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Cappadocia was known as Hatti in the late Bronze Age, and was the homeland of the Hittite power centred at Hattusa. After the fall of the Hittite Empire, with the decline of the Syro-Cappadocians (Mushki) after their defeat by the Lydian king Croesus in the 6th century, Cappadocia was ruled by a sort of feudal aristocracy, dwelling in strong castles and keeping the peasants in a servile condition, which later made them apt for foreign slavery. It was included in the third Persian satrapy in the division established by Darius, but continued to be governed by rulers of its own, none apparently supreme over the whole country and all more or less tributaries of the Great King.

Kingdom of Cappadocia

After bringing the Persian Empire to an end, Alexander the Great tried to rule the area through one of his military commanders. But Ariarathes, a Persian aristocrat, somehow became king of the Cappadocians. Ariarthes I (332-322 BC) was a successful ruler, and he extended the borders of the Cappadocian Kingdom as far as to the Black Sea. The kingdom of Cappadocia lived in peace until the death of Alexander. The previous empire was then divided into many parts, and Cappadocia fell to Eumenes. His claims were made good in 322 BC by the regent Perdiccas, who crucified Ariarathes; but in the dissensions which brought about Eumenes's death, the son of Ariarathes recovered his inheritance and left it to a line of successors, who mostly bore the name of the founder of the dynasty.

Under Ariarathes IV, Cappadocia came into relations with Rome, first as a foe espousing the cause of Antiochus the Great, then as an ally against Perseus of Macedon. The kings henceforward threw in their lot with the Republic as against the Seleucids, to whom they had been from time to time tributary. Ariarathes V marched with the Roman proconsul Publius Licinius Crassus Dives Mucianus against Aristonicus, a claimant to the throne of Pergamon, and their forces were annihilated (130 BC). The imbroglio which followed his death ultimately led to interference by the rising power of Pontus and the intrigues and wars which ended in the failure of the dynasty. Main article: Cappadocia (Roman province)

The Cappadocians, supported by Rome against Mithridates VI of Pontus, elected a native lord, Ariobarzanes, to succeed (93 BC); but in the same year Armenian troops under Tigranes the Great (Tigran) entered Cappadocia, dethroned king Ariobarzanes and crowned Gordios as the new client-king of Cappadocia, thus creating a buffer zone against the encroaching Romans. It was not until Rome had deposed the Pontic and Armenian kings that the rule of Ariobarzanes was established (63 BC). In the civil wars Cappadocia was now for Pompey, now for Caesar, now for Antony, now against him. The Ariobarzanes dynasty came to an end and a certain Archelaus reigned in its stead, by favour first of Antony and then of Octavian, and maintained tributary independence until AD 17, when the emperor Tiberius, on Archelaus' death in disgrace, reduced Cappadocia at last to a Roman province. Much later it was a region of the Byzantine Empire.

Cappadocia contains several underground cities (see Kaymakli Underground City), largely used by early Christians as hiding places before they became an accepted religion. The Cappadocian Fathers of the 4th century were integral to much of early Christian philosophy. It also produced, among other people, another Patriarch of Constantinople, John of Cappadocia, who held office 517-520. For most of the Byzantine era it remained relatively undisturbed by the conflicts in the area with the Sassanid Empire, but was a vital frontier zone later against the Muslim conquests. Cappadocia formed part of the Armeniac Theme and later of the themes of Charsianon and Cappadocia.

Cappadocia shared an always changing relation with the neighbouring Armenia, by that time a region of the Empire. The Arab historian Abu Al Faraj purports the following about Armenian settlers in Sivas, during the 10th century: "Sivas, in Cappadocia, was dominated by the Armenians and their numbers became so many that they became vital members of the imperial armies. These Armenians were used as watch-posts in strong fortresses, taken from the Arabs. They distinguished themselves as experienced infantry soldiers in the imperial army and were constantly fighting with outstanding courage and success by the side of the Romans in other words Byzantine".[2] As a result of the Byzantine military campaigns, the Armenians spread into Cappadocia and eastward from Cilicia into the mountainous areas of northern Syria and Mesopotamia. This immigration was increased further after the decline of the local imperial power and the establishment of the Crusader States following the Fourth Crusade. Cappadocia became part of the Armenian Kingdom of Cilicia, a state formed in the 12th century by Armenian refugees fleeing the Seljuk invasion of Armenia and a close ally of the Crusaders.

