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On these days, parades and other ceremonial activities are carried out by official institutions like schools, state organizations and military forces to commemorate special events on the course of the National War of Independence that lasted four years between 1919 and 1923.

National Sovereignty and Children's Day (April 23)
On this date in 1920, during the War of Independence, the Turkish Grand National Assembly was established in Ankara by Mustafa Kemal and laid down the foundations of a new independent state from the ashes of the Ottoman Empire. The founder of the Turkish Republic, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, dedicated April 23 to the children of the country to emphasize that they are the future of the new nation. This is the world's first and only holiday for children.

Commemoration of Ataturk and Youth and Sports Day (May 19)
On this date in 1919, Mustafa Kemal arrived in Anatolia at the Black Sea Port of Samsun, which marks the beginning of the War of Independence. The week including this holiday has been celebrated as "Youth Week" in Turkey since 1983.

Victory Day (August 30)
This national holiday celebrates the Victory of Turkish Army over Greeks in 1922. On this day in 1922, the fifth day of the big attack against the invading Greek Armies, the Turkish Army under the command of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk defeated the Greek forces at Dumlupinar (within Kutahya Province). This final victory determined the result of the Independence War. Within a few weeks, the Turkish mainland was completely liberated, the armistice signed and the rule of the Ottoman dynasty abolished.

Republic Day (October 29)
This is the anniversary of the declaration of the Turkish Republic by the Turkish Grand National Assembly in 1923.


There are two religious holidays or feasts, which are very important for all Muslims.

Seker Bayrami - Ramazan Bayrami (the Festival of Fast-Breaking) This three day festival comes after an entire month of fasting during Ramadan (the ninth month of the Muslim year). It begins on the first day of the tenth month of the Muslim year and marks the end of fasting.

On the first day of the festival Muslims meet at mosques, special prayers take place between dawn and noon. After the prayers, families and friends meet in each other's homes. Special cakes and sweet desserts are prepared for this occasion. Many Muslims celebrate the Festival by sending greeting cards to each other.

Kurban Bayrami (the Festival of Sacrifice) This four-day festival begins on the tenth day of the last month of the Muslim year and marks the completion of Hajj (pilgrimage to Mecca).

On the morning of the first day of this festival, Muslims may sacrifice an animal. Usually this is a sheep or a goat, though other larger animals are sometimes used, especially if families join together to make the sacrifice. It is the festival at which Muslims remember that Prophet Abraham was ready to make a sacrifice of his son, Ishmael. He did not have to do this because, just in time an angel came to him and told him to stop, because he had already demonstrated his willingness to give up everything he loved for God's sake. He sacrificed a ram instead.

Sacrificing the animal is a symbol. This is a sign that Muslims are ready to give up everything for the sake of God just as Abraham was willing to do that.

The meat from the sacrificed animal is divided into three parts such that the first part goes to the poor persons, the second part to friends and relatives and the third part for the use of one's family.

Both religious events are celebrated through prayers and sermons encouraging peace and general goodwill among all, visits to parents, grandparents and relatives for feast greeting, also visits to family cemeteries.

The dates of these religious festivals change according to the Muslim lunar calendar and thus occur 10 days earlier each year.

Principal Turkish International Culture and Art Festivals

More than 100 festivals are organized in Turkey every year. Along with the local festivals organized in almost every city of the country, international culture and art festivals are also held in major cities such as Istanbul, Ankara, Izmir and Antalya. Istanbul is the most important center of international culture and art festivals.

Principal Turkish International Culture and Art Festivals and other important events are as follows:

International Guitar Festival - Istanbul
International Baroque Festival - Istanbul

MTE Mediterranean Tourism Exhibition - Istanbul

1915 Sea Victory Celebration - Canakkale
International Rock Festival - Ankara

EMITT East Mediterranean Tourism and Travel Exhibition - Istanbul
Anzak Day Ceremonies - Canakkale-Eceabat Gelibolu Peninsula
International Istanbul Film Festival - Istanbul
International Ankara Music Festival - Ankara
International Children Festival - Istanbul
International Dance Festival - Istanbul

International Youth Festival - Istanbul
Yunus Emre Culture and Art Week - Eskisehir
Bodrum Jazz Days - Bodrum
Flying Broom International Women�s Film Festival - Ankara
International Sea Festival - Bodrum
International Black Sea Countries Theater Festival - Trabzon

