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A map of TurkeyA map of Turkey The modern country of Turkey is all that remains of the once-mighty Ottoman Empire. It once stretched from Iran in the east almost as far as Vienna in the west. Turkey is divided between Europe and Asia by a narrow stretch of water called the Bosporus. The small European part, which includes the country's largest city, Istanbul, is home to over 10% of the population. The Asian part—by far the largest portion–is the Anatolian peninsula lying between the Black Sea and the Mediterranean Sea.

A map of TurkeyA map of Turkey

Mardin, in the semi-desert of the southeastMardin, in the semi-desert of the southeast


Once known as Asia Minor, today the Asian part of Turkey is called Anatolia. Much of the land is mountainous: the high Pontic Mountains fringe the northern coast while the Taurus Mountains rise in the south. In the east are high volcanic peaks. The central part is made up of gently rolling plains, low mountains and valleys. Turkey’s coasts have a warm Mediterranean climate, but the mountains and dry grasslands of its interior can be bitterly cold in winter.

Pamukkale terracesPamukkale terraces

In Cappadocia, central Turkey, thousands of years of wind and rain have eroded tall, thin spires of rock known as “Fairy Chimneys”. In ancient times, villagers carved houses into the spires.

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