Following the Battle of Manzikert in 1071, various Turkish clans under the leadership of the Seljuks began settling in Anatolia. With the rise of Turkish power in Anatolia, Cappadocia slowly became a tributary to the Turkish states that were established to the east and to the west, and some of the population converted to Islam. By the end of the early 12th century, Anatolian Seljuks had established their sole dominance over the region. With the decline and the fall of the Konya-based Seljuks in the second half of the 13th century, they were gradually replaced by the Karaman-based Beylik of Karamanoglu, who themselves were gradually succeeded by the Ottoman Empire over the course of the 15th century. Cappadocia remained part of the Ottoman Empire for the centuries to come, and remains now part of the modern state of Turkey. A fundamental change occurred in between when a new urban center, Nevsehir, was founded in the early 18th century by a grand vizier who was a native of the locality (Nevsehirli Damat Ibrahim Pasha), to serve as regional capital, a role the city continues to assume to this day.

In the meantime many former Cappadocians had shifted to a Turkish dialect (written in Greek alphabet, Karamanlica), and where the Greek language was maintained (Sille, villages near Kayseri, Pharasa town and other nearby villages), it became heavily influenced by the surrounding Turkish. This dialect of Greek is known as Cappadocian Greek. Following the 1923 population exchange between Greece and Turkey, the language is now only spoken by a handful of the former population's descendants in modern Greece.

Jan 1: New Year's Day

National Holidays
Apr 23: National Sovereignty and Children's Day (Anniversary of the establishment of Turkish Grand National Assembly)
May 19: Ataturk Commemoration and Youth & Sports Day (Arrival of Ataturk in Samsun, and the beginning of the War of Independence.)
Aug 30: Victory Day (Victory over invading forces in 1922)
Oct 29: Republic Day (Anniversary of the declaration of the Turkish Republic)

Religious Holidays
Seker Bayrami: Three-day festival to celebrate the end of the fasting month; Ramadan.
Kurban Bayrami: Four-day festival when sacrificial sheep are slaughtered and their meat distributed to the poor.

(The dates of these religious festivals change because of the difference between the Muslim lunar calendar and solar calendar.)

Fairs, Festivals & Events

Camel Wrestling Festival-Selcuk

Ankara International Film Festival-Ankara
1915 Sea Victory Celebration-Canakkale

Istanbul International Film Festival-Istanbul
International Children's Day-Ankara (April 23)
Tourism Fair-Gaziantep

Selcuk Efes Culture & Art Festival - Izmir (May 1-8)
Tulip Festival-Istanbul
Javelin Games-Erzurum
Ankara International Arts Festival

International Nysa Culture and Arts Festival-Sultanhisar
Efes International Festival of Culture and Tourism-Selcuk
Yunus Emre Culture and Art Week-Eskisehir
Aksu Culture and Art Festival-Giresun
International Music and Folklore Festival-Silifke
International Yatching Festival-Marmaris
International Kilim Festival, Usak-Esme
Kakava Festivities-Kirklareli

