About Turkey

The country

Turkey (Türkiye) is located at Mediterranean, Anatolian region that is on West Asia, and has a small section in Southeastern Europe. The Sea of Marmara, the Bosphorus and the Dardanelles (which together are the Turkish Straits) separate Asia and Europe. It is bounded by the Black Sea to the north, the Aegean Sea in the west and the Mediterranean Sea to the southwest.

Turkey is a democratic, multiparty and secular republic.The legislative power lies with the government and the Grand National Assembly. The judiciary is independent of the executive and the legislative.

Turkish is the official language of Turkey and the second most spoken language is Kurdish. Islam is the dominant religion in the country in number of followers – 97% of the population is Muslim.

Costs in Turkey in general, are much cheaper when compared to the European standard. The Turks are a people of trade  and in general, excellent negotiators. You can make great purchases of multiple items around the country.


Turkish cuisine

The Turkish cuisine is excellent and with a huge amount of dishes mouthwatering. According to Islamic rules the consumption of pork is prohibited. One of its main features is the combination of vegetables and meat in the same dish. In Turkish cuisine is used a wide variety of spices, condiments, as well as seeds, nuts and dried fruit. At the Spice Market (Egyptian Bazaar) you can enjoy a festival of colors, flavors and aromas that dominate the environment, making the visit a very pleasant walk.

The “dolma” is a dish of vegetables (green pepper, tomato and eggplant) stuffed with minced meat and rice. The Turkish cuisine also has a variety of meat dishes (general name is “kebap”) that are sometimes spicy

The börek or poğaça (spelled “poatcha”) are snacks stuffed with meat and cheese or potato. The simit (sesame donuts) are sold in stalls or carts on the streets and consumed by many people in the morning.

The “mezes” are very popular and sometimes replace a full meal. An important part of Turkish cuisine consists of “Zeytinyagli”, vegetable dishes cooked with olive oil, which are served cold as “meze” at dinner or as a single entry for lunch. The Turks love to start their dinners with many entries (“meze” in Turkish) in small amounts and usually goes with Raki.

The desserts are varied and very sweet. The most common desserts include: “baklava” made ​​with many overlapping layers of filo pastry interspersed with ground pistachios or walnuts and embedded with sugar syrup; “Sutlac” (a kind of rice pudding); “Lokum” – consisting of Turkish delight candies- sweetened gums.


Turkish coffee and other drinks

Although it is an Islamic country, alcohol is widely available throughout the country. However, getting drunk can cause serious recriminations. Avoid consumption of alcoholic beverages in public during the month of Ramadan.

Raki:: is an alcoholic beverage (40-50o) derived from grapes and flavored with anise, similar to arak. It is considered the national drink of Turkey. It is usually served mixed with water and / or ice. It goes well with the dinners, although it can be drunk as an aperitif.

Wine:  the full-bodied Cappadocia wine is aged in concrete barrels and has a distinct flavor

Efes: the greatest national brand beer has mild flavor and is very popular.

Turkish coffee: It is served with sugar in traditional small cups. It should never be stirred because the coffee is not filtered, it is deposited in the bottom of the cup. To enjoy it better, drink slowly and in small sips.

Tea: another hot beverage which is highly appreciated among the Turks, is usually black, strong and served in small transparent glasses.

“Ayran”: it is a mixture of yogurt and water. It is cold, traditional and very consumed. In summer, everywhere you will find good fruit  juices

The espresso, widely consumed in Europe, will be found only in some establishments (usually in large cafes or luxurious hotels). However, an instant coffee (generally prepared little strong) can be found more easily.



Carpets:  carpets are the form of Turkish handcrafts best known in the world. In many villages in Turkey, women make carpets with completely different characteristics from region to region, but all have in common the double node (called turkish node), which gives them a remarkable solidity. The most renowned are made in the village of Hereke.

Jewelry:  it is one of the oldest land in the world where gold is worked. Currently constitutes an important form of craft, because the Turks are very fond of using adornments. Turkey is a specialist in semi-precious stones: turquoise, jade, lapis lazuli, coral, malachite, agate, garnet, tourmaline at favorable prices. The stones are cut by craftsmen whose skill is world renowned.

Pashmina: are silk or cashmere scarves used by Turkish women.

In Turkey is found also: silver, copper, onyx, leather clothing (major exporter), silk.


