Developments in the scope of technology, without an exemption of all national boundaries, bring people close together. Since the discovery of writing, perhaps 9.000 or 10.000 years ago, certain places in the world were the ground for close contacts among different cultures, civilizations and religions. The foundations of the various ancient civilizations on the lands of Anatolia, the settlement of the disples during the first quarter of Christianity in Anatolia or that of Jewish people who were subjected to the policy of annihilation in their homelands during the Mediaeval Age an inevitably provided the Anatolian region to embody various synagogues and churches beside the Islamic works of arts belonging to the Turkish nations.The fact that these works of art that have attained to our times as a result of our nations’ notion of respect and high esteem to other religion enable Turkey to gain an advantageous position among the other countries.The evaluation of the interests of people to visit religious centers out of the consideration of regular fulfillments can be identified as Faith Tours in the scope of tourism phenomenon..
As Turkey is located on top of a major geothermal belt, it is among the Top-7-countries in the world for quality and quantity of thermal springs with over 1000, with temperatures ranging from 20˚C to 110˚C. Most of the thermal springs are in the Marmara and the Aegean regions. Due to their proximity to popular travel destinations such as İstanbul, İzmir, Pamukkale and Marmaris public transport is easy. Many of Turkey ‘s historical places developed because of their springs, like the ancient city of ‘HIEROPOLIS’ which was built upon the rich mineral springs of Pamukkale, and the ancient Lydian City of Kaunos, whose people took baths in the rich mineral mud of Lake Koycegiz.
In recent years, as golf courses with international standards have opened up, Turkey has become an elite golfing center where players from around the world can meet in an environment of quality and prestige. Especially the area of Belek, 30 km east of Antalya, there is a potential for golf tourism with the unique bonus of the cultural, historical and natural sightseeing of the region. Top – class courses are also being planned for Istanbul, Ankara and Muğla.In Turkey, most courses are in the vicinity of tourist resorts, around the coastal regions, which have the necessary facilities like accommodation, restaurants and entertainment. The Ministry of Tourism plans to establish other 11 golf courses in these tourist areas.
With an approximate number of 40.000 caves and caverns present, our country is, in comparison to other countries, a ‘paradise of caverns‘. An important geologic- and geomorphologic fact in the formation of caverns is karstification (karstic fields), which is present in the Western and Central Taurus Mountains (Muğla, Antalya, Isparta, Burdur, Konya, Karaman, İçel and Adana) of our country. The longest (Pinarözü Cavern, 16 km west of Beyşehir Lake) and the deepest (Çukurpinar Sinkhole, 1880 meters at the south of Anamur) caves of Turkey are present on this mountain belt.The cavern investigations in our country are initiated by the Cavern Research Society (MAD) founded in 1964. Later on, the first university club, Bosphorus University Cavern Research Club (BÜMAK) has been founded in 1973. In 1979, Karst and Caverns Exploration Unit founded under the authority of MTA Geology Studies Department is executing most of the cavern explorations nowadays.The exact number of caves investigated and documented by all local and foreign cave explorers is 800 so far.
Turkey with its rich natural resources and hundreds of rivers provides great opportunities for water sports like rafting, canoeing and water-skiing, while always respecting the cultural, historical and environmental qualities of the country. The most famous is the River Coruh, renowned internationally as one of the fastest flowing in the world, and venue of the 4TH WORLD WATERSPORTS CHAMPIONSHIPS in 1993, which saw 300 competitors from 28 countries.
The azure waters of the Mediterranean, Aegean, Marmara and Black Sea surround Turkey to the south, west and north, make a treasure chest of coves, inlets, bays and beaches in which yachtsmen can choose a different and private anchorage each night. The sailing paradise of Turkey is also home to the “Mavi Yolculuk”, or Blue Voyage, an idyllic cruise, which travels to the private beach of Cleopatra, the eternal fires of Mount Olimpos and the remains of thousands of ancient civilisations. Sailing in Turkey also allows visitors to experience the hospitality of the people in the coastal villages and towns. The tempered winds blowing from west and northwest make the long summers ideal for yachting, and seem to encourage an appreciation of nature. From some of the turquoise coast’s unspoilt and sheltered bays you can see mountain peaks rising to almost 3,000 meters above sea level.
