world map


A country on two continents, the bridge to Asia

date of entry 08/06/2005
mileage 474,468

capital Ankara

area 783.562 km²

population 76.667.864

GDP 851,4 Bill. US-Dollar

official language Turkish

Turkey is a blend of traditional and modern, spanning Europe and Asia. The Holtorfs travelled widely around the country, enjoying these contrasts and often meeting people who spoke a little German. For motorists coming from Europe, Turkey is one of the best and safest ways to get to the Middle East and the Caucasus.
  • A milestone on the journey: During one of the last visits Otto passed the 600,000-kilometre mark in Turkey.
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  • The extraordinary panorama of the Bosphorus in Istanbul has inspired many writers. The Holtorfs first visited this city, spanning two continents, in 2005.
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  • Perhaps the best-known ruins in Turkey are on the west coast: visitors to the ancient city of Ephesus can admire a beautifully preserved ancient Greek amphitheatre
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  • The Celsus library is an impressive showcase for the city’s golden age. Ephesus is particularly known for the Temple of Artemis. Dedicated to the Greek goddess of hunting, it was one of the seven wonders of the ancient world.
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  • Turkey’s cities manage to cram large numbers of people into very small spaces.
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  • Hagia Sophia was built as an orthodox church by Byzantine rulers, but after the city was conquered in the 15th century the Ottomans turned it into a mosque. Today it is used as a museum, and has become the trademark of Istanbul.
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  • Tens of millions of tourists visit Turkey each year for its cultural sites and wonderful beaches. The Holtorfs took a few photographs of this mass tourism…
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  • … and then escaped to the mountains. Here they found Mount Ararat, close to the border with Armenia, where Noah’s Ark was reputedly stranded. At 5,137 metres, this is Turkey’s highest mountain.
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  • In summer, the Mediterranean air is filled with the scent of citrus. But the east is much more rugged and rocky.
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  • Turkey is one of the world’s leading producers of lamb. Lambs’ milk is also a key ingredient of Turkish cuisine.
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  • Gunther is a talented linguist, but he doesn’t speak Turkish. However, he never had any problems communicating with the locals as he travelled round this varied land. "Whenever we met a group of people, there was nearly always someone who spoke at least basic German."
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  • Video: Turkey: a holiday destination with close ties to Germany