Destination Guide to Turkey
Turkey’s geographical location, the fact that it is surrounded by four seas and its relatively late development in both industry and agriculture means that the country is extremely rich in flora and fauna. It is thought that Turkey has as many species of flower as the rest of Europe combined, of which more than a third are native to the country.
The most famous of all is the tulip which is Turkey’s national emblem.
Turkey is also the home of over thirty species of wild wheat, along with barley, chickpeas, lentils, apricots, figs, cherries and many types of nuts.
With regard to fauna, it is thought that there are over 80,000 species and Turkey is the original homeland of pheasant, fallow deer and domestic sheep. Today many of the national parks and, of course, the natural mountainous countryside still abound with wildlife such as brown bears, wild boar, lynx, wolves and leopards as well as over 4,000 types of bird.
The Mediterranean Region
Much of the coastal and more temperate areas of Turkey are covered in maquis (dwarf forest) or Red Pines, which require little water to tide them over during the dry summers. In higher areas cedar and fir trees are more common. These dryer parts of the forest are obviously vulnerable to fires and it is thought that each summer approximately 20,000 hectares are destroyed.
The Mediterranean climate also enables more exotic fruit- growing which, in recent years has included the kiwi fruit, bananas and avocados, all of which are readily available at the local markets. The region is also particularly well- known for its olives, grapes, cotton and tobacco.
The coastal areas of both the Mediterranean and the Aegean are well known for providing a safe haven for the endangered monk seal and the logger-head turtle. Within this particular region, the Olympos area, including the beach, is a national park and a breeding ground for the turtles.
Mosques – As a place of religious importance, dress rules must be respectfully adhered to by all those entering a mosque. For women, bare arms, legs and heads are not acceptable inside a mosque. Men should avoid wearing shorts and heads must be covered with a scarf. Before entering a mosque, shoes must be removed. Avoid visiting mosques at prayer time, on Fridays (Muslim Holy Day) and at times of religious festivals.
Beach – Topless sunbathing can offend the traditionally minded and to be naked is illegal.
Dress – Turkey is a fairly modern country and the wearing of shorts and T-shirts around towns and cities is quite acceptable. In more remote villages and places of worship, it is advisable to wear something a little more formal, such as skirt or trousers with a blouse or T-shirt. It would be considered offensive to go shopping in bikinis or swimming trunks. If you are scantily clad you will attract the attention of the locals, both male and female!
Tipping – In restaurants service is generally 10% of the meal cost. Some restaurants will include a service charge in the bill (added on at the bottom). It is optional to add further if you wish.
While travelling on coach trips and jaunts no official tipping is expected. Having said that though, it is always appreciated if you tip the driver.
The belief in the malevolent powers of ‘nazar’, the evil eye, is one of the most widespread superstitions in the country. The blue bead nazarboncuğu will guard against evil wherever it is adorned with its powers of sympathetic magic. For this reason, they will be seen providing protection everywhere – children and babies wear them, homes and new buildings often exhibit one and even domestic animals may have one!