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Anatolia

Coordinates: 39°N 32°E / 39°N 32°E / 39; 32

Composite satellite image of Anatolia.

Anatolia (Turkish: Anadolu, from Greek Aνατολή anatolē; also Asia Minor, from Greek: Μικρά Ασία, mikrá asía) is a geographic region of Western Asia, comprising most of the modern Republic of Turkey. The region is bounded by the Black Sea to the north, the Caucasus to the northeast, the Iranian plateau to the southeast, the Mediterranean Sea to the south and the Aegean Sea to the west. Anatolia has been home to many civilizations throughout history, including the Aramean, Hittite, Trojan, Phrygian, Lydian, Achaemenid, Greek, Armenian, Roman, Byzantine, Anatolian Seljuk and Ottoman states.

Geographically, three sides of the peninsula are bordered by Black Sea to the north, Aegean Sea to the west, and Mediterranean Sea to the south. The north east sides of Anatolia is more mountainous. Sea of Marmara form a connection between Black and Aegean seas through the Bosporus and Dardanelles straits. The north side of Marmara is considered to be in Europe and the Bosporus connects Europe to Asia.

Currently, Anatolia is situated in the Turkish Republic. The vast majority of the people residing in Anatolia are Turks. Kurds, who constitute a major community in southeastern Anatolia, are the largest ethnic minority. Albanians, Arabs, Armenians, Bosnians, Georgians, Greeks, Jews, and a number of other ethnic groups also live in Anatolia.

Contents

Name

The name Anatolia comes from the Greek Aνατολή (anatolē) meaning the "East" or more literally "sunrise."[1] The precise reference of this term has varied over time, perhaps originally referring only to the Ionian colonies on the Asia Minor coast. In the Byzantine Empire, Anatolikon was a theme covering the western and central parts of Turkey's present-day Central Anatolian Region.[2][3]

Physical geography

Relief map of Turkey

The Anatolian peninsula is bounded by the Black Sea to the north, the Mediterranean Sea to the south, the Aegean Sea (itself an arm of the Mediterranean) to the west, and the bulk of the Asian mainland to the east.

Anatolia's terrain is structurally complex. A central massif composed of uplifted blocks and downfolded troughs, covered by recent deposits and giving the appearance of a plateau with rough terrain, is wedged between two folded mountain ranges that converge in the east. True lowland is confined to a few narrow coastal strips along the Black Sea and Mediterranean Sea coasts. Flat or gently sloping land is rare and largely confined to the deltas of the Kızıl River, the coastal plains of Çukurova and the valley floors of the Gediz River and the Büyük Menderes River as well as some interior high plains in Anatolia, mainly around Tuz Gölü (Salt Lake) and Konya Ovası (Konya Basin).

Turkey is divided into seven census-defined geographical regions:

Black Sea Region

The seven census-defined regions of Turkey
Panoramic view of the Pontic Mountains

The Black Sea region has a steep, rocky coast with rivers that cascade through the gorges of the coastal ranges. A few larger rivers, those cutting back through the Pontic Mountains (Doğu Karadeniz Dağları), have tributaries that flow in broad, elevated basins. Access inland from the coast is limited to a few narrow valleys because mountain ridges, with elevations of 1,525 to 1,800 meters in the west and 3,000 to 4,000 meters in the east in Kaçkar Mountains, form an almost unbroken wall separating the coast from the interior. The higher slopes facing northwest tend to be densely forested. Because of these natural conditions, the Black Sea coast historically has been isolated from Anatolia.

Running from Zonguldak in the west to Rize in the east, the narrow coastal strip widens at several places into fertile, intensely cultivated deltas. The Samsun area, close to the midpoint, is a major tobacco-growing region; east of it are numerous citrus groves. East of Samsun, the area around Trabzon is world-renowned for the production of hazelnuts, and farther east the Rize region has numerous tea plantations. All cultivable areas, including mountain slopes wherever they are not too steep, are sown or used as pasture. The mild, damp climate of the Black Sea coast makes commercial farming profitable. The western part of the Black Sea region, especially the Zonguldak area, is a center of coal mining and heavy industry.

The North Anatolian Mountains in the north are an interrupted chain of folded highlands that generally parallel the Black Sea coast. In the west, the mountains tend to be low, with elevations rarely exceeding 1,500 meters, but they rise in an easterly direction to heights greater than 3,000 meters south of Rize. Lengthy, troughlike valleys and basins characterize the mountains. Rivers flow from the mountains toward the Black Sea. The southern slopes—facing the Anatolian Plateau—are mostly unwooded, but the northern slopes contain dense growths of both deciduous and evergreen trees.