Religious festivals and holidays

Holidays: Turkey established the Roman Calendar in the 20’s. So the first day of the year it is holiday like elsewhere in Europe. The only religious celebrations involving the closure of shops and administration are the “Seker Bayrami” (Feast of Sugar) and “Kurban Bayrami” (Feast of Sacrifice). The dates of Ramadan change every year.

Other holidays do not correspond to religious festivals but to important events in the history of the country:

April 23 – National Sovereignty and Children’s Day, where all schools parade in memory of the first meeting of the Grand National Assembly;

May 19 – Festival of Youth and Sports which commemorates the landing of Ataturk in Samsun, in 1919;

August 30 – Victory Day, corresponds to the end of the War of Independence;

October 29 – The Republic Day.

Religious festivals: For a Muslim Ramadan means fasting for a whole month once a year, in which it is forbidden to eat, drink, smoking and have sex between sunrise and sundown. Ramadan is followed more in rural areas than in cities.

Seker Bayrami (Feast of Sugar) is a 3 day festival that symbolizes the end of the Ramadan fasting. As at Christmas, families visit and offer boxes of “lokum” and other sweets to each other.

Kurban Bayrami (Feast of Sacrifice) 10 weeks after Ramadan, this festival is celebrated in honor of Abraham. For 4 days Turks pay tributes to family and honor the dead. On the first day of the celebration, each family must sacrifice a sheep which the meat will be eaten and also distributed to the poor and homeless.


Shopping in Turkey

Few people know that “shopping” is part of the 1001 reasons to travel to Turkey. You can walk into a store and spend hours, and at no point you will have the impression of being bothering the dealer, on the contrary, he will be delighted to show all the products, with explanations, meanings, origins, history, where it was manufactured, etc. You will certainly drink cups of tea or raki, which will be kindly offered by the merchant.

The best carpets in the world are manufactured in Turkey. For the Turkish citizen carpets signify warmth and richness.

The gold jewelry are amazing, handcrafted, all sizes, colors and thousands of models. Impossible not to find one you like. The clothing and leather goods are known worldwide for quality and superior style.

You’ll find an incredible diversity of souvenirs and will want to buy all because they are so good and cheap. We can not forget the chic neighborhoods and shopping centers where you will find the major brands in the world with attractive prices. Anyway, around, beside its people, its diversity and traces of ancient Anatolian civilizations, you will be happy to buy in Turkey.



The city of Istanbul is the largest city in Turkey and one of the largest in Europe. It was capital of three empires: Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman. Sits on two continents: Europe and Asia, separated by the Bosphorus Strait which is a trade route between the Mediterranean Sea and the Black Sea through the Marmara Sea.

Istanbul has an enviable and strategic geographical location. It is inserted on the famous Silk Road, is cut by the main railway networks in Europe and the Middle East, in addition to the Bosphorus and the Golden Horn (sea inlet that cuts through the city). Became an important route of transportation, trade, shipping and tourism. Although no longer the capital of the country (which became Ankara with the establishment of the Republic in 1923), Istanbul is the main protagonist of the life and spirit of Turkey.

Its population is more than 15 million people, according to official statistics. The population is mostly Muslim, but there are Christian and Jewish minorities and the city serves as the seat of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of the Orthodox Church.

For its amazing contrasts and intercontinental character, Istanbul is one of the most fascinating cities in the world: ancient and modern, European and Asian, demure and liberal. A city of mystery and magic, incredible history and rich culture. City that has inspired countless works of art. It is a major tourist destination in the world, recommended as one of the top ten places to visit in 2013, according to the New York Times. Was considered to be the best destination in the world in 2014.

Istanbul is the administrative capital of the province of Istanbul. In 1985 its historic center was chosen by UNESCO as World Heritage. It is considered a “global city” and in 2010 was declared European Capital of Culture.

Istanbul is today the most important Turkish city, a source of cultural, industrial and commercial splendor. In recent years, Istanbul has become a modern megalopolis driven by economic growth.



Ballooning in Cappadocia!

If you plan to go to Cappadocia, a fascinating and unique place in the world, do not forget to consider GUSTO TOURS this unforgettable proposal.We offer a trip throughout  the skies! Discover this amazing area from a different perspective. You can record or photograph with the vision of a bird all the beauties of Cappadocia. A fantastic landscape, similar to the lunar environment, with strange and beautiful formations of lava originated from the eruption of Mount Erciyes. This experience is a must!

The ride in a hot air balloon over the lunar landscape of the Fairy Chimneys and caves, is by far the most popular of tourist services in Cappadocia, as well as visiting the many churches and chapels carved into the rock with frescoes of ninth and eleventh centuries, accessible in Göreme.

