The country takes its name from the Turkmen or Turkoman people (also the ancestors of the Mongols) who conquered much of Central Asia during the 13th century. Turkey is a huge country, situated at the eastern end of the Mediterranean and forming a bridge between Europe and Asia. To the north, there is a 1500 kilometre-long Black Sea coastline, whilst to the south lies the Mediterranean. Turkey's biggest peak is Mount Ararat (5165m / 16,945ft) located in the far eastern district of Eastern Anatolia. More central is the region of Cappadocia, with its weird eroded landscape, rock-hewn dwellings and underground cities - a great mountain biking location. Close by, the Taurus Mountains, rising to 3723 metres at the summit of Mount Emler, are home to nomadic shepherds and some of Turkey's finest trekking. The Turquoise Coast presents alternative trekking options above the Mediterranean, centred on the long distance trail of the Lycian Way.

Geography

With a land area of more than three quarters of a million square kilometres, Turkey is a huge country. It is situated at the eastern end of the Mediterranean Sea and is effectively a bridge between Europe and Asia. To the north, Turkey has a 1500 kilometre-long Black Sea coastline, whilst to the south lies the Mediterranean. The country has land borders with Greece, Bulgaria, Syria, Iran, Iraq, Armenia and Georgia. Quite naturally, a country of this size is comprised of a great variety of landscape. Generally, there is a coastal lowland region and higher plateau-land in the centre of the country, becoming increasingly higher and more rugged towards the east. In the far eastern part of the country, in the district of Eastern Anatolia, Mount Ararat rises to 5165m/16945ft. With a relatively high average altitude of between 1500 and 2000 metres, this is a dramatic region, with long cold winters and warm summers. Crops do not grow well and much of the farming effort is directed at the herding of livestock – cattle in the lower valleys and sheep and goats on the higher slopes. Turkey's Mediterranean shore, called the Turquoise Coast, is nearly 1600 km (994 miles) long, scattered with fine-sand dotted with beaches and picturesque ruins. The Toros Mountains form a dramatic backdrop along much of the coast, often dropping steeply right into the sea.

Time Zone

The time in Turkey is GMT +2 hours