International Asia-Europe Biennial-Ankara

Rug and Rose Festival-Isparta (June 1-7)
Pamukkale Festival (June 3-5)
Amasya Ataturk Cultured Art Ceremony-Amasya (June 12-19)
Wooden Horse Children's Festival - Canakkale
Traditional Mesir Ceremonies - Aksehir (June 20-23)
Kirkpinar Wrestling - Edirne (2nd week of June)
Bartin Strawberry Festival-Bartin
International Tea Festival-Rize
International Offshore Races Istanbul-Izmir
Foca Music, Folklore and Watersports Festival-Foca
Marmaris Festival-Marmaris
Bergama Festival-Bergama
Kafkasor Culture and Art Festival-Artvin
International Kus Cenneti Culture and Tourism Festival-Bandirma
Cesme Sea and Music Festival-Cesme
International Pamukkale Song Competition
International Kahta Komagene Festival
International Volleyball Beach Tournament-Alanya
Finike Festival
International Wine Competition-Urgup
Tekirdag Cherry Festival

International Izmir Festival
International Bursa Festival
Istanbul International Art and Culture Festival-Istanbul
Traditional Kirkpinar Wrestling-Edirne
International Music Festival-Istanbul
Ihlara Tourism and Art Week-Aksaray

Hodja Nasreddin Ceremonies - Aksehir (July 5-10)
Hadji Bektashi Veli Ceremonies - Hacibektas (July 13-18)
Apricot Festival (July 20-22)
International Erzurum Congress-Erzurum
Tourism and Culture Festival-Iskenderun
International Folk Dance Festival-Samsun
Ceramic Festival-Kutahya
Hittite Festival-Corum
Manavgat Tourism Festival
Kusadasi Tourism Festival
Carpet and Rose Festival-Isparta
Egridir Lake Festival
Nevsehir Festival
Devrek Baston and Culture Festival
Avanos International Handcrafts and Pottery Exhibit

Troy Festival-Canakkale
Insuyu Festival-Burdur
Haci Bektas Veli Commemoration Ceremony-Sogut
Mengen Chefs Festival-Bolu
Pine Grove Ayder Mt. and Archery Festivities - Rize

Golden Apple, Silver & Bronze - Isparta (September 2-7) Golden Nut Ceremonies - Ordu (September 22-24)
Izmir International Fair-Izmir
Ertugurul Gazi Commemoration Ceremony-Sogut
Seyh Edibali'i Commemoration and Culture Festival-Bilecik
GAP Culture and art Festival-Gaziantep
Javelin Games-Konya
Kemer Carnival
International Meerschaum (White Gold) Festival-Eskisehir
Safranbolu Architectural Treasures and Folklore Week-Safranbolu
Sivas Congress Culture and Art Week-Sivas
International Grape Harvest Festival-Urgup
International Fair-Mersin
Yagci Bedir Carpet Festival-Sindirgi, Balikesir
Culture and Art Festival-Diyarbakir
Assos International Art Festival
Adana Altin Koza Film Festival

Eskisehir International Festival
Golden Pistachio Festival-Gaziantep
International Plastic Arts Festival
International Akdeniz Song Contest-Akdeniz
Mersin art and Culture Festival

Golden Orange Festival - Antalya (October 13)
Ahi Brotherhood Cultural Week
International Bodrum Cup
International Gullet Biennial-Bozburun
International Triathlon Competition-Alanya
International Ataturk Dam Sailing Competition-Alanya

International Yacht Race-Marmaris

Santa Clause Festival - Kas/Demre (December 24)
Pine Nut Festival - Gaziantep (December 25)
Mevlana Commemoration Ceremony-Konya