Marmara Region

View of Bursa from the hills near Uludağ, the ancient Mysian Olympus

The European portion of Turkey consists mainly of rolling plateau country well suited to agriculture. It receives about 520 millimeters of rainfall annually.

Densely populated, this area includes the cities of Istanbul and Edirne. The Bosphorus, which links the Sea of Marmara and the Black Sea, is about twenty-five kilometers long and averages 1.5 kilometers in width but narrows in places to less than 1000 meters. There are two suspension bridges over the Bosphorus, both its Asian and European banks rise steeply from the water and form a succession of cliffs, coves, and nearly landlocked bays. Most of the shores are densely wooded and are marked by numerous small towns and villages. The Dardanelles Strait, which links the Sea of Marmara and the Aegean Sea, is approximately forty kilometers long and increases in width toward the south. Unlike the Bosphorus, the Dardanelles has fewer settlements along its shores. The Saros Bay is located near the Gallipoli peninsula and is famous for its clean beaches. It is a favourite spot among scuba divers for the richness of its underwater fauna and is becoming increasingly popular due to its vicinity to Istanbul.

The most important valleys are the Kocaeli Valley, the Bursa Ovasi (Bursa Basin), and the Plains of Troy (historically known as the Troad.) The valley lowlands around Bursa is densely populated.

Aegean Region

View of Ölüdeniz near Fethiye

Located on the western side of Anatolia, the Aegean region has a fertile soil and a typically Mediterranean climate; with mild, wet winters and hot, dry summers. The broad, cultivated valley lowlands contain about half of the country's richest farmlands.

The largest city in the Aegean Region of Turkey is İzmir, which is also the country's third largest city and a major manufacturing center; as well as its second largest port after Istanbul.

Olive and olive oil production is particularly important for the economy of the region. The seaside town of Ayvalık and numerous towns in the provinces of Balıkesir, İzmir and Aydın are particularly famous for their olive oil and related products; such as soap and cosmetics.

The region also has many important centers of tourism which are known both for their historic monuments and for the beauty of their beaches; such as Assos, Ayvalık, Bergama, Foça, İzmir, Çeşme, Sardis, Ephesus, Kuşadası, Didim, Miletus, Bodrum, Marmaris, Datça and Fethiye.

Panoramic view of Bodrum, ancient Halicarnassus, the city of Herodotus and the home of the Mausoleum of Maussollos, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World

Mediterranean Region

Beaches and marina of Kemer near Antalya in the Turkish Riviera

Toward the east, the extensive plains around Adana, Turkey's fourth largest city, consist largely of reclaimed flood lands. In general, rivers have not cut valleys to the sea in the western part of the region. Historically, movement inland from the western Mediterranean coast was difficult. East of Adana, much of the coastal plain has limestone features such as collapsed caverns and sinkholes. Between Adana and Antalya, the Taurus Mountains rise sharply from the coast to high elevations. Other than Adana, Antalya, and Mersin, the Mediterranean coast has few major cities, although it has numerous farming villages.

Paralleling the Mediterranean coast, the Taurus Mountains (Toros Dağları) are Turkey's second chain of folded mountains. The range rises just inland from the coast and trends generally in an easterly direction until it reaches the Arabian Platform, where it arcs around the northern side of the platform. The Taurus Mountains are more rugged and less dissected by rivers than the Pontus Mountains and historically have served as a barrier to human movement inland from the Mediterranean coast except where there are mountain passes such as the historic Cilician Gates (Gülek Pass), northwest of Adana.

Panoramic view of Alanya, inhabited since the Hittites and the medieval homeport of the Seljuk naval forces, famous today for its natural beauty and historic monuments

Central Anatolia Region

Cappadocia

Stretching inland from the Aegean coastal plain, the Central Anatolian occupies the area between the two zones of the folded mountains, extending east to the point where the two ranges converge. The plateau-like, semiarid highlands of Anatolia are considered the heartland of the country. The region varies in elevation from 600 to 1,200 meters from west to east. The two largest basins on the plateau are the Konya Ovasi and the basin occupied by the large salt lake, Tuz Gölü. Both basins are characterized by inland drainage. Wooded areas are confined to the northwest and northeast of the plateau. Rain-fed cultivation is widespread, with wheat being the principal crop. Irrigated agriculture is restricted to the areas surrounding rivers and wherever sufficient underground water is available. Important irrigated crops include barley, corn, cotton, various fruits, grapes, opium poppies, sugar beets, roses, and tobacco. There also is extensive grazing throughout the plateau.

