Fact sheet Turkey
Turkey fact sheet
Language: Turkish. Many people in the more touristy areas speak English and/or German. Turkish,
the country’s only official language, has been written using the Roman alphabet since 1928.
Capital: Ankara, in the centre-west of the country. The country’s most important city in financial
and cultural terms is the former capital, Istanbul. Sitting on the Bosphorous, it symbolises the
junction between Europe and Asia.
Time zone: UTC +2hrs (EET)
Summer time: UTC+3hrs (EEST)
Currency: Turkish Lira, €1 = 3.01 lira on 7th February 2014
Visas: EU and Swiss citizens do not need a visa for a stay of less than 3 months; a valid passport
Other nationalities: visa information can be found at www.lonelyplanet.fr
The procedure is currently being revised with the issue of electronic visas .
Due to its geographical situation and its long history as one of the cradles of civilisation, Turkey is
a culturally fascinating country. For centuries, Istanbul was the capital city from which successive
civilisations, most notably the Ottoman Empire, reigned over immense territories. At the beginning
of 1865, the Ottoman Empire governed more than 50 provinces in Europe, Asia and Africa,
extending from the Balkans to North Africa and including the Middle East and Egypt.
Eastern culture mixes admirably with the very well preserved Greco-Roman remains that are
omnipresent in this area. Turkey’s modern history is intrinsically linked to the revolutionary leader
Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, who unified the country and created a new language that uses the
Roman alphabet - an obvious move towards Europe. Islam is the dominant religion and mosques
abound across the country.
Lifestyles differ greatly from one part of the country to another. The modernity of the big cities on
the west coast contrasts dramatically with the traditional rural life in the interior of the country. In
the countryside, the rhythm of life is dictated by the needs of agriculture, whereas in the coastal
cities life seems to begin at sunset. Tourism is an important part of the economy and travellers
are always given a warm welcome. The Turks are far too proud to run after you to sell you a
carpet, but if you want to take home a beautiful Kilim rug, you will have to bargain.
Dolmas (stuffed vine leaves), olives, tomatoes, feta and cucumber for breakfast, lamb kebab, or
chicken Kebap in the Antalya region, are the basics. You will also find Gozleme, a dish of thin
pastry filled with feta cheese or meat, accompanied with fines herbs and cooked on a hot, metal
griddle. And there are always pasta and rice dishes if you need to recharge your batteries. But if
you want Italian style coffee, you’d better bring your own coffeemaker and coffee!
The continental climate of the country’s interior quickly gives way to a Mediterranean climate
towards the coast. Antalya has a true Mediterranean climate (mostly sunny but with occasional
heavy rainstorms). The average temperature in October is 19°C and the sea is still warm. Inland
and at altitude, it can be quite cold at night.
Climbing in Turkey
Climbing is a very new sport in Turkey. The first bolted routes were done by French climbers in
1993, in the Ala Daglar Massif (Taurus Mountains).
At the beginning of the 2000s, Ozturk Kayikci and Metin Yilmaz discovered Geyikbayiri. They
started bolting routes and set up home there. Development was spectacularly quick with the
opening of hundreds of routes and the setting up of accommodation for climbers. The area has
become a destination for climbers from all over the world, creating several jobs. Today, around
fifteen climbing areas are being developed.
Currently, most of the country’s bolted climbing areas are around Antalya, Adana and Izmir, but
Turkey has enormous potential for new routes.