlines. Round-trip average prices are around ₺400TRY. Nevsehir Cappadocia Airport’tan Cappadocia yaklaşık 40 kilometers. It can be reached from the airport to the Cappadocia Center by Havaş company located at the Airport. The one-way price is around ₺30TRY.

As a second option Kayseri Airport from Istanbul. From here you can also reach Cappadocia center with Havas. Airline companies flying from Istanbul to Kayseri are Turkish Airlines and Pegasus. Round-trip ticket price is ₺350TRY average.

Best Time to Travel to Turkey

Four seasons can be experienced at the same time, favorable period to visit Turkey with its unique and incomparable geography varies depending on the area to be visited.

Palandöken, Uludağ, and Erciyes, which are preferred for winter sports, reach the most suitable snow levels in January and February.

Black Sea Region is rainy most of the year. It is suitable to visit during the transitional periods such as the end of spring and the beginning of autumn. The season on the Aegean coast is short, this region is suitable for visits in summer, especially in July and August.

However, in Antalya, which is known as the “Pearl of the Mediterranean”, the season is spread between May and November for sea tourism. Located at the crossroads of Mediterranean and Aegean Mugla, Turkey, it is the most preferred place by both domestic and foreign tourists.

Each month the different place of the country becomes the tourism region. Different places should be visited every month and every season.

  • January – January is one of the best months for winter vacationers. In January, at the beginning of the ski resorts in Turkey Uludag, Kartalkaya and Kartepe come. Kars Sarikamis may be preferred if you prefer a little more quiet and long runways.
  • February – In this month, which we approach towards the end of the winter season, although the snow in the lowlands begins to soften, the winter sports in the high segments continue at full speed. In particular, Erzurum Palandöken is at the service of ski lovers with 22 pistes.
  • March – In March, Abant Lake can be a weekend getaway in spectacular atmospheres.  Spend the first days of spring in Izmir. You can take a city tour that includes Izmir Clock Tower, Velvet Castle, House of the Virgin Mary, Culturepark, Ephesus-Pergamon Ancient Cities. You can plan a cultural tour starting from Çanakkale and continuing with Gallipoli, Troy, Assos, Behramkale, Bozcaada and Zeus Altar.
  • April – Agva, Polenezkoy and Ida Mountains can offer you a peaceful holiday this month when the spring begins to feel good. In the family-friendly small pension or in the tree houses you will find accommodation in the Ida Mountains, where you will have a thousand tons of green.
  • May – In May, Cappadocia, Masukiye and West Black Sea are the places to visit. If your route is Cappadocia, you should see Göreme, Ürgüp, Deep Well, Ihlara Valley, Haji Bektash, Uchisar.
  • June – You can enjoy a boat tour in Dalyan and Iztuzu Beach, where Caretta-Carettas leave their eggs. Tombs of King Kaunos, seen from the reeds, are worth seeing. For sea, sun and sand lovers, Kaş will be an ideal choice.
  • July – In the middle of summer, you can leave yourself in the unique beauty of the Aegean. Marmaris, Gocek, Bodrum, Çeşme, Alaçatı, Fethiye are the places that you should visit in July. You can also paraglide in Fethiye.
  • August – You can make a blue voyage including Fethiye, Oludeniz, Soğuksu, Gemiler Island, Yeşilköy, Kaş, Kekova, Tersane, Ucagiz, Simena, Gökkaya, Bayindir Harbor, Kalkan, Çamlıburun, Batıkkaya.
  • September – You will have a chance to store oxygen in your lungs, and the Black Sea Plants will revive you. You will get lost in the narrow streets and you will love the houses arranged in rows in Bozcaada.
  • October – You can see Istanbul in October especially for exploring the islands or for a wonderful trekking tour. Olympos, Çıralı, Adrasan are the main trekking tour routes. The best month to explore Prince Islands is October.
  • November – Gönen, Yalova, Abant. There are a lot of places to see in Bursa from Green Tomb to Ulu Mosque, Cumalıkızık Village to Cekirge-Oylat Thermal Spring.
  • December – In the last month of the year, the cold weather starts to feel good. Hagia Sophia, Topkapi Palace, Sultan Ahmed Mosque, Suleymaniye Mosque, Basilica Cistern, Grand Bazaar, Spice Bazaar, Dolmabahce Palace, Çırağan Palace, Galata Tower, Sultanahmet Square, Eyup Sultan are the main points you need to add your trip route.

What is the Official Language of Turkey?

The official language of Turkey is Turkish. Furthermore, according to the Constitution: “No language other than Turkish can be taught as an official language to Turkish citizens in educational institutions, and the principles that foreign languages to be taught in education and training institutions and schools that conduct foreign language education and training shall be governed by law.

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