Turkey is a country which should be discovered by fond of air sports such as Hillside parachuting, Paragliding, Glider, Parachute and Balloon.
Within the seas of Turkey, divers can discover a fascinating submerged world, from underwater caverns to sunken ships and even the remains of ancient cities. The only areas prohibited from diving are military zones, those conducting scientific research and areas under protection.
Source: Important Bird Regions of Turkey Natural Life Protection Foundation Ornithology is an observation sport, which maintains the identification of the nature of the nature from views of the birds. Birds, which are the best indicator of a healthful environment, are present within all kinds of life ambient. You can perform bird observation nearly everywhere such as desert, forest, steppe, marshes, and parks within the city. Both season and time of the observation (ornithology) is not limited; it can be done for 365 days and 24 hours. 450 kinds of bird species are registered until today. Monitoring and understanding of bird, is the most intelligent way to observe our natural environment at the same time. Birds, which are very sensitive to the environmental conditions, can be the prior messenger of the matters such as forest loss, damage of marshes or usage of excessive agricultural medicines. Under this concept, bird observation is among the elements of detailed and healthful environment protection strategies. The total number of bird species within Turkey is equal to the bird species within the whole Europe. One of the most important factors that our country is rich in connection with bird species is having plentiful marshes, and the other one is that it is on the important bird immigration roads. Bird observation stations and observation towers are established within important marshes of our country (Manyas, İzmir, Göksu Deltası etc.), and progresses in connection with ornito- tourism had performed. Important passing point of bird immigrations, seen especially during autumn and spring months within our country, are İstanbul and Çanakkale Straits, Eastern Mediterranean (Adana, Hatay, Gaziantep) and North East Anatolia (Artvin, Rize, Kars). North East Anatolia region has an important potential especially in connection with preying birds. For example, in North East Anatolia, you can only face with Lyrurus mlokeesiewczi in Georgia and in this region. Especially marshes on the bird immigration roads have important potential in connection with birds. Bird observation (ornithology) is rapidly widespread within Turkey during recent years. Currently ‘bird observations groups’ had been established within various cities. Groups are sharing information and registries related with their performed observations under Internet environment.
Turkey has a great variety of climbing opportunities to suit hikers, climbers and winter sports fans. The mountains come in all sizes geo-morphological and tectonic structures, and boasting diverse flora and fauna. Every year thousands of tourists from all over the world come here for winter sports (especially skiing), mountaineering and hiking.
The highlands of Turkey and the lifestyle of its people have an important place in the rich cultural landscape of Turkey. The tradition embodied in the lyrics of this ancient folk song, ”The People Of Avşar Picket Up And Headed For New Lands” have still being sung today, is what led to the settlement of hundreds of new areas in Turkey. In the Chinese Chronicles, Turks are described as people that “lived by following the rains and the pastures with their horses and high-wheeled wagons.” After they came to Anatolia and abandoned their nomadic wanderings for more settled ways, they embarked on a new journey continuing old traditions within the parameters of a new lifestyle. In this new millennium of the “global village” where cultural differences seem to be disappearing, the highlands of Turkey offer a refreshing authenticity of ancient tradition, which is noticed as soon as it is experienced. Compared with our modern way of life, it is a vivacious way of life in harmony once both oriental and exotic. The highlands have much to offer; the fresh clean air of an undefiled environment, crystal clear streams, coolness that is a relief from the sweltering heat during the hottest summer days, views of enchanting beauty, fruit and vegetables grown without hormones and ripen en the vine slowly and naturally, milk and meat products of animals pastured in the most natural environments. The innumerable wild animal and plant species living in their natural habitat rescue us from the virtual world of TV documentaries and enable us to experience real life up close and personal.
