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The Seven Regions of Turkey

"The gateway between Europe and Asia..."
"A country situated at the heart of the oldest continents of earth..."
"The crossroads of many important routes since centuries..."
"A bridge between ages, nations and civilizations..."

The Seven Regions of Turkey

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.

Description of Seven Geographical Regions of Turkey

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.

The Marmara 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 centuries.

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.

The 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, Southeastern Anatolia 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 historical beauties.

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.


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