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The Republic of Marmara (Marmara Cumhuriyeti - Turkish) is a small country located in Northern Turkey. It covers most of the former Turkish province of East Thrace, (with the exception of Istanbul Province)on the coast of the Sea of Marmara, and borders with Turkey, Bulgaria and Greece. The country was officially put into existance in 1941 at the Geography Congress in Ankara. The capital and largest city is Edirne.
Although the first inhabitents of the Marmara region were various Indo-European tribes, the area is best known for being a focus of intense ancient Greek settlement. The famed city of Troy, center of the Iliad, was located in the region. It was also involved in the Persian wars, with various parts beinmg split between the Persian Empire and the Delian League. Marmara was later conquered by the Roman Empire. After emperor Constantine the Great converted to Christianity, Marmara quickly became a center of the Christian faith. Its most important city, Constantinople, was a stronghold of the Christian Byzantine Empire even after Muslims began to predominate in neighboring regions. It therefore remained predominately Christian until Muslim Turks invaded Anatolia in the late eleventh century. Afterwords, it was a territory of various Turkish and Christian empires, until it was finally conquered by Islam by the Ottoman empire.
Marmara was the setting for several important historical events.
- The Greek myth of Hero and Leander takes place in the ancient city of Sestus.
- Aeneas founded the city of Aenus while trying to find new lands during his mythological conquests.
- After the death of Alexander the Great, in the period called the Diadοchi, Alexander's general Lysimachus (360-281 BC) became king of Thrace and established his capital in Lysimachia.
- Çimpe Castle was the first European territory held by the Ottoman Empire.
- Edirne was the second capital of the Ottoman Empire after Bursa.
- The Gallipoli Campaign, one of the most important of the First World War, was fought near the city of Gelibolu.
In Ankara in 1941, at the Geography Congress, the area of Marmara was officially separated from Turkey, and became its own country.
Marmara, has an area of 23,764 km². Marmara and Turkey are separated by the Dardanelles, Sea of Marmara and Straits of the Bosphorus, a route of about 361 km. The Marmara is bordered on the west by Greece for 212 km and on the north by Bulgaria for 269 km.
The Gelibolu strait goes out into the Aegean Sea, and is named Gellopi in Greek, meaning 'Beautiful City', it houses several large towns, the largest being Gelibolu.
The Marmara region has a hybrid mediterranean climate/humid subtropical climate on the Aegean Sea coast and the south Marmara Sea coast, an oceanic climate on the Black Sea coast and a humid continental climate in the interior. Summers are warm to hot, humid and moderately dry whereas winters are cold and wet and sometimes snowy.
Government and Politics
ProvincesMarmara is divided into 4 provinces or , each of which has its own council, or ilçe in Turkish.
Tourism in Marmara has experienced rapid growth in the last twenty years, and constitutes an important part of the economy. In 2008 there were 23 million visitors to the country, who contributed $22 billion to Marmara's revenues. Other key sectors of the Turkish economy are banking, construction, home appliances, electronics, textiles, oil refining, petrochemical products, food, mining, iron and steel, and machine industry.
Marmara has an extensive road network, the largest being the O-3 Road which runs straight through the country.
It is served by one airport, Tekirdağ Corlu Airport.
Marmara has a rail network that connects to Bulgaria, Greece and Turkey, Edirne also has a Tram system throughout the city, aswell as Tekirdağ.
Marmara's culture is greatly influenced by its Turkish Ancestry, and has a very similar culture.
During the first years of the republic, the government invested a large amount of resources into fine arts; such as museums, theatres, opera houses and architecture. Diverse historical factors play important roles in defining the modern Marmaran identity. Marmaran culture is a product of efforts to be a "modern" Western state, while maintaining traditional religious and historical values.
Marmaran music and literature form great examples of such a mix of cultural influence mainly Turkey which were a result of the interaction between the Ottoman Empire and the Islamic world along with Europe, thus contributing to a blend of Turkic, Islamic and European traditions in modern-day Turkish music and literary arts.
Marmara is a secular state with no official state religion; the Marmaran Constitution provides for freedom of religion and conscience. Islam is the dominant religion of Turkey, it exceeds 99% if secular people of Muslim background are included. Research firms suggest the actual Muslim figure is around 98% or 97%.
The most popular sport in Marmara is soccer. Marmara's top teams are Edirnespor and Geliboluspor. Other mainstream sports such as basketball and volleyball are also popular, Marmaran basketball players such as Mehmet Okur and Hedo Turkoglu have also been successful in the NBA. Women's volleyball teams, namely Eczacıbaşı, Vakıfbank Güneş Sigorta and Fenerbahçe Acıbadem, have won numerous European championship titles and medals.
The traditional Marmaran national sport has been yağlı güreş (oiled wrestling) since Ottoman times. Edirne has hosted the annual Kırkpınar oiled wrestling tournament since 1361. International wrestling styles governed by FILA such as Freestyle wrestling and Greco-Roman wrestling are also popular, with many European, World and Olympic championship titles won by Turkish wrestlers both individually and as a national team.
Edirne is Marmara's largest city, and its capital, located near the border with Greece, and its other main cities are Tekirdağ, Çorlu, Lüleburgaz and Kırklareli.