The incredible region of Cappadocia (Turkish: Kapadokya) is located in the center of Turkey and covers approximately 300 square kilometers of a single, almost surreal and unique landscape in the world. Cappadocia volcanic activity formed a plain of ashes and with the force of erosion and the winds, strange craggy rock formations appeared in a cone shape, staying on top the harder layers of basalt and andesite.

These formations are known as the “the Fairy Chimneys”, because according to the first inhabitants of the region, they could not have been the work of the human being and as the fairies live underground, then they should have their chimneys.

The gray volcanic tuff was relatively easy to work with primitive tools, so many caves and churches were carved into the walls and cones of the valley as well as the underground cities, Some people believe that dates 4,000 years, and have been expanding and increasing from generation to generation.

According to some interpretations, the name “Cappadocia” is derived from the word Katpadukya or, land of beautiful horses, famous animals in the region and who were presented as gifts to the Assyrian and Persian kings. The word “Cappadocians” refers to the inhabitants of this region and has been used in a Bible passage.

Cappadocia is a popular and busy tourist area. It is almost magical. Its peculiar appearance, makes it a favorite destination among travelers. Populations and the most important sights of the region are Urgup, Goreme Valley of Ilhara, Selime, Uchisar, Avanos and Zelve. Among the most interesting underground cities are Derinkuyu, Kaymakli, Gaziemir and Ozkaynak. Cappadocia is a unique tourist destination in the world!


Ephesus and Kusadasi

Ephesus was an ancient Greek City of the Ionian League and later captured by the Romans. During of this period the imperial city had a population of over 250,000 inhabitants, and a significant socio-economic development and cultural life, which made her one of the most important of its time.

The city is famous for the Temple of Artemisia, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World and in general for all its architecture, such as the Grand Theatre, which was among the theaters of greater capacity and greatness of ancient history.

The foundation of Ephesus is associated with several legends and interpretations of historical and literary passages. There are biblical passages that allude to Ephesus, such as Acts 19-20 on the ministry of the Apostle Paul in that city. It is believed that Paul has been two and half years in Ephesus during his third missionary journey, until he was forced to leave the city because of the rebellion, which some say ended with his arrest. From the preaching and indoctrination as well as the invasions of the Goths in the region it was gradually imposed across the Ephesians faith in Christ and the veneration of the Blessed Virgin, who lived her last years in the vicinity of Ephesus, in a house that you can visit today.

Ephesus was also one of the Seven Churches of Revelation, which received one of the letters written by the apostle John. It is said that the apostle John brought the Virgin Mary to Ephesus after the death of Jesus and was with her until he was captured by the order of emperor Trajan. In his honor, the Ephesians built a small church on the hill Ayasuluk, that in the sixth century was replaced by a basilica, whose colossal ruins can be seen today.

Kusadasi, in Turkish “Kuşadası”, is a resort town in Turkey situated on the Aegean coast. It is in the coastal area that carries the same name, located in the province of Aydın. Its main economic activity is tourism. Kusadasi is near the city of Ephesus, it has attractive beaches,  luxury hotels, shopping centers and other attractions that make it one of the main destinations of the coast of the Aegean Sea.

Kusadasi is also a port, and often we see huge cruise ships docked. The distance of 10 Km between the port of Ephesus and Kusadasi, allows passengers to make a trip to the ruins of ancient Ephesus and House of Virgin. At the Port of Kusadasi arrive and depart cruise ships to the Greek islands.


Chronology and history

1900-1300 BC: The Hittite Empire – Capital City: Hattusa.

1259 BC: The Treaty of Kadesh as signed between the Hittites and the Egyptians. It is the first peace treaty recorded in the world.

1250 BC: The War of Troy

700 BC: Homer was born in Izmir.

334 BC: Alexander the Great conquered Anatolia, freeing it from the Persians.

130 BC: Anatolia becomes the Roman province of Asia, with its capital in Ephesus.

40 BC: Antony and Cleopatra married in Antakya.

47-57 AD: St. Paul makes his famous travel through the area.

313 AD: Emperor Constantine accepted Christianity as the official religion.

330 AD: The Emperor rename the capital Byzantium as Constantinople, that became the capital of the Byzantine Empire, the eastern part of the Roman Empire.

527-565: The reign of Justinian.

636-718: Muslim Arabs defeated the Byzantines and entered Constantinople.

1054: Occurs rupture between the Greek and Roman churches.

1096-1204: The Crusades.

1288: Birth of the Ottoman Empire, founded by the Muslim Osmanli.

