The Seven Regions
"The gateway between Europe and Asia..."
"A country situated at the heart of the oldest continents of
"The crossroads of many important routes since centuries..."
"A bridge between ages, nations and civilizations..."
If you ever take a look at some of
the related publications, you will see that almost every passage
presenting Turkey begins with such phrases. This is natural, because
Turkey is a unique country with a unique geographical location,
linking East to West, and offering the present together with the
past. Here, history and geography live side by side, harmoniously.
The gifts of nature stand all over the country, carrying signs from
the earliest ages of humanity. Although it is impossible to separate
one from the other, an introduction to the country's physical
characteristics will help you understand its history and its
treasures much better.
In order to situate Turkey, one
must look at the roughly rectangular region between the longitudes
of 36°42N and the latitudes of 26°45E. Greece and Bulgaria border on
the European side; while Georgia, Armenia, Nakhitchevan autonomous
region of Azerbalijan (which have been parts of the former USSR),
Iran, Iraq and Syria border on the Asian.
Between these land borders of
Turkey, there rest the seas which surround it on three sides. The
Black Sea to the north, the Mediterranean to the south, and the
Aegean Sea to the west, fill in the remaining parts of the frame
with their lengthy beautiful coastlines.
Inside the frame the picture itself
is colorful and diverse, with figures ranging from snowcapped
mountains to oak and pine forests; from wide green meadows to broad
and calm lakes. Lucky to see four seasons over its impressive land,
Turkey is a real opportunity, which after visiting, will turn out to
be a real experience. Certainly it is beyond the bounds of
possibility to see all this vast amount of natural and historical
beauty at once, but one may start from one of the seven geographical
regions, which are the divisions made in accordance with varying
physical and climatic characteristics.
Region constitutes the "cornerstone" of Turkey, not just because
it occupies the northwest corner of the country, but also in the
sense that it carries an extra significance with respect to the
other regions, possessing the important geographic area, that
divides the country into two parts, while at the same time that
combines the continents of Europe and Asia. The land of "Anatolia"
on the Asian side, is separated from the land in "Thrace" on the
European, by the internal Marmara Sea which is! connected to the
Aegean Sea by the strait of Dardanelles. The Bosphorus is the second
connecting channel where the waters of Marmara meet those of the
Black Sea. Istanbul, the only city in the world that is set on two
continents, extends on both sides of this strait. As to the figural
design of the two pieces of land, an enormous diversity exists.
Uludag, one of the main peaks of Turkey, is here, also being the
most popular of Turkey's ski resorts. The land is adorned by several
lakes, while small islands float in the sea. Wide plains and forests
are spread over the region, just like the remains from many
In the west,
the Aegean Region extends, beginning from the border of the
Aegean Sea, towards the inner parts of western Anatolia. This rather
uneven region offers a different composition of natural beauties,
the coastline with its lovely beaches being the top attraction. In
the inner parts of the region, mountains fall perpendicular to the
sea, with plains running in between, through which long rivers flow.
Such a geographical configuration makes the atmosphere of the
seaside seep through these mountains and be felt in the farther,
interior regions. Pamukkale, a uniquely attractive natural site in
the world, is in this region, with its white ground of limestone
forming a fantastic cascade.
Mediterranean Region in the south, and the Black Sea Region in
the north, possess similar shapes, each resembling a long narrow
belt, extending on opposite sides of the country. Unlike in the
Aegean Region, both the Black Sea mountains in the north and the
Taurus (Toros) Mountains in the south, run parallel to the
coastline. But these two regions differ somewhat in other
geographical characteristics, in relation with their climatic
peculiarities. The Black Sea Region possesses a rainy coastline in
contrast to the sunny shores of the Mediterranean. But there are
several resorts with nice beaches equally attractive with those in
the south. With its dense forests covering the mountains, this
region forms a green world where wide valleys and rivers run. The
Mediterranean Region on the other hand, provides the three
ingredients of a classical summer holiday: sun, sea, and sand,
though not its only pleasures. At the same moment with swimming and
sunbathing on the beautiful beaches of its coastline, it
interestingly offers skiing on snowy slopes, with resort facilities
at Saklikent, near Antalya. Wide forests sprinkled over the land
make this region a perfect mixture of green and blue, just like the
Black Sea Region, though in different proportions.
Another region with quite different
natural characteristics is Eastern
Anatolia. Although it seems to be an enclosed area with no
opportunities for a sea holiday, it possesses equally amazing
natural assets with the coastal parts of the country. In addition,
it is the record-holder among the regions; being the largest and the
highest; and having within its boundaries, both Mount Ararat (Agri)
which is the highest peak in Turkey (5165 m), and Lake Van which is
the largest lake (3173 sq.km). The famed rivers Euphrates (Firat)
and Tigris (Dicle) also rise here, flowing down through the meadows
and mountains. Some inactive volcanoes exist which contribute to the
tremendous diversity of the region.
While the Eastern Anatolian Region
occupies the largest area in Turkey,
constitutes the smallest part. And just as the Marmara Region is
located in the northwest corner of the country, this small region
forms that of the southeast. Though the general characteristics
resemble those of the eastern region, it offers very different
leisure opportunities, like caving, and it will be an adventure to
visit this region of mountain cities, and to get lost in its
In the very midst of the country,
there exists the seventh region of Turkey,
Central Anatolia. It is the
geographical center as well as the strategical center, with Ankara,
the capital of Turkey set here, in the heart of this region. It is
also a historical center possessing historical treasures dating back
to times as early as the Paleolithic and Neolithic ages. This region
too, constitutes a reflection of the whole country of rich natural
beauties. Cappadocia, one of the rare regions in the world, with its
landscape of rocks and capped pinnacles, stands in this vast
plateau, in addition to the numerous lakes and mountains which also
contribute to the abundant diversity in the region.