Turkey is 1000 miles long and 500 miles wide and has an area of 300,948 square miles. Turkey is the 37th largest country in the world and is surrounded on three sides by water. The Aegean Sea is to the west, the Mediterranean Sea is south and the Black sea is to the north. The Euphrates, Tigris, and Aras rivers flow through the country and Mount Ararat and Lake Van make the scenery and the landscape rugged, as well as incredibly beautiful. Turkey is in constant motion. There are occasional volcanic eruptions and frequent earthquakes, thanks to the fault lines running through the country. The most recent major quake was in 1999.
The official language is Turkish, although public broadcasts are also done in Bosnian, Kurdish, Arabic and Circassian. English, German and French are spoken in the larger cities and in tourist areas. The total population of Turkey is 71.5 million people; over 70 million are Muslims and the majority of them are Sunni. The average life expectancy is 70 years for men and 75 years for women. The culture is a diverse blend of Western elements, as well as Anatolian, Ottoman and Oguz Turkic. The Turkish people have a modern Western mindset, with traditional historic and religious values. That fact is evident in Turkish literature and music, which is a combination of the Islamic world, the Ottoman Empire and European and Turkish traditions. That combination produces modern-day literary arts and Turkish music that vibrates through the body like a tuning fork that’s rejoicing.
The architecture in Turkey is also a blend of traditions and cultures than span the centuries. There are Byzantine, Ottoman and Islamic elements, as well as Western influenced structures and that combination creates a unique mix of buildings that range from skyscrapers to palaces, churches, mosques and homes, which can only be described as classic Turkish expressions of the past, as well as the future.
Turkey wouldn’t be Turkey without its football. Turkey is proud of their top teams and rightfully so. Galatasaray reached the semi-finals in the Euro 2008 UEFA competition. Volleyball and basketball are also extremely popular, but the traditional national sport of oiled wrestling, which is called "Yagli gures", holds a special place in the hearts of the Turkish people.
See Turkey Facts.