1453: The Sultan Mehmet II conquered Constantinople and calls it “Istanbul”, the new capital of the Ottoman Empire. The Hagia Sophia is converted into a mosque.

1520-1566: Reign of Süleyman the Great, considered the golden age of the Ottoman Empire.

1854 Crimean War: Turkey is allied with the British and French against the Russians.

1914-1918: World War I: Turkey was allied with Germany, and is defeated. Winners countries propose the end of the Ottoman Empire.

1919: War of Independence against the British and the Greeks, under the leadership of Atatürk.

1923: The Republic of Turkey was proclaimed under the presidency of Atatürk. Exchange of minority people between Greece and Turkey. Reforms were made to modernize and secularize the state. Implementation of the Latin alphabet, the reintroduction of the Turkish language, prohibiting the traditional veil for women.

1938: Death of Atatürk.

Recent period:

1939-1945: World War II: Turkey remains neutral.

1946: Turkey becomes a member of the United Nations.

1950: the first democratic national elections in Turkey are performed.

1952: Turkey enters NATO.

1960: Coup d’Etat.

1964: Turkey becomes associate member of the European Economic Community.

1974: military intervention in Cyprus by the Turkish army with division of the country.

1980: Coup imposes three years of military rule.

1983: Beginning of the civil government system with the president and prime minister.

1996: Turkey enters the European Customs Union.

1999: In February, the leader of the terrorist group of PKK Abdullah Ocalan was captured by Turkish agents in Kenya. The general elections took place in April. There was a great earthquake on August 17. In October was held the last Millennium Summit – “The Summit of the OSCE.” In the month of December in Helsinki was accepted Turkey’s application for membership of the European Union.

2000: Inauguration of the new airport of Istanbul. May 16: New president is Ahmet Necdet Sezer. For the first time in the history of Turkish football Galatasaray won the UEFA Cup and the Super Cup.

2001: Economic crisis. The vice president of the World Bank, the Turkish Kemal Dervis returns to Turkey where he was named Minister of Economy. Turkey ranks second in the league of European basketball.

2002: Turkish parliament approves the criteria for adaptation to the European Union. Turkey is appointed to lead NATO forces in Afghanistan. In World Cup Korea-Japan Turkey ranks third after Brazil and Germany. New general elections on November 3rd won by the Justice and Development Party (AKP).

2003 Recep Tayyip Erdogan became prime minister of Turkey. More than 160 people die in an earthquake in the area of Bingol.

2004: Turkey signs a protocol abolishing the death penalty. Parliament adopted the Criminal Code reforms that involve more stringent measures to prevent torture and violence against women. The EU leaders open talks on approving the inclusion of Turkey in this economic community.

2005: Begins to circulate the new Turkish lira, which eliminates the six zeroes from the old numbering. Follows on the negotiations for Turkey’s accession to the European Union. Turkey takes over the leadership of NATO forces in Afghanistan for the second time.

2006: Turkish parliament approves new anti-terrorism law. The Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline was inaugurated. The PKK declared a unilateral ceasefire. The negotiations for the accession of Turkey to the European Union are interrupted by having closed its ports and airports to Cypriot traffic.

2007: Assassination of journalist and leader of Armenian community Hrant Dink. The AKP won the elections and remained in power. Abdullah Gül was elected president.

2008: Parliament adopted constitutional reforms to allow women to wear the Islamic headscarf in universities. Trial opens against 86 alleged members of an ultranationalist group called “Ergenekon” accused of plotting a series of attacks and a military coup against the government. The national football team of Turkey ranks third in the European Championship along with the Russian team.

2009: Turkish and Armenian governments agree to improve bilateral relations. The government introduces new measures in parliament in favor of the Kurdish language and its speakers. Intergovernmental agreement between Turkey, Bulgaria, Romania, Hungary and Austria to implement the company of gas pipeline Nebuchadnezzar.

2010: Thirty-three officers are charged with conspiracy to overthrow the government in the trial of the Ergenekon case. Murder of nine Turkish citizens by Israeli soldiers on the ship Mavi Marmara, which carried humanitarian aid to Gaza. This event deeply affected the relations between Turkey and Israel. The site Wikileaks published a series of documents showing that France and Austria led the negative position in the negotiations for Turkey’s entry into the European Union.

2011: The AKP again won the elections with a landslide victory. Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan begins his third term. The country is home to thousands of Syrian refugees as Ankara seeks reforms in the

2012: Beginning of the activities of GUSTO TURIZM receptive agency in Turkey.