Central Anatolia receives little annual rainfall. For instance, the semiarid center of the plateau receives an average yearly precipitation of only 300 millimeters. However, actual rainfall from year to year is irregular and occasionally may be less than 200 millimeters, leading to severe reductions in crop yields for both rain-fed and irrigated agriculture. In years of low rainfall, stock losses also can be high. Overgrazing has contributed to soil erosion on the plateau. During the summers, frequent dust storms blow a fine yellow powder across the plateau. Locusts occasionally ravage the eastern area in April and May. In general, the plateau experiences extreme heat, with almost no rainfall in summer and cold weather with heavy snow in winter.

Frequently interspersed throughout the folded mountains, and also situated on the Anatolian Plateau, are well-defined basins, which the Turks call ova . Some are no more than a widening of a stream valley; others, such as the Konya Ovasi, are large basins of inland drainage or are the result of limestone erosion. Most of the basins take their names from cities or towns located at their rims. Where a lake has formed within the basin, the water body is usually saline as a result of the internal drainage—the water has no outlet to the sea.

Eastern and Southeastern Anatolia Regions

Mount Ararat

Eastern Anatolia, where the Pontus and Taurus mountain ranges converge, is rugged country with higher elevations, a more severe climate, and greater precipitation than are found on the Anatolian Plateau. Eastern Anatolia roughly coincides with the western half of the Armenian Highland. The region is known as the Anti-Taurus, and the average elevation of its peaks exceeds 3,000 meters. Mount Ararat, at 5,137 meters the highest point in Turkey, is located in the Anti-Taurus. Many of the Anti-Taurus peaks apparently are recently extinct volcanoes, to judge from extensive lava flows. Turkey's largest lake, Lake Van, is situated in the mountains at an elevation of 1,546 meters. The headwaters of three major rivers arise in the Anti-Taurus: the east-flowing Aras, which pours into the Caspian Sea; the south-flowing Euphrates; and the south-flowing Tigris, which eventually joins the Euphrates in Iraq before emptying into the Persian Gulf. Several small streams that empty into the Black Sea or landlocked Lake Van also originate in these mountains.

In addition to its rugged mountains, the area is known for severe winters with heavy snowfalls. The few valleys and plains in these mountains tend to be fertile and to support diverse agriculture. The main basin is the Mus Valley, west of Lake Van. Narrow valleys also lie at the foot of the lofty peaks along river corridors.

Southeast Anatolia is south of the Anti-Taurus Mountains. It is a region of rolling hills and a broad plateau surface that extends into Syria. Elevations decrease gradually, from about 800 meters in the north to about 500 meters in the south. Traditionally, wheat and barley were the main crops of the region, but the inauguration of major new irrigation projects in the 1980s has led to greater agricultural diversity and development.

Climate

Anatolia has a varied range of climates. This is partly due to the reason that Anatolia covers such a vast expanse of land. In fact, it goes all the way into southwestern Russia, where it is covered by temperate forests.

Ecoregions

Anatolia's diverse topography and climate has fostered a similar diversity of plant and animal communities.

The mountains and coastal plain of northern Anatolia, with its humid and mild climate, is home to temperate broadleaf, mixed and coniferous forests. The central and eastern plateau, with its drier continental climate, is home to deciduous forests and forest steppes. Western and southern Anatolia, which have a Mediterranean climate, are home to Mediterranean forests, woodlands, and scrub ecoregions.

