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These days most Turks scoff at superstitions and have come to regard them as funny or, on the odd occasion, totally absurd. For newcomers to the country though, they give a perfect insight into rural and urban beliefs from days gone by.

Turkey has hundreds of age-old superstitions, and in most cases, the origin is hard to trace. The beliefs also vary from region to region. So, do Turks believe and practise them?

While there are some common traditions including tea, the love of food, and daily greetings, regional customs and traditions vary greatly and learning about them is a terrific way of seeing Turkey beyond the pages of a travel book.

Any first-time visitor who wants to learn more about Turkey is in for a pleasant surprise. From people to places, a mass of quirky and unknown facts will peak your interest, and to get started our introduction will also cement any burning desire to visit the country.

Turkey's Culture and Tourism Minister, Dr. Numan Kurtulmus, declared 2018 "The Year of Troy" in support of the European Year of Cultural Heritage. It is his hope that celebrations will help promote cultural sites and encourage visitors to Turkey.

Most Turkish cities and resorts carry on as normal during Ramadan. Those that do fast normally do so with dignity - you won't know they are fasting. Drinks (including alcohol) are still served and the fabulous food Turkey is famed for still dished up in tourist resorts with a smile.

Every day, across the country, Turks drink thousands of glasses. Starting with at least two cups, alongside a traditional Turkish breakfast, in business and offices, a brew is on the boil for most of the day.

The whole city is part of the festival named the Istanbul Tulip Festival (Istanbul Lale Festivali) and all the different municipalities take part planting tulips just about anywhere there is space - roundabouts, avenues, and of course parks where literally millions of tulips are planted per annum.

Despite the vast number of restoration projects already undertaken, many more are still ongoing and receive more attention than others because of their iconic status and popularity.

The city of Mardin is memorable for tourists, yet ironically still unknown to many who live in Turkey. Its stunning architecture draws you to explore the meandering lanes and stone houses which unwind down the hillside.

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