The culture of Turkey combines a heavily diverse and heterogeneous set of elements that have been derived from the various cultures of the Eastern Mediterranean (West Asian) region and to a lesser degree, Southeastern European, Caucasian, and Central Asian traditions. Many of these traditions were initially brought together by the Ottoman Empire, a multi-ethnic and multi-religious state. The present-day Republic of Turkey, which was declared in 1923 after the dissolution of the Ottoman Empire, is still a transcontinental country that spans Europe and Asia. During the early years of the republic, the government invested a large amount of resources into fine arts such as paintings, sculpture and architecture. This was done as both a process of modernization and of creating a cultural identity. Because of the different historical factors defining the Turkish identity, the culture of Turkey combines clear efforts of modernization and Westernization undertaken in varying degrees since the 1700s, with a simultaneous desire to maintain traditional religious and historical values.