  • Euxine-Colchic deciduous forests: These temperate broadleaf and mixed forests extend across northern Anatolia, lying between the mountains of northern Anatolia and the Black Sea. They include the enclaves of temperate rainforest lying along the southeastern coast of the Black Sea in eastern Turkey and Georgia.[4]
  • Northern Anatolian conifer and deciduous forests: These forests occupy the mountains of northern Anatolia, running east and west between the coastal Euxine-Colchic forests and the drier, continental climate forests of central and eastern Anatolia. [5]
  • Central Anatolian deciduous forests: These forests of deciduous oaks and evergreen pines cover the plateau of central Anatolia. [6]
  • Central Anatolian steppe: These dry grasslands cover the drier valleys and surround the saline lakes of central Anatolia, and include halophytic (salt tolerant) plant communities. [7]
  • Eastern Anatolian deciduous forests: This ecoregion occupies the plateau of eastern Anatolia. The drier and more continental climate is home to steppe-forests dominated by deciduous oaks, with areas of shrubland, montane forest, and valley forest. [8]
  • Anatolian conifer and deciduous mixed forests: These forests occupy the western, Mediterranean-climate portion of the Anatolian plateau. Pine forests and mixed pine and oak woodlands and shrublands are predominant. [9]
  • Aegean and Western Turkey sclerophyllous and mixed forests: These Mediterranean-climate forests occupy the coastal lowlands and valleys of western Anatolia bordering the Aegean Sea. The ecoregion is home to forests of Turkish Pine (Pinus brutia), oak forests and woodlands, and maquis shrubland of Turkish Pine and evergreen sclerophyllous trees and shrubs, including Olive (Olea europaea), Strawberry Tree (Arbutus unedo), Arbutus andrachne, Kermes Oak (Quercus coccifera), and Bay Laurel (Laurus nobilis). [10]
  • Southern Anatolian montane conifer and deciduous forests: These mountain forests occupy the Mediterranean-climate Taurus Mountains of southern Anatolia. Conifer forests are predominant, chiefly Anatolian black pine (Pinus nigra), Cedar of Lebanon (Cedrus libani), Taurus fir (Abies cilicica), and juniper (Juniperus foetidissima and J. excelsa). Broadleaf trees include oaks, hornbeam, and maples. [11]
  • Eastern Mediterranean conifer-sclerophyllous-broadleaf forests: This ecoregion occupies the coastal strip of southern Anatolia between the Taurus Mountains and the Mediterranean Sea. Plant communities include broadleaf sclerophyllous maquis shrublands, forests of Aleppo Pine (Pinus halepensis) and Turkish Pine (Pinus brutia), and dry oak (Quercus spp.) woodlands and steppes. [12]

History

Eastern Anatolia contains the oldest monumental structures in the world. For example, the monumental structures at Göbekli Tepe were built by hunters and gatherers a thousand years before the development of agriculture. Eastern Anatolia is also a heart region for the Neolithic revolution, one of the earliest areas in which humans domesticated plants and animals. Neolithic sites such as Çatalhöyük, Çayönü, Nevali Cori and Hacilar represent the world's oldest known agricultural villages.

The earliest historical records of Anatolia are from the Akkadian Empire under Sargon in the 24th century BC. The region was famous for exporting various raw materials.[13] The Assyrian Empire claimed the resources, notably silver. One of the numerous Assyrian cuneiform records found in Anatolia at Kanesh uses an advanced system of trading computations and credit lines.[13]

Unlike the Akkadians and the Assyrians, whose Anatolian possessions were peripheral to their core lands in Mesopotamia, the Hittites were centered at Hattusa in north-central Anatolia. They were speakers of an Indo-European language known as the "language of Nesa". Originating from Nesa, they conquered Hattusa in the 18th century BC, imposing themselves over a Hurrian speaking population. During the Late Bronze Age they created an empire, the Hittite New Kingdom, which reached its height in the 14th century BC. The empire included a large part of Anatolia, north-western Syria and upper Mesopotamia. After 1180 BC, the empire disintegrated into several independent "Neo-Hittite" city-states, some surviving until as late as the 8th century BC.

Over several centuries numerous Ancient Greek city states were established in Anatolia, mainly on or close to the coast. In the 6th century BC most of Anatolia was conquered by the Achaemenid Empire. In the 4th century BC Alexander the Great conquered the peninsula. Following his death and the breakup of his empire, Anatolia was ruled by a series of Hellenistic kingdoms. Two hundred years later western and central Anatolia came under Roman control, but it continued to be strongly influenced by Hellenistic culture. In the first century BC the Armenians established the Armenian kingdom under Tigran who reigned throughout much of the region situated between the Caspian, Black and Mediterranean seas. Asia Minor is known as the birthplace of coinage as a medium of exchange (some time in the 7th century BC), which flourished during the Greek and Roman eras.[14][15]

After the division of the Roman Empire all of western and central Anatolia remained under the control of the Christian Byzantine Empire. Byzantine control was challenged by Arab invasions starting in the seventh century, but in the 9th and 10th century a resurgent Byzantine Empire regained its lost territories and even expanded beyond its traditional borders, into Armenia. Following the Battle of Manzikert in 1071, the Seljuk Turks swept across Anatolia and conquered it in its entirety by 1080. The Turkish language and Islamic religion were gradually introduced as a result of the Seljuk conquest, and this period marks the start of Anatolia's slow transition from predominantly Christian and Greek-speaking, to predominantly Muslim and Turkish speaking. In the following century, the Byzantines managed to reassert their rule in Western and Northern Anatolia. Control of Anatolia was then split between the Byzantine Empire and the Seljuk Sultanate of Rûm, with the Byzantine holdings gradually being reduced. By the end of the 15th century most of Anatolia came under the control of the Ottoman Empire, which completed the conquest of the peninsula in 1517; though still challenged by Persia and various Persian-supported local dynasties in the eastern provinces until the end of the 17th century.

