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Some henges at Göbekli Tepe were erected as far back as 9600 BC, predating those of Stonehenge, England, by over seven millennia.

The earliest recorded inhabitants of Anatolia were the Hattians and Hurrians, non-Indo-European peoples who inhabited central and eastern Anatolia, respectively, as early as c. 2300 BC. Indo-European Hittites came to Anatolia and gradually absorbed the Hattians and Hurrians c. 2000–1700 BC. The first major empire in the area was founded by the Hittites, from the 18th through the 13th century BC. The Assyrians conquered and settled parts of southeastern Turkey as early as 1950 BC until the year 612 BC, although they have remained a minority in the region, namely in HakkariŞırnak and Mardin.

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The Sphinx Gate in Hattusa

Urartu re-emerged in Assyrian inscriptions in the 9th century BC as a powerful northern rival of Assyria. Following the collapse of the Hittite empire c. 1180 BC, the Phrygians, an Indo-European people, achieved ascendancy in Anatolia until their kingdom was destroyed by the Cimmerians in the 7th century BC. Starting from 714 BC, Urartu shared the same fate and dissolved in 590 BC, when it was conquered by the Medes. The most powerful of Phrygia’s successor states were LydiaCaria and Lycia.


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The Theatre at Halicarnassus (modern Bodrum) was built in the 4th century BC by Mausolus, the Persian satrap (governor) of Caria.
Following Alexander’s death in 323 BC, Anatolia was subsequently divided into a number of small Hellenistic kingdoms, all of which became part of the Roman Republic by the mid-1st century BC. The process of Hellenization that began with Alexander’s conquest accelerated under Roman rule, and by the early centuries of the Christian Era, the local Anatolian languages and cultures had become extinct, being largely replaced by ancient Greek language and culture. From the 1st century BC up to the 3rd century CE, large parts of modern-day Turkey were contested between the Romans and neighbouring Parthians through the frequent Roman-Parthian Wars.
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The Library of Celsus in Ephesus was built by the Romans in 114–117.

Early Christian and Byzantine Period:

In 324, Constantine I chose Byzantium to be the new capital of the Roman Empire, renaming it New Rome. Following the death of Theodosius I in 395 and the permanent division of the Roman Empire between his two sons, the city, which would popularly come to be known as Constantinople, became the capital of the Eastern Roman Empire. This empire, which would later be branded by historians as the Byzantine Empire, ruled most of the territory of present-day Turkey until the Late Middle Ages; although the eastern regions remained firmly in Sasanian hands until the first half of the 7th century CE. The frequent Byzantine-Sassanid Wars, a continuation of the centuries-long Roman-Persian Wars, took place in various parts of present-day Turkey between the 4th and 7th centuries CE.

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