15 facts to know if you decide to travel to Turkey | cultural | Entertainment

Ecuadorians only need their passport to travel to Turkey.

One of the oldest markets in the world, the strait that connects Europe to Asia, a city between two continents and a center with priceless archaeological objects are among the attractions of Turkey. With a population of over 76 million, the country which was part of the former Ottoman Empire (1300-1650), has not only integrated one of the first civilizations in the world but also has a unique charm which is its hospitality. This quality, among many others, was one of its virtues that most impressed a group of Latin American journalists who visited the country for five days.

a.- Two million Syrians welcomed Turkey since the start of displacement due to the civil war in Syria on April 29, 2011. Half of the refugees have not reached the age of majority. The Syrian exodus meant an investment of 6 billion dollars in this country.

of them.- A waning moon and a white star on a red background, their flag. To encourage love for their country for six months, the Turkish government asked people to place flags in their homes and workplaces. They have flags on all the buildings, even in the markets. After the last attack on Saturday October 10 near Ankar stationawhere 100 people died and 200 others were injured, the government ordered a three-day mourning and the flag to be flown at half-mast across the country.

3.- Although Turkey defines itself as a secular state, more than 90% of its population practices Islam. The president since 2014 is Recep Tayyip Erdoğanwho was previously Prime Minister, belongs to this religion.

4.- Although women are seen with veils and even the burqa, most of the population, at least in the cities of Ankara and Istanbul, use ordinary clothes except to enter temples. There they ask men not to wear shorts and women not to wear short dresses and to cover their heads with a veil.

5.- The official currency of Turkey is the Turkish Lira.. The exchange rate is 2.97 Turkish liras per dollar. In hotels, a commission of 6% is charged. There are exchange points that do not charge this value, usually very close to hotels.

6.- The capital of Turkey is Ankara. One of the main historical buildings of this city is the Mausoleum in honor of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk who was the first president of the Republic of Turkey in 1923 after the abolition of the sultanate in 1922.

Atatürk besides being a great military strategist made important reforms. He creates a secular state and introduces the Gregorian calendar and the alphabet. He pushed Turkey’s policy to be more western. He is one of the most representative figures in Turkish history.

7.- The Museum of Anatolian Civilization.- Considered one of the best archaeological museums in the world for which it received a special award in 1997 for its historical legacy. Its restoration was ordered by Atatürk who wanted to preserve the archaeological finds of ancient civilizations, especially that of the Hittites who lived in the area in 2000 BC. Here you can see vessels, rudimentary knives, statues among other pieces from the Paleolithic, Neolithic, Copper Age, Bronze Age, Syrian Colony period (1950-1750 BC). JC), of the ancient Hittite kingdom, vestiges of the reign of Urartu.

All these archaeological treasures are spread over two buildings (the old Ottoman bazaar Mahmut Pasa Bedesten and the Kursunlu Han) which were abandoned after a fire in 1881. Mustafa Atatürk proposed that the place be turned into a museum. Restoration work began in 1938 and continued until 1968. The first part of the museum was opened in 1943. The museum is located in the old citadel of Ankara el Anadolu in the Atpazari district.

8.- Istanbul, the city between two continents. The economic capital of Turkey. Also known as Byzantium (675 BC), named after its founder, then Constantinople under the empire of Constantine. It came to be called Istanbul after the conquest by the Ottomans. It is the only city in the world located between two continents (Europe and Asia). Istanbul is located on the Bosphorus Strait, which joins the Sea of ​​Marmara and the Black Sea and separates the Asian part from the European part.

This metropolis has more than 14 million inhabitants. The city has two airports. Atatürk, 25 kilometers from the city, and Gökcen, 50 km. One of its main streets is Istiklâl, also called La Libertad. It is a pedestrian avenue and in its surroundings there are several shops.

9.- The Bosphorus, a strategic arm of the sea. This strait is 31.7 kilometers long and has a depth that varies between 50 and 120 meters. The Bosphorus was a key stop for armies that wanted to cross from Europe to Asia and vice versa where Emperor Darius built the first bridge in the 4th century. Then, in 1973, the first bridge that would unite Europe and Asia was inaugurated. With the Montreux agreements in 1936, this arm of the sea came under the control of Turkey, which should allow access to the ocean for Black Sea countries such as Romania, Ukraine, Bulgaria and Russia. .

The Bosphorus is one of the favorite places for tourists because around it are ancient buildings including palaces as well as residences of the Turkish wealthy class. There are also terraces and bars.

ten.- Istanbul, the city of mosques.- The exact number of mosques in Istanbul is unknown, but a 2010 census indicates that there are more than 3,000. Hagia Sophia and the Blue Mosque are two of the main temples that no one should leave without visiting. The former belongs to the Byzantine era while the latter was built during the Ottoman Empire.

Eleven.- The Ottoman Historical Archives.- It has more than 95 million writings and 400,000 books. One of the oldest documents dates back to 1430, which is a public document on the lands of Albania.

12.- the grand bazaar.- It is one of the oldest markets in the world. Its construction was ordered during the time of Mehmed II between 1455 and 1730. It has an area of ​​35 hectares, in its 80 streets there are about 3,500 shops and houses some 15,000 merchants, including sellers of carpets, fabrics, scarves, shoes. , sweets such as fig and pistachio cakes as well as countless spices including vanilla tea, saffron pistil (one of the most expensive in the world, one gram can cost around 60 Turkish liras equivalent to almost of 20 dollars), turmeric, pepper and others .

13.- There are more than 258 TV channels in Turkey.- This is one of the main reasons why Turkish television has so much competition. The TRT (Turkish Radio and Television Corporation) is the one that occupies the third place of tuning while in first place is the Doan group which belongs to the CNN network. TRT also has a Spanish language radio show called The Voice of Turkey which broadcasts in 37 languages ​​including Spanish. The Spanish Voice of Turkey department of TRT started its shortwave broadcasts on March 3, 2000. In 2008, the broadcasts started through the website www.trt.net.tr/espanol. To select your preferred language, you can do so at www.trtvotworld.com. This year, TRT visited Colombia for the first time and they started recording a documentary about Turkey with various Latin American countries.

14.- Gastronomy.- It can be defined as a fusion between East and West. In general, it is Mediterranean cuisine. There is the traditional kebap which is served with bread (pide, a type of flatbread) plus roasted vegetables including a garlic and yogurt sauce with chopped parsley and a tomato salad which can vary with purple cabbage.

There are also dishes based on mussels and small fried fish.

It is very traditional after every meal to drink tea. Most sweets are made with pistachios.

fifteen.- Climate.- The best time to visit Turkey is between March and October. In September, in Ankara as in Istanbul, temperatures vary between 22 and 25 degrees. If you go at this time, it is advisable to bring a hat and sunscreen, especially if you decide to take a boat trip on the Bosphorus.

To travel to Turkey, Ecuadorians do not need a visa, only a passport. It is a fifteen hour trip from Guayaquil to Amsterdam. There you will take a three and a half hour flight on Turkish Airlines and arrive in Istanbul. (I)

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