The former capital city of three great empires –Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman– Istanbul is a charming mixture of past and present, old and new, traditional and modern. The museums, churches, palaces, mosques and bazaars, and the sights of natural beauty are persistent throughout the city's hustle and bustle.
Beautiful Izmir, the "Pearl of the Aegean," is Turkey's third largest city and second most important port. A city of palm-lined promenades, avenues and green parks veers through sweeping curves along a circular bay. Turkey's Aegean shores are among the loveliest landscapes in the country. Izmir's history goes back to 3000 B.C.
In Antalya, the four seasons only appear on the calendar, as there is no real winter here. In 1985 when snow fell for the first time in 60 years, it was front page news. Antalya is the place where sea, sun, history and nature constitute a perfect harmony. Antalya's treasures also include the most beautiful and clearest coast along the Mediterranean.
Efes (Ephesus), one of the most famous cities of ancient times, shelters the wealth of all Ionian culture. Ephesus was one of the largest cities in the world during the Roman period. The Church of the Holy Virgin Mary was constructed here in the 2nd and 3rd centuries, and it played an important role in Christianity; this church was one of seven Churches of the Apocalypse. The ancient city of Ephesus was once a thriving port. The ruins of the ancient city are toured by thousands of tourists each day.
Konya is the city of Rumi and the Whirling Dervishes and has been for almost 800 years. The tomb of Rumi (the 12th century Islamic poet), ceremonial musical instruments, handwritten books, and carpets of the time can be seen at the museum commemorating his life. Rumi preached and practiced tolerance and forgiveness. Every year thousands of people visit his city from all over the world.
Kapadokya (Cappadocia) is one of Turkey's most attractive regions due to its history, uniqueness and the strangeness of its lunar landscape. It is considered to be one of the wonders of the world and for centuries it has protected churches, mosques, frescoes, mosaics and paintings of Byzantine art.
Turkish cuisine (Turkish: Türk mutfağı) is largely the heritage of Ottoman cuisine, which can be described as a fusion and refinement of Central Asian, Middle Eastern and Balkan cuisines. Turkish cuisine has in turn influenced those and other neighbouring cuisines, including that of western Europe.