With the beginning of the slow decline of the Ottoman Empire in the early 19th century, and as a result of the expansionist policies of Czarist Russia in the Caucasus, many Muslim nations and groups in that region, mainly Circassians, Tatars, Azeris, Lezgis, Chechens, and several Turkic groups were forced to relocate to Anatolia, leaving behind their ancestral homes. As the Ottoman Empire further fragmented during the Balkan Wars, much of the non-Christian populations of its former possessions, mainly the Balkan Muslims, flocked to Anatolia and were resettled in various locations, mostly in formerly Christian villages throughout Anatolia.[16]

Anatolia remained multi-ethnic until the early 20th century (see the rise of nationalism under the Ottoman Empire). During World War I, the Armenian Genocide, the Greek genocide (especially in Pontus), and the Assyrian Genocide almost entirely eliminated the Armenian and Assyrian populations of Anatolia, as well as a large part of its ethnic Greek population. Following the Greco-Turkish War of 1919-1922, virtually all remaining ethnic Anatolian Greeks were forced out during the 1923 population exchange between Greece and Turkey.

Ethnographic map of Anatolia from 1911.

Since the foundation of the Republic of Turkey in 1923, most of Anatolia has been part of Turkey, its inhabitants being mainly Turks and Kurds (see demographics of Turkey and history of Turkey).

See also

  • Anadolu University
  • Anatolianism
  • Anatolian Turkish Beyliks
  • 1268 Cilicia earthquake
  • Anatolian Bulgarians
  • Ancient Greece
  • Assyria
  • Urartu
  • Assyrian diaspora
  • Byzantine Empire
  • Caria
  • Çatalhöyük
  • Cilicia
  • Empire of Trebizond
  • Etruscans
  • History of Anatolia
  • Hittites
  • Istanbul
  • Kurdish People
  • Lazs
  • Lycia
  • Lydia
  • Ottoman Empire
  • Pamphylia
  • Phrygia
  • Pontus
  • Saint Anatolia, Roman Catholic Saint
  • Seljuk Sultanate of Rûm
  • Troy
  • Turkey
  • Turkish Kurdistan
  • Turkish Riviera
  • Zaza people

References

  1. ^ "Henry George Liddell, Robert Scott, A Greek-English Lexicon". http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/cgi-bin/ptext?doc=Perseus%3Atext%3A1999.04.0057%3Aentry%3D%237638. 
  2. ^ "On the First Thema, Called Anatolikon. This theme is called Anatolikon, not because it is above and in the direction of the east where the sun rises, but because it lies East of Byzantium and Europe." Constantine VII Porphyogenitus, De Thematibus, ed. A. Pertusi. Vatican: Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana, 1952, pp. 59–61.[clarification needed]
  3. ^ John Haldon, "Byzantium, a History", 2002. PAge 32.
  4. ^ "Euxine-Colchic deciduous forests" WWF scientific report. Accessed May 25 2008. [1]
  5. ^ "Northern Anatolian conifer and deciduous forests" WWF scientific report. Accessed May 25 2008. [2]
  6. ^ "Central Anatolian deciduous forests" National Geographic ecoregion profile. Accessed May 25, 2008 [3]
  7. ^ "Central Anatolian steppe" WWF scientific Report. Accessed May 25 2008
  8. ^ "Eastern Anatolian deciduous forests" WWF scientific report. Accessed May 25 2008. [4]
  9. ^ "Anatolian conifer and deciduous mixed forests" WWF scientific report. Accessed May 25 2008 [5]
  10. ^ Aegean and Western Turkey sclerophyllous and mixed forests" WWF scientific report. Accessed May 25 2008 [6]
  11. ^ "Southern Anatolian montane conifer and deciduous forests" WWF scientific report. Accessed May 25 2008 [7]
  12. ^ "SEastern Mediterranean conifer-sclerophyllous-broadleaf forests" WWF scientific report. Accessed May 25, 2008
  13. ^ a b Freeman, Charles (1999). Egypt, Greece and Rome: Civilizations of the Ancient Mediterranean. Oxford University Press. ISBN 0198721943. 
  14. ^ Howgego, C. J. (1995). Ancient History from Coins. ISBN 0415089921. 
  15. ^ Asia Minor Coins - an index of Greek and Roman coins from Asia Minor (ancient Anatolia)
  16. ^ Justin McCarthy,"Death and Exile: The Ethnic Cleansing of Ottoman Muslims, 1821-1922",1996,ISBN 0878500944