The Tarurus Highlands
Exposed to the gentle Mediterranean breezes, the snow-covered peaks of the Taurus Mountain Range intermingle with the foothills spread out like a colorful nomadic carpet of flowers dotted with fruit orchards, pine, fir, cedar and juniper trees. When the crocuses blossom in the spring, the nomads (“Yörükler”) set off to find pasture for their animals among the highlands covered with the very hues of green. When the Mediterranean summer heat begins to make itself felt in the lowlands and coastal areas, the flight begins to cooler altitudes where the springwater is cold and crystal clear. Plant Life: The Taurus Mountains have a wide assortment of plant cover and as one ascends and disappears from the coast areas, the diversity of the plant cover varies. Citrus orchards, different types of shrubs, sandalwood, a variety of oaks, sycamore tree, wild olive trees, blackberries, terebinth trees, heath, frankincense, mastic, redbud, strawberry and laurel trees, as well as different types of pine and juniper trees, beech, Taurus fir and cedar trees enhance the natural beauty of this mountain range. There are a wide variety of flowers during the spring months. Snowdrops, wild cyclamen, narcissus, hyacinth, poppies, oregano, lavender, mint, purslane, tulips and daisies are among the more common types of flora seen in this area. Wildlife: The wildlife in these mountains presents the same diversity as that of the rich plant cover. Taurus Mountains are home for birds such as pigeons, blackbirds, francolins, partridges, quail, turtledoves, woodcock as well as for eagles, sturnidaes, falcons, chaffinches and orioles. Animals that can be observed here in their natural habitat are deer fallow deer, bezoar goat, boar, lynx, roe deer, fox, wolf, jackals, martens, rabbits and hyena. The Taurus highlands are found within the provinces of Gaziantep, Hatay (Antioch), Adana, İçel, Antalya and Muğla.
The Highlands of BlackSea
With their mountain meadows adorned with colorful wildflowers, their spruce forests characterize the highlands of the Black Sea. The verdant appearance and lush green slopes of the Black Sea coasts are due not only the abundant rainfall but also to the humid and foggy weather. The humidity and the foggy weather gives way to a brilliant sunshine and oxygen–rich fresh mountain air as one ascends from the coastal areas high up to the mountains. Up here in the Black Sea highlands the mountains are covered with trees like fir, spruce, Scotch pine, cedar, beach, oak, linden, elm, hornbeam, alder and wild hazelnut as well as flowers like snowdrops, wild azalea, forest rose and countless other wildflowers. The Black Sea highlands are found in the provinces of Sinop, Ordu, Giresun, Trabzon, Rize, Artvin, Gümüşhane and Bayburt.
Various geographic characteristics, climate variety, caused by geographical differences, being a natural bridge between three continents, caused Anatolia Peninsula to have a rarely encountered vegetation in the world. While vegetation number present in all along Europe is a total of 12.000, this figure is 9.000 in our country. Our country is superior than Europe according to vegetation variety. Because our country is not only superior than Europe in connection with endemic plants which grow only a certain region or whose homeland is certain region in the world but also one of the few regions of the worlds. While endemic plant number of Europe is 2.750 this number equals to 3.000 in our country. Endemic plant number is only 600 in Antalya. Total plant number of England is 2.000 (9.000 in our country). It is known that one of the Mediterranean states, Spain as well as Former Yugoslavia have 500 endemic plants each. It is known that Bulgaria has 3.650, Greece 5.000, Cyprus 2.000, Syria-Lebanon 3.500, Iraq 4.000, İran 8.000, France 4.500, Germany 2.500, İtaly 5.600, Spain 5.000, Romania 3.400, England 2.000, Hungry 2.214, İsland 377 and Norway 1.715 plants on the basis of total plant number. The three cities of our country, which have most endemic plants are Antalya with 578, Konya with 478 and İçel with 366. As you can see the City of Antalya is richer than countries such as Spain and Former Yugoslavia, it can easily be estimated that the City of Içel is richer than most of the European countries in connection with Endemic (and Non-Endemic) plant richness. If Antalya and İçel are thought together, it can be easily found that these two cities become unrivalled against European countries with their plant potential. Europe’s most endemic plant owning country except Turkey is Greece with 800 endemic plants. Rival country, İtaly’s endemic plant number is 712. The endemic plant number of Japan is 2.000, USA’s is 4.036 and Switzerland’s is 1. As it can be considered that cities of our country can be compared with countries of Europe, but the European continent is poorer than Turkey as a total. One of the most important reasons for plant richness of Turkey is being Anatolia a shelter for plants during the Ice Age. Today Turkey is at the intersection point of 3 different plant areas, which is not present in either of the European country. These plant area are Mediterranean Plant Area (including Mediterranean and Aegean regions), European – Siberia Plant Area (including Black Sea and Marmara region), İran – Turan Plant Area (including Central Anatolia and Easter Anatolia regions).