* The world's earliest human settlement Catalhoyuk is in Turkey.
* The home of the world's earliest civilization Anatolia - Asia Minor, is in Turkey.
* Istanbul is the only city in the world that spans two continents, Europe and Asia.
* The fourth largest cathedral in the world St. Sophia Cathedral is in Istanbul.
* The rivers Tigris and Euphrates are born and cover the upper Mesopotamia region in Turkey.
* Two of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World are in Turkey.
* The stone monuments on Mt. Nemrut (Named the Eighth Wonder by UNESCO) are in Turkey.
* The mythological city of Troy is in Turkey.
* The world's first beauty contest between Hera, Athena and Aphrodite was held on Mt. Ida near Troy.
* Noah's Ark is believed to rest on Mt. Ararat in Turkey.
* The father of history Heredotis was born in Turkey.
* The ancient philosopher and historian Homer was born in ancient Smyrna (Izmir) in Turkey.
* Famous philosophers, mathematicians, physicists such as Thales, Anaximender and Anaximenes were born in Turkey.
* The world's first coin was minted by the Lydians in the 6th century BC at Sardis in Turkey.
* The famous Royal Road started in Sardis.
* Gordions knot was untied by the young Alexander the Great in Turkey.
* Julius Caesar uttered his famous victory words "Veni, Vidi, Vici" in Amasia in the 1st century BC in Turkey.
* Patara the birthplace of Santa Claus is in Turkey.
* The mythical King Midas of the golden touch ruled in Turkey.
* Beautiful Cleopatra and Mark Anthony had their romantic tryst in Turkey.
* The largest library in the ancient world (2nd century BC) was at Pergamon in Turkey.
* Ephesus the most complete ancient city in the world is in Turkey.
* Virgin Mary and St. John the Evangelist spent the last years of their lives in Ephesus.
* St. Paul was born in Tarsus and first preached in Perge both of which are in Turkey.
* The world's first Christian church was established by St. Peter and St. Barnabas in Antioch (Antakya) in Turkey
* The mystic Mevlana and his order of twirling dervishes was born in Konya in Turkey
* Cappadocia one of the Seven Wonders of the Natural World is in Turkey.


The only city in the world that bridges two continents, Europe and Asia. It is the largest city in Turkey (population over 10 million). Istanbul is full of history, culture and beauty.

The capital of Ottoman turkish rule until 1416 when the Ottomans took Istanbul. The city lies at the foot of the Uludag Mountains and is reknown for its beautiful architecture, therapeutic spring waters and as a winter sports resort.

Dates bact to the early Bronze Age. Best known as the famous city of Helen and the horse of Trojans from Homer's Illiad.

Seventy three kilometres south of Troy lies preserved one of the most important monuments of the ancient city, the Temple of Athena. This example dates from the 6th century BC.

BERGAMA (Pergamon)
To the south of Troy are the ruins of the great city of Pergamon, a centre of learning and arts, where the ruins of one of the biggest libraries of antiquity is found. Nearby the Ascelpion, one of the most important medical centres of classical times dedicated to the god of health.

The roman capital of Asia and a very important religious and trade center in ancient times. Only 2 % of the city has been excavated and it is still the largest ancient city ruins in the world. The Atemis Temple is found here, the most important shrine of Asia Minor and one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. Virgin Mary spent her last days in a small house in Ephesus.

PAMUKKALE (Hierapolis)
Known as the "cotton castle" here calcereous hot springs falling tens of meters have created spectacular white terraces and basins. A magical site famous for its invigorating spa.

BODRUM (Halicarnassus)
In ancient times the birth place of Herodotus and the home of the Mausoleum one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. Later the crusaders built a castle here which now houses the most famous underwater archeological museum in the world.

Thought to be of Creteon origin the Lycians occupied here and defended the Mediterranean coast around 1400 BC They created a very big confederation including. Xantos, Olympos, Myra Pinara, Patara and Tlos. Here amongst very beautiful coastlines lay many sunken cities.

Antalya is the main city on Turkey's Mediterranean coast. Considered to be the Turkish Riviera because of its spectacular location between the Taurus Mountains and the Mediterranean.

The capital of ancient pamphilya. It was founded by Akhas who came down to the south around 2000 BC after the Trojans Wars.

The best preserved roman theater of antiquity. It dates back to 2nd Centery AD and is still used for classical music concert and festivals.

Cleopatra and Marc Antony's spot for a romantic tryst. A beautiful city designed in perfect harmony with its ancient and classical remains.

Antioch had a population of half a million making it a primary center of Hellenic Civilization in its time. The first St Peter's Church is located here which sponsored St. Paul on his journeys and Christ's followers were first called Christians.