2013: Hundreds of thousands of protesters spontaneously occupied the Gezi Park. The protests were triggered by government’s plans of constructions in Gezi Park, the small green area close to Taksim Square. Erdogan wanted to rebuild Ottoman barracks that had been demolished in 1940 and would include a shopping mall. For weeks, the Gezi activists resisted, challenging water cannons and tear gas. The images were broadcast all over the world.

2014: Recep Tayyip Erdogan wins the August 10 presidential election. This year Erdogan inaugurates the new presidential palace, marked by environmental, financial and religious controversies.

2015: A striking picture of the body of a small child found dead by drowning on a Turkish beach has turned around the world. It has entered into history as a sad and moving chapter of the refugee drama.

2016: On July 15, 2016 Turkish soldiers took the streets after martial law was declared. Army vehicles circulated around Istanbul. Military tanks blocked the Bosphorus Bridge, which today has the name of the Bridge of Martyrs of 15 July because of this fateful event. The Turkish military invaded state media and declared they were taking over the country. Military aircraft flew low and fast. Tanks opened fire near the Turkish parliament building. About two hours after the military began to act, Erdoğan appears on television and encourages the Turkish people to gather in public squares and airports. Large crowds gather in opposition to the militaries. There were struggles in Ankara and Istanbul. The attempted coup lasted 22 hours, 248 people were killed, 2196 were injured and about 2,839 soldiers were arrested. Erdoğan states that religious leader Fethullah Gülen is responsible for commanding the failed coup. Fethullah Gülen is the head of the terrorist organization FETÖ, which managed to infiltrate its members into various areas of Turkish state power. Investigations and punitive measures extend to the present day. More than 48,000 people were sent to prison and more than 2,000 judges were removed from their posts, including members of Turkey’s highest judicial body. Fethullah Gülen lives in the United States and denies any involvement in the coup. US authorities are requesting sufficient evidence to extradite him. The government of Turkey and USA have important diplomatic alliances, but they live delicate moments because of this issue.

2017: The Turkish population went to the polls and voted in a referendum approving the change to the presidentialist system of government. The construction of yet another airport in Istanbul is in rapid progress. The airport is being built on an area of ​​67.6 million square feet. Turkish authorities claim it will be the largest in size in the world. The airport targets a capacity of 90 million passengers a year after its opening, but is expected to reach 250 million when all facilities are completed.

Did you know?

In Turkey were born great historical and legendary figures like King Midas, the first historian, Herodotus, Saint Paul, Homer and Plato.

The Trojan War described in Homer’s Iliad occurred in western Turkey around 1200 BC. There is a replica of the Trojan horse, symbolizing the end of this war. The Iliad also inspired countless literary and artistic works.

Two of the seven wonders of the world are in Turkey, in Anatolia: the Mausoleum of Halicarnassus (Bodrum) and the Temple of Artemis (Ephesus), both located on the Aegean coast.

The earliest landscape painting in the world, with 8000 years, is located in the southern city of Çatalhöyük, named in 2012 by UNESCO a World Heritage Site. The piece shows a volcano erupting.

The birth of Christianity occurred in Turkey, where the apostles Paul and John preached his gospels. The Virgin Mary spent her last years in a small house near Ephesus. In 1967 the Vatican declared it as a “sacred place”.

The seven churches mentioned in Revelation are found in Anatolia. In Antioch (Antakya now) Saint Paul began to preach the word of God and followers of Jesus were called “Christians” for the first time. There is a cave where it is believed that St. Peter preached when he lived in the city. In 1963, the Pope declared as the “first church” and it is a place of pilgrimage. Another place became a place of pilgrimage: a cave where supposedly came into the world the patriarch Abraham, who according to the Old Testament, was born at Sanliurfa, in southeastern Turkey.

The idea of the deluge, which appears in the old testaments of the Bible and Quran. also has been closely linked with Turkey, because according to references, Noah’s Ark rested on Mount Ararat in eastern Anatolia. For centuries, many expeditions tried to find its tracks.

The walls that remain in the city of Istanbul, Turkey’s largest city, are the original walls, built in 324 AD by order of Constantine in Rome.

Tulips were first brought from Turkey to the Netherlands.

Santa Claus was born in Patara and was bishop of Demre on the Mediterranean coast.

The coffee was brought to Istanbul from Yemen in the sixteenth century. The Turks have created a new method to prepare this drink called “Turkish coffee”. Drinking coffee is an important part of Turkish culture.