Having the great majority of her population being composed of young people, Turkey embodies camp centers and facilities enabling the young people living in abroad and in country the opportunity to enjoy an easily acquired holiday.
Concerning the history and cultural heritage Turkey is a door amazing possibilities world. Turkey is a magnificent place for meetings, incentive and congresses where Europe and Asia meets. Turkey is submitting richness of first class hotel, resort and conference facility, easily transportation to main cities of the world, beautiful decorations and unique panorama attraction. A perfect climate and lesser-cost advantages compared to alternative destinations are added to all of these. Turkey is an ideal destination with its being near to European countries and its exoticness. It is possible to reach Istanbul within two or three hours via Turkish Airlines or other national airlines with transfer connection to İzmir, Antalya and Ankara and direct flight possibility. Daily flights are connecting İstanbul to main cities of the United States of America, the Middle East and Asia. City tours and amusement programs can be organized within a package. Its unrivalled decor and richness of architectural heritages, İstanbul is within the biggest tourism destinations of the world. With its palm trees and ancient ruins, İzmir is the door of Aegean region. Sweet coastal summer places such as Kuşadası, Marmaris, Bodrum and Fethiye are very good choices for sales, meetings and incentives. Antalya, Mersin and Mediterranean’s coastal summer places are the attraction places of visitors during all of the year with sun, beautiful sand beaches and ancient historical places. Ankara, the capital city of Turkey is an important center with easy transport to great hotels and restaurants, magnificent rock churches and underground cities panorama having legendary Cappadocia. The first capital city of Ottoman Empire Bursa is serving a dazzling panorama, thermal bathed hotels and perfect skiing possibilities in Uludağ. Turkey has all kinds of equipment for organizing all kinds and sized of meetings, incentive and conference with appropriate comfort and style today. Traditional Turkish hospitality, high quality national food and wines, endless amusement and voyage possibilities are the guaranties of echoing success of all congress sound to be organized in Turkey.
Silk industry had taken a very important place of various nations from ancient times; and silk and spice coming from Far East had played an important role for the western world in international relations. Silk is also maintained the identification of the Eastern culture by Western societies. Transportation of silk and spice of east via caravans is formed the commercial roads reaching to Europe from China. In the Medieval Age commercial caravans had started to their voyages from today’s Chinese Xian city, and reached to the Kashgar city of Uzbekistan; they were reaching to Hazar Sea from Afghanistan plains with following the first one of the roads separated into two there; and to Anatolia over Iran with climbing over Karakorum Mountains with other one. They were going to Europe via road over Thrace or via maritime lines from Anatolia. In this commercial movement improving from east to west a road network, used since previous ages, had been benefited. These thousands of kilometers long caravan roads, which allow cultural relations between continents besides dense transportation of silk, porcelain, paper, spice and jewelry, are named as ‘Silk road’ in the course of time. Silk road, beyond being a commercial road connecting Asia to Europe, is holding the signs of cultures, religions and races, which lived in the region for 2000 years, and serves an extraordinary history and cultural wealth. After gaining of independence of Middle Asia Turkish Republics, re-animation of Silk Road both as a commercial road and also a historical and cultural value is considered, and works for protection and existence of structures which are constructed throughout this road but not used today with giving them new functions, is commenced.
The high altitude mountains of Turkey have made the country and important center for winter tourism, and skiing is becoming increasingly popular.