Originally inhabited by the Babylonians, this region was the dwelling place of the patriarch Abraham before he migrated to Palestine.

According to the bible this is where Abraham and Terah dwelled. In the city there are the remains of the oldest Islamic University and the famous bee hive dwellings.

This mountaintop burial site was constructed by Antiochus I in the first century BC. Named by UNESCO as the 8th Wonder of the World.

One of the worlds highest large lakes and the largest lake in Turkey.

Famous for the impressive 18th century Ishak Pasa Palace. Nearby is the ancient Urartian reliefs and rock tombs from the 9th century BC.

The largest city in eastern anatolia. It has been ruled by Arabs, Byzantines, Armenians and Seljuks and was also invaded by the Russians. Here lie some beautiful Seljuk remains.

This eastern black sea port town was founded in the 7th century BC. Byzantines, Selcuks and Ottomans conquered her. Nearby carved high in the cliffs is the spectacular and remote Sumela Monastery.

Ankara is the capital of the Turkish Republic. All the government institutions such as the ministries, the parliament and the state opera are concentrated here. The Museum of Anatolian Civilizations houses one of the world's finest collections of ancient artifacts.

Was the home of the 13th century mystic poet Mevlana who founded the Order of Whirling Dervishes, a religion based on the virtues of goodness, charity, humanity, love and union with God.

One of Turkey's most visited sites with its unique geological formations, rock carved churches decorated with fine frescoes from earliest christianity, and ancient underground cities. Christianity was first brought here by the Apostle Paul (born in Tarsus) and later in Byzantine times experienced a rapid development.


Turkey's land mass is 714,815 sq km.with 97 % in Asia and 3 % in Europe. The Asian and European sides are divided by the Istanbul Bogazi (Bosphorus), the Sea of Marmara and the Canakkale Bogazi (Dardanelles). Turkey shares borders with Bulgaria, Greece, Iran, Iraq, Syria and Russia. Turkey is surrounded by three seas. The Mediterranean to the south, the Black Sea to the north and the Aegean to the west. Its coastline totals almost 8400 km.

Turkey boasts a fascinating history. Almost 10,000 years. 7500 BC the earliest known inhabitants were found at Catalhoyuk. Hattis, Hittites, Phrygians, Urartians, Lycians, Lydians, Ionians, Persians, Macedonians, Romans, Byzantines, Seljuks and Ottomans have all held very important places in Turkish history.


Turkey has 75 million inhabitants of whom 47% live in the countryside. The Major cities are Istanbul (Constantinople), Ankara (the Capital), Izmir (Smyrna), Adana, Bursa and Antalya (Atelia).

Turkish is the national language, which is neither Indo-European nor Semitic but belongs to the Ural-Altaic group. Turkish is written with Roman characters.

99 % of the Turkish population is Muslim. However, Turkey is a secular state and all religions can practice their beliefs freely.

The Turkish Republic is a democratic, pluralist and parliamentary system. Turkey belongs to NATO, OECD, THE COUNCIL OF EUROPE and is an Associate Member of the EEC.

Turkey is one of the world's self-sufficient countries. The main crops are wheat, rice, cotton, tea, tobacco, hazelnuts and fruit. Sheep are the most important livestock.

Industry is developing rapidly and directed mainly towards the processing of agricultural products, metallurgy, textiles and the manufacture of automobiles and agricultural machinery.

The principal minerals extracted are coal, chrome (an important export), iron, copper, bauxite, marble and sulphur.

GAP is a multi-purpose, integrated, development project comprising of dams, hydroelectric power plants and irrigation facilities to be built on the Fyrat (Euphrates) and Dicle (Tigris) rivers. It will affect agriculture, transportation, education, tourism, health and other sectors. Included in the project ATATURK DAM is ranked amongst the 10 largest in the world.

In recent years Turkey has become a major tourist attraction in Europe. With the development of both summer and winter resorts, more and more people from all over the world are enjoying the history, natural beauty and culture of Turkey.