SOUTHEASTERN TURKEY The dangers of traveling in southeastern Turkey have declined dramatically in the last few years. Once dangerous cities like Van and Diyarbakır have become prime destinations for independent travelers, and a tourist infrastructure has begun to emerge in the larger cities. Nevertheless, travelers must use caution, as the PKK retains a presence in
GETTING MONEY FROM HOME If you run out of money while traveling, the easiest and cheapest solution is to have someone back home make a deposit to your credit card or cash (ATM) card. Failing that, consider one of the following options.. WIRING MONEY It is possible to arrange a bank money transfer, which means
PASSPORTS Citizens of Australia, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, South Africa, the UK, and the US need valid passports to enter Turkey and to re-enter their home countries. Turkey does not allow entrance if the holder’s passport expires in under six months; returning home with an expired passport is illegal, and may result in a fine.
HOLIDAYS & FESTIVALS In Turkey, these are of three kinds: national secular, national religious, and local. Since religious holidays are dependent on the lunar calendar, the day they fall on varies from year to year. Local festivals are often dependent upon the harvest, the weather, or the moon, and as such it is difficult to
SPORTS The Turkish passion for spor transcends religious, cultural, and social barriers. Although Turks do follow other sports, particularly American basketball, they are futbol (soccer) fanatics. Of Turkey’s numerous soccer teams, only four have risen to national significance: Fenerbahçe, Beşiktaş, Galatasaray, and Trabzonspor. Fans living outside Istanbul or Trabzon generally root for one of these
MUSIC During the early Republican period, the only forms of Turkish music that had government approval were classical music and “authentic Turkish” folk music. However, today music in Turkey is varied and exciting and presents a wide range of forms and styles. The two most common forms, arabesk and taverna, often have a canned, insipid
LITERATURE Early literature was comprised primarily of oral performance, in which poems were recited, sometimes with musical accompaniment. Traces of this art form are present in the türkü (modern Turkish folk song). Although modern Turkish literature has adopted Western constructs such as the novel and the essay, it often draws from its pre-Ottoman origins. The
Because Islam developed in wildly disparate areas, each with its own cultural traditions, Islamic art encompasses a tremendous variety of motifs, materials, and styles. One element common to all Islamic art is the absence of human form, as any attempt to imitate God’s divine creation is considered idolatrous and blasphemous. As a result, Islamic artists
VISUAL ARTS THE GRECO-ROMAN HERITAGE Turkey boasts two of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, the Temple of Artemis in Ephesus and the Mausoleum of Halicarnassus in Bodrum. Traces of these and other ruins from the Hellenistic and Roman periods (middle of 4th century BC to 3rd century AD) dot Turkey’s coast. While the
FOOD AND DRINK Contemporary Turkish cuisine reflects its Ottoman heritage. Popular dishes such as kebap (kebab) and pilav (rice) derive from the traditions of nomadic Central Asian tribes and other civilizations that have swept through Asia Minor. An Assyrian cookbook found during recent excavations shows that similar dishes have been served for thousands of years.