Travel

Cultural Tourism in Turkey

Turkey is, for Europeans, the great tourist discovery of the last fifteen years. With about a dozen million tourists a year (including 500 000 French and 3 000 Germans), it has become a “middle-mail” Classic in the same way as Morocco or Greece. Given the size of the country, its large population and its obvious tourist potential, Turkey should become the major tourist destination for Europeans in the 21st century. It is the third destination sold by French tour operators after Tunisia and Morocco. The 2003 crisis should see all these figures down.

Among its assets are the cultural wealth accumulated by all the civilizations that have succeeded each other on this earth, as well as the great hospitality of its inhabitants.

Tourist regions

Istanbul, which has become one of the major cities to be seen. With the advantage of being a great metropolis (12 million people), which saves it from one day becoming a city-museum like Venice, which is sometimes compared to it. Among its assets :
– Sea. Istanbul is located between two seas, it is even divided in two by the sea, an aeration that reduces the sense of suffocation that can be given by a very large city.
– The architectural riches of a city that was conquered several times without being destroyed. The Last Real sacking dates back to 1204 and was done by Westerners (the distrust towards the barbarians of the West is not completely erased among the Greeks, master of the city at the time).

– The human richness of a city that preserves the remains of its cosmopolitan past. The vast majority of the Turkish population live side by side in Istanbul with what remains of the Jewish and Christian communities of the former ottoman empire (especially Armenian). New religious communities (the Alevis) or cultural communities (the Kurds) were added during the 20th century. Istanbul is today the largest Kurdish city in the world, but one has to go far to the suburbs to meet it.

The islands of the Princes in the Sea of Marmara

The Aegean and Mediterranean coast between Izmir and Antalya has become in two decades one of Europe’s rivers. Its potential for tourist expansion is still considerable : Europe’s Mediterranean coastline is considerable. Two perils threaten it : the concreting of the coasts (still limited, but poorly controlled by the authorities) and the excessive concentration of tourists of the same nationality in one place. Among its assets :
– The climate, the Sea, The Sun, the Mediterranean landscapes … at a lower cost than elsewhere in Europe.
– The juxtaposition of the Turkish and Greek cultures (which has left Great Classical sites that are well worth those of Greece : Ephesus in particular).

The Aegean and Mediterranean coast between Izmir and Antalya has become in two decades one of Europe’s rivers. Its potential for tourist expansion is still considerable : Europe’s Mediterranean coastline is considerable. Two perils threaten it : the concreting of the coasts (still limited, but poorly controlled by the authorities) and the excessive concentration of tourists of the same nationality in one place. Among its assets :
– The climate, the Sea, The Sun, the Mediterranean landscapes … at a lower cost than elsewhere in Europe.

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