Turkey is bordered by eight countries: Bulgaria to the northwest; Greece to the west; Georgia to the northeast; Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Iran to the east; Iraq and Syria to the southeast. The Mediterranean Sea and Cyprus are to the south; the Aegean Sea and archipelago are to the west; the Black Sea is to the north. Separating Anatolia and Thrace are the Marmara Sea and the Turkish Straits (the Bosphorus and the Dardanelles), which define the border between Asia and Europe, thereby making Turkey transcontinental.
– Egirdir is a nice city that is partly built along the shore of the lake that carries its name, partly on an outcrop stretching into the lake and connected by a road to some small islands.
Geographical Regions of Turkey
Turkey is composed of 7 geographical regions :
1. Marmara Region
Provinces: Balikesir, Bilecik, Bursa, Canakkale, Edirne, Istanbul, Kirklareli, Kocaeli, Sakarya, Tekirdag, Yalova
Sights: Iznik (Nicaea), Thrace, Troy, Dardanelles, Abydos, Alexandria Troas
The Marmara Region occupies the northwest corner of the country and represents 8.5% of the total area of Turkey with its 67.000 square kilometers of land. Being a point of juncture between Europe and Asia, this area has seen thousands of tribes and their civilizations passing through, from one continent to the other.
As the core of this background, the famous city of Istanbul stands, with all its magnificence, and signs from its far-reaching past. It has such a location that it constitutes not only a city of history, but also one of natural beauty beyond example. Extending on the two sides of the Bosphorus bordered by green groves, it also possesses beautiful shores along the internal Marmara Sea. Facing the city there exists small, pretty islands, adorning this big sea, lying in the middle of the region. The sea features the land in that the climatic characteristics of the Black Sea influencing the north of it, is separated from the typical Mediterranean climate prevailing in its south. Rainfall is high enough to facilitate growing a variety of fruits, while snowfall enlivens the winter holidays.
Uludag, one of the main peaks of Turkey, is the most prominent mountain in this region, and one of the most popular ski-resorts with every kind of convenience provided. At the foot of Mount Uludag, “Green” Bursa is located, with its dense forests covering the mountains and wide meadows, which give it its title. It is another center of historical importance, its rich past being kept alive in its mosques and tombs of wonderful architectural design. Ancient Iznik (Nicea) is the same, as is the charming city of Edirne which is on Thrace, the European side of Turkey.
There aren’t much altitudes in Marmara region so low altitude valleys and plateaus occupy a great percentage of the area. There are some important rivers and lakes within the region. Bordering Greece and Bulgaria, the land in Thrace is covered by wide fields of sunflowers and vineyards, while olive groves are found extending all over the region, like the gardens in Balikesir on the Anatolian side. Amongst agricultural products growing in the region we can count wheat, sunflower, corn, sugar beads, rice, olives and vineyards. About 73% of sunflower production and 30% of corn production of Turkey comes from Marmara region. In the same district there is a special spot nearby a broad lake: the National Park of “Kus Cenneti” (Bird Paradise) which is a bird sanctuary sheltering birds of over two hundred species.
Because of its close location to Europe, being on the Trans-European motorway (TEM), existence of Bosphorus and Dardanelles Straits as a passage from Black Sea to Aegean Sea, ports on the Black Sea and Aegean Seas, and many other advantageous factors make this region heavily advanced in industry, commerce, tourism and transportation. Main industrial establishments are on the Istanbul – Bursa – Kocaeli triangle producing especially processed food, textile, cement, paper, petrochemical products, automotive, house furniture, leather and ship construction.
2. Agean Region
Provinces: Afyon, Aydin, Denizli, Izmir, Kutahya, Manisa, Mugla, Usak
Sights: Aphrodisias, Assos, Bodrum (Halicarnassus), Caunos, Cesme, Datca, Cnidos, Ephesus, Foca (Phokaia), Kusadasi, Claros, Tripolis, Labranda, Lagina, Marmaris, Nyssa, Pamukkale (Hierapolis), Laodicea, Colossae, Pergamum, Priene, Miletus, Didyma, Magnesia, Sardis, Teos (Sigacik), Pygale, Aizanoi, Apameia
Turkey’s Aegean shores are among the loveliest landscapes in the country. The magnificent coastline, lapped by the clear water of the Aegean Sea, abounds in vast and pristine beaches surrounded by olive groves, rocky crags and pine woods. Dotted with idyllic fishing harbors, popular holiday villages and the remains of ancient civilizations attesting to the inheritance of more than 5,000 years of history, culture and mythology, this region offers a holiday with something for everyone – nature lovers, sun worshippers, photographers, sports enthusiasts, sailors and archaeologists. Along the whole length of the coast, accommodations to suit every taste and price range can be found.
The Aegean coastal plain enjoys an exceptionally mild climate, with soft, verdant springs, hot summers, sunny autumns and warm winters marked by occasional showers. Aegean region has perpendicular mountains to its shores and many valleys between them, thus permitting the sea climate reach inner parts of the region, although some of the provinces inland show also characteristics of Continental climate. For sunbathing and water sports, the summer months are ideal; for exploring the ancient ruins and picturesque countryside, spring and autumn are the most inviting months. The Aegean provides the perfect escape from the rigors of a northern winter: even in January and February, the days are sunny and pleasant.
