Where Was Turkey in Ancient Times?

Turkey, located at the crossroads of Europe and Asia, has a rich history that dates back to ancient times. In this article, we will explore the fascinating history of Turkey and its place in the ancient world.

The Hittites

One of the earliest civilizations to emerge in Turkey was that of the Hittites. They established their empire in central Anatolia around 1600 BC and flourished for nearly 600 years. The Hittites were known for their military prowess and advanced technology, including their use of iron weapons.

Interesting Fact: The Hittites were one of the first civilizations to develop a legal system.

The Greeks

In the 8th century BC, Greek colonists began to settle along the coast of what is now Turkey. They established several city-states, including Byzantium (later renamed Constantinople) and Ephesus. These cities became important centers of trade and culture in the ancient world.

The Greeks had a significant influence on Turkish culture, especially in terms of architecture and art. Many famous buildings in Turkey, such as the Hagia Sophia, feature Greek-inspired designs.

The Romans

After conquering Greece in 146 BC, the Romans extended their empire into what is now Turkey. They established several cities throughout the region, including Antioch, which became one of the largest cities in the Roman Empire.

The Romans left a lasting impact on Turkish culture through their architecture and engineering feats. Many famous landmarks in Turkey, such as the aqueducts at Aspendos and Selge, were built by Roman engineers.

The Byzantines

In AD 330, Emperor Constantine moved his capital from Rome to Byzantium (now Istanbul), which became known as Constantinople. The Byzantine Empire emerged as a dominant power in eastern Europe and western Asia for nearly 1000 years.

The Byzantines were known for their impressive architecture and art, including the famous mosaics in the Hagia Sophia. They also made significant contributions to the field of medicine, with many of their medical texts still studied today.

The Seljuks and Ottomans

In the 11th century AD, the Seljuk Turks emerged as a powerful force in Turkey. They established a vast empire that extended from Central Asia to Anatolia and played a significant role in shaping Turkish culture.

Later, in the 14th century, the Ottoman Turks emerged as a dominant force in Turkey. They conquered Constantinople in 1453 and established an empire that lasted for over 600 years. The Ottomans made significant contributions to art, literature, and architecture, including the famous Blue Mosque in Istanbul.


In conclusion, Turkey has a rich history that spans thousands of years. From the Hittites to the Ottomans, each civilization that has called Turkey home has left its mark on Turkish culture. Today, Turkey is a vibrant and modern country with a rich cultural heritage that continues to inspire people around the world.