One of the great crossroads of ancient civilizations is a broad peninsula that lies between the Black Sea and the Mediterranean Sea. Called Asia Minor (Lesser Asia) by the Romans, the land is the Asian part of modern Turkey, across Thrace. It lies across the Aegean Sea to the east of Greece and is usually known by its ancient name Anatolia.
Asia Minor juts westward from Asia to within 800 meters (half a mile) of Europe at the city of Istanbul, where three suspension bridges over the strait of Bosphorus link the two continents. Asia Minor is also bordered by the Sea of Marmara on the northwest. The area of the peninsula is about 756,000 square kilometers (292,000 square miles).
The interior is a high arid plateau, about 900 meters (3,000 feet) in elevation, flanked to the north and south by rugged mountain ranges. Within the plateau a number of ranges enclose broad, flat valleys, where several lakes have formed.
A Mediterranean-type climate of hot, dry summers and mild, moist winters prevails in the coastal areas. The dry central plateau has hot summers and cold winters. During all seasons high winds are common; moist Mediterranean winds bring rain to the coastal regions in the winter. There is little rainfall in the summer.
In about 2.000 BC Asia Minor was in the hands of the Hittites, who migrated from the area east of the Black Sea. Their civilization rivaled that of the Egyptians and Babylonians. In the 12th century BC their empire fell to the Assyrians. Small seaboard states grew up, only to fall to the Greeks, who colonized the entire Aegean coast in about the 8th century BC. According to the legend, they first laid siege to the city-state of Troy during the Trojan War. In 560 BC Croesus mounted the throne of Lydia in Asia Minor and soon brought all the Greek colonies under his rule. King Croesus was overthrown by Cyrus the Great of Persia. Two hundred years later Alexander the Great again spread Greek rule over the peninsula.
After its conquest by Rome in the 2nd century BC, Asia Minor enjoyed centuries of peace under the Roman rule. During the Middle Ages, as a part of the Byzantine Empire, it became a center of Christianity and the guardian of Greek and Roman culture. One of the chief medieval trade routes passed through the region. As the power of the Empire declined, Arabs and Mongols invaded. In the 15th century the Ottoman Turks conquered the peninsula and made Istanbul (then known as Constantinople) their capital. The Ottoman Empire lasted until 1922. The next year Asia Minor became the larger part of the Turkish Republic under the leadership of Kemal Atatürk. He had set up a government in Ankara, which became the new capital of Turkey.
|Historic Ages of Anatolia|
|Paleolithic Age (Early Stone Age)||60,000 - 10,000 BC|
|Mesolithic Age (Mid Stone Age)||10,000 - 8,500 BC|
|Neolithic Age (Late Stone Age)||8,500 - 5,000 BC|
|Chalcolithic Age (Copper Age)||5,000 - 3,000 BC|
|Bronze Age||3,000 - 2,000 BC|
|Hatti and Hurrian Civilization||2,500 - 2,000 BC|
|Troy - II Settlement||2,500 - 2,000 BC|
|Hatti and Hittite Principalities Period||2,000 - 1,750 BC|
Great Hittite Kingdom
|1,750 - 1,200 BC|
|Troy - VI Civilization||1,800 - 1,275 BC|
|Aegean Migration and Invasion From Balkans||1,200 BC|
|The Anatolian Principalities during the Iron Age||1,200 - 700 BC|
|Urartu Civilization||900 - 600 BC|
|The Civilization of Phrygia||750 - 300 BC|
|Lydia, Caria and Lycia Civilizations||700 - 300 BC|
|Ionian Civilization||1,050 - 300 BC|
|Persian Conquest||545 - 333 BC|
|Hellenistic And Roman Age||333 BC - 395 AD|
|Byzantine Civilization||330 - 1453 AD|
|Seljuk Civilization||1071 - 1300 AD|
|Ottomans||1299 - 1923 AD|
|The Turkish Republic||1923 - present|