General chronology of archaeology in towns (main periods) Turkey has been called as a cradle of civilizations due to its important strategic location between Asia and Europe. As being at crossroads between Asia and Europe and having diversity of ecologic niches quite closely spaced in ondulated topography, the friendly Aegean Sea and Black Sea become the medium of unity. Hence, the socio-cultural, religious, technological innovations and all kinds of flow of ideas, information and people throughout history and their reflections of various Anatolian civilizations can be seen in Turkey by rich archaeological heritage dating from the Neolitic and Early Chalcolithic ages to the Islamic periods. The scientific researches revealed that Turkey is the motherland of the earliest civilizations; whereas numerous legends of antiquity are being commemorated in the context of European memory.
Istanbul, Forum of Tauri, Fragments from the Triumphal Arch
Recent archaeological surveys in Turkey have proved that important early paleolithic centres flourished in Anatolia as well as Thracian Turkey. In the Antalya region, numerous cave sites date back to the Upper Paleolithic era, c.18000 B.C.
Neolithic settlements in Anatolia at Çayönü, Çatalhöyük and Hacılar mark outstanding centers within their contemporaries. The first settlement in Troia (3000-2500 B.C.) stands as one of the oldest Bronze Age centres in Anatolia.
The city-states emerged in Anatolia around 2000 B.C. In the 14th Century, the Hittites, one of the most important states in the Near East,established political unity across Anatolia. By the end of the second millenium B.C., the great migrations started, then flow of peoples from Balkans and Caucausus once again led indigenous Anatolian urban culture to a new synthesis.
Anatolia was under the rule of Urartians in the East during 900-600 B.C.; whereas the Phrygians in the central part during 750-300 B.C. The Lycian, Lydian and Carian civilizations appeared in the western Anatolia in the same period. Meanwhile, numerous Hellenic city-states of Ionians, Aeolians and Dorians were established along the coastal strip of western Anatolia.
7th Century B.C. onwards, the Ionian cities of western Anatolia such as Miletos, Ephesos, Teos, Priene and others flourished as being emporium in seafaring activities,moreover played a leading role in arts, philosophy and scientific research.
During the Hellenistic period, antique urban culture in Anatolia developed considerably, disposing most ambitious schemes of urbanism such as Pergamon, Antiokheia ad Orontes, Ephesos. In the Roman Era (30 B.C.-395 B.C.) Anatolia became one of the most prosperous land in the world of Imperium Romanum. The style of urban life in Anatolia reached a level that was not at all less sophisticated than the one in Rome.
Byzantine art and architecture were born in Anatolia in the 4th and 5th century A.D. as a continuation and adaptation of the Hellenistic and Roman civilizations and, then reached its zenith in an imperial-world city such as Constantinople.
Around 1045 A.D., the Turkic Peoples appeared in Eastern Anatolia and later penetrated into the whole of Anatolian land within a century. A new amalgamated culture emerged; the Seljuks brought in a high level of urban life with the adapted traditions of Islamic and old Turkic cultural background. As the last epoch, the Ottomans ruled over six hundred years (1299-1923), spreading the hegemony, way of life, art and architecture throughout the three continents.
As a consequence, it can be safely stated that, there is a continous settlement pattern in Turkey from the most ancient to the recent. Most of towns in Turkey have spectacular remnants from multi-historic periods; though, single period towns are very rare.