BRIEF HISTORY OF TURKEY


Turkey has been called "the cradle of civilization” by traveling through this historic land, tourists will discover exactly what is meant by this phrase. Turkey is home to cultures of fantastic antiquity and every year archaeologists make astounding new discoveries. Between Biblical times and the late 19th century, for example, the Hittite Empire completely disappeared from view. Now we know the names of all its kings, their triumphs and defeats, thanks to the archives unearthed at their capital of Hatusas (Boğaz Kale). In the 1960s, our ideas about the origins of civilization were profoundly altered by the discovery of Çatal Höyük, a large Neolithic town with sophisticated artworks, including the earliest known landscape paintings. It now seems that the historical horizon has been pushed even further back, with the discovery of monumental temple architecture, dating back to 9,000 B.C., in Turkey's Southeast.

From the days of Çatalhöyük up to the present, Turkey boasts a rich culture that through the centuries has made a lasting impression on modem civilization. The heir too many centuries of cultures makes Turkey a paradise of information and cultural wealth. Hittites, Phrygians, Urartians, Lycians, Lydians, Ionians, Persians, Macedonians, Romans, Byzantines, Seljuk’s and Ottomans have all made important contributions to Turkish history and ancient sites and ruins scattered throughout the country give proof of each civilization's unique distinction.

Over the centuries, native Anatolian civilizations gave way to Greeks, Romans and Byzantines. The glorious legacy they have left behind is one that still fascinates us today and is the underpinning of Western civilization in disciplines ranging from theater and sculpture to architecture and philosophy. Then in 1071, at the Battle of Manzikert, the Turks destroyed the Byzantine army and swept into Anatolia. The ensuing struggle culminated in the Ottoman capture of Constantinople in 1453. The Ottoman Empire expanded rapidly and by the 16th century, it stretched from Morocco to Iran and from the Crimea to Egypt.

Turkey also has a very fascinating recent history. Upon the decline of the Ottoman Empire a young man named Mustafa Kemal Ataturk founded the Republic of Turkey on October 29, 1923. He led his country into peace and stability, with tremendous economic growth and complete modernization. With that Turkey turned its face decisively towards the West. Through decades of change and growth, Turkey still boasts this success, living by its adopted motto of "Peace in the World"

 

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