International Kus Cenneti (Bird Paradise) Culture and Tourism Festival - Balikesir- Bandirma
International Kahta Kommagene Festival - Adiyaman-Kahta
International Istanbul Music Festival - Istanbul
Traditional Kirkpinar Oil- Wrestling Festival - Edirne

International Aspendos Opera and Ballet Festival - Antalya-Serik
International Kas-Likya Culture and Art Festival - Antalya-Kas
Dalyan Tourism Caretta Caretta Festival - Mugla-Ortaca
July Aksehir International Nasreddin Hoca Festival - Konya-Aksehir
International Istanbul Jazz Festival - Istanbul
Artvin Kafkasor Culture, Tourism and Art Festival - Artvin
Kumbet Yayla Festival - Giresun-Dereli
Bektas Yayla Festival - Giresun-Dereli
International Swimming Competition - Istanbul (across the Bosphorus)

International Troy Festival - Canakkale
Hacibektasi Veli Commemoration Ceremonies - Nevsehir-Hacibektas
Bilkent International Anatolia Music Festival - Sanliurfa
Sultanmurat Yayla Festival - Trabzon-Caykara

Izmir International Fair - Izmir
Avanos International Tourism and Handicrafts Festival - Nevsehir-Avanos
Mengen Chefs' and Tourism Festival - Bolu-Mengen

International Istanbul Biannual - Istanbul
International Folk Dances Festival - Izmir
International Side Culture and Art Festival - Side
International Ataturk Dam Water Sports Feast - Sanliurfa- Bozova
'Altin Safran' Documentary Film Festival - Karabuk-Safranbolu
International Wine Competition - Nevsehir- Urgup

Antalya Altin Portakal Film Festival - Antalya
International Bodrum Cup Gulet Competition - Bodrum
Mountainbike - Antalya-Alanya
Triathlon (Swimming, Biking, Running) - Antalya-Alanya
Mersin International Music Festival - Icel

Marmaris Yacht Races - Marmaris
International Ankara Theater Festival - Ankara

International Mystic Music Festival - Istanbul
International Ankara Film Festival - Ankara
International Piano Festival - Istanbul
Mevlana (Whirling Dervishes) Commemoration Ceremonies - Konya
St. Nicholas Symposium - Antalya-Kale (Demre)

Whirling Dance Performances

Performances at Mevlevihane in Galata

The Mevlevi Dervish Lodge or Mevlevihane in Galata, Istanbul, is today the home of the Museum of Divan Literature, as well as several times a year serving its old function as the place of worship of the Mevlevi or Whirling Dervishes, whose extraordinary ceremonies and unique music enrapture modern audiences just as they have since the 13th century.

The semahane, or hall where the sema, whirling dance, is performed, dates from the 18th century, its intricate woodwork being in the classical Ottoman style. Nowhere else has a semahane of this type survived to the present day. It was the first building to be constructed specifically as a Mevlevi dervish lodge in Istanbul.

Visit for performance schedule.


Marmara, Aegean and Mediterranean Coasts:
These coasts have a typical Mediterranean climate with hot summers and mild winters. The swimming season becomes shorter as one travels north:

Marmara and North Aegean:
June to September

South Aegean and Mediterranean:
April to October

Black Sea Coast:
Temperate climate with warm summers, mild winters and relatively high rainfall.

Central Anatolia:
These areas have a steppe climate with hot, dry summers and cold winters.

Eastern Anatolia:
Long snowy, cold winters with mild summers.

Southeast Anatolia:
These areas have a hot summer with mild, rainy winters.

Average air temperatures for major cities in Celsius:

  Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
ANTALYA 10 11 13 16 20 25 28 28 25 20 15 12
IZMIR 9 10 11 16 20 25 28 27 23 18 15 10
ISTANBUL 5 6 7 12 16 21 23 23 20 16 12 8
TRABZON 6 6 7 11 15 20 22 22 19 15 12 9
ANKARA 0 1 5 11 16 20 23 23 18 13 8 2
ERZURUM -9 -7 -3 5 11 15 19 20 15 9 2 -5
DIYARBAKIR 2 2 8 14 19 26 31 31 25 17 10 4


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