Turkey is a popular tourist destination, which retains a disconcerted balance of both east and west, representing a cultural mix with many discrepancies and contradictions. Modern city boutiques and exotic bazaars clamor for customers, the weekly tolling of church bells interrupts the daily call of the muezzin, and Roman ruins and the beginnings of Christianity compete for attention with the history of the Ottoman Empire and modern secularity. Turkey 's long and varied sea coast, high mountains and lakes, and its many historical, religious, and archaeological sites give the country unrivaled tourist potential. Until the 1980s, Turkish tourism lagged far behind its counterparts in other Mediterranean countries, and visitors tended to stay for shorter periods of time and spend less money than in countries such as Spain, Portugal, and Greece.
Turkey also has a fascinating recent history. Upon decline of the Ottoman Empire, a young man named Mustafa Kemal, who was a soldier and a great visionary, took the defeat of World War I and turned it into a shinning victory by liberating Turkey from all occupying forces. Mustafa Kemal Ataturk founded the Republic of Turkey on October 29, 1923. He led his country towards peace and stability that brought about tremendous economic growth and increasing modernization. Through decades of change and growth, Turkey still boasts growing success, living by Ataturk's motto of "Pease at Home, Pease in the World"
The different regions of Turkey offers an assortment of beautiful landscapes, activities and characters, and mild whether one is a history or archaeology enthusiast, a sun-worshipper, sailor, or city-lover keen on shopping, there is something on offer for everyone. Istanbul, with one part in Europe and the other in Oriental Asia, is a fascinating city with its big market places, imperial residences and minarets, and sporting a lively ambience of contemporary art and musical entertainment.
There is no doubt that one visit will not be enough, and you will want to come back again and again as you discover one extraordinary place after another. All of them, no matter how different, have one thing in common: the friendly and hospitable people of this unique country. Even if you spend only a short time in Turkey, you can see a lot of this great heritage.
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