The region occupies 11% of the total area of Turkey with its 79.000 square kilometers of land. Most of the population and cities are concentrated on the coast line because of its convenience for sea transportation and tourism. The Aegean region is also both industrialized and agriculturalized. Main products are; textile, leather, carpet weaving, food, machinery and spare parts, marble, tobacco, sugar, olive and olive oil. About half of the total olive trees of Turkey are in this region. There are many important rivers feeding the Aegean Sea.
Izmir, the gateway to the Aegean region, is connected to Istanbul by frequent air, sea, bus and train connections. The plane flight is about 50 minutes, while comfortable overnight buses reach Izmir in about seven hours. Convenient train connection can be made from the Istanbul – Bandirma fast ferry, a two-hour ride across the Marmara Sea. A private maritime company operates over-night car ferries from Istanbul to Izmir a couple of times a week. There are also sea connections between Ancona (Italy) to Cesme in the summer and autumn months. By private car, Izmir can be reached via Bursa road or via Canakkale coastal road. For travelers wishing to begin their journey further to the south, the Dalaman airport near Marmaris is served by regularly scheduled and charter airlines. Self-drive car rentals can be arranged for pick-up at the airport.
3. Mediterranean Region
Provinces: Adana, Antalya, Burdur, Hatay, Isparta, Kahramanmaras, Mersin, Osmaniye
The plains around Adana are largely reclaimed flood lands. In the western part of the region, rivers have not cut valleys to the sea; movement inland therefore is restricted. The backland is mainly karst and rises sharply from the coast to elevations of up to 2,800 meters. There are few major cities along this coast, but the triangular plain of Antalya is extensive enough to support the rapidly growing city and port of the same name, which is an important trading center.
4. Black Sea Region
Provinces: Amasya, Artvin, Bartin, Bayburt, Bolu, Corum, Duzce, Giresun, Gumushane, Karabuk, Kastamonu, Ordu, Rize, Samsun, Sinop, Tokat, Trabzon, Zonguldak
Sights: Bithynia, Pontus, Safranbolu
Northern Anatolian region along the Black Sea occupies 18% of the total area of Turkey with its 141.000 square kilometers of land. This northern coastal region has a steep and rocky coast, and rivers cascade through gorges of the coastal ranges. A few of the large rivers, those cutting back through the Pontus Mountains (Dogu Karadeniz Daglari), have tributaries that flow in broad, elevated basins. Access inland from the coast is limited to a few narrow valleys, and, as a result, the coast has always been isolated from the interior. The population and cities are concentrated along the coast line.
The narrow coastal ribbon running between Zonguldak and Rize, widening here and there into fertile deltas, is an area of concentrated cultivation. All available areas, including mountain slopes wherever they are not too steep, are put to use. The mild, damp climate favors commercial farming, thus making the region heavily forested and rich in fauna and flora with over 7.000 species of plants. Fishing, coal, nuts and tea growing are the major sources for local economy. Other important agricultural products are; corn, kiwi, rice, beans and potatoes. The western part of this region also hosts much of Turkey’s heavy industry
5. Central Anatolia Region
Provinces: Ankara, Aksaray, Cankiri, Eskisehir, Karaman, Kayseri, Kirikkale, Kirsehir, Konya, Nevsehir, Nigde, Sivas, Yozgat
Carpet weaving is another important income for small villagers, especially in Cappadocia and Konya.
6. Eastern Anatolia Region
Provinces: Agri , Ardahan, Bingol, Bitlis, Elazig, Erzincan, Erzurum, Hakkari, Igdir, Kars, Malatya, Mus, Tunceli, Van
Sights: Mount Ararat, Akdamar, Ani site, Van Lake, Tigris
Eastern Turkey, where the Pontus and Taurus Mountains converge, is rugged country with higher elevations, a more severe climate, and greater precipitation than on the Anatolian plateau. The average elevation of the peaks is greater than 2,000 meters. Mount Ararat is located in this area. Many of the peaks are extinct volcanoes that have been active in the recent past, as evidenced by widespread lava flows. Eastern Anatolian is the largest region of Turkey occupying 21% of the total area of the country with its 163.000 square kilometers of land.
From the highlands in the north, sometimes called Turkey’s Siberia, to the mountain ranges in the south that descend toward the Mesopotamian plain in Iraq, vast stretches of this eastern region consist only of wild or barren wasteland. Fertile basins, such as the Mus Valley west of Lake Van and various river corridors, lie at the foot of the lofty ranges. The winters are very harsh with lots of snow, blocking roads to small villages for several months. Because of the harsh climate and high mountains, the population and habitat not dense.
Stockbreeding is the major income for the local economy. Agriculture is very limited with wheat, barley, cotton and tobacco. The region has highest unemployment rate in Turkey.
7. Southeastern Anatolia Region
Provinces: Adiyaman, Batman, Diyarbakir, Gaziantep, Kilis, Mardin, Sanliurfa, Siirt, Sirnak
Throughout this region a special atmosphere exists, one uniquely different from other parts of the country. Thus, reflecting a specific life style over its land, Southeastern Anatolia offers a wide variety of opportunities for its visitors. If you especially want to escape from a “sun – sea – sand” holiday, you should explore this region and live out of ordinary days in very distinguished places.
Where to visit in Turkey?