Interesting Facts about Turkey.
Turkey is an interesting country; Other than being on two continents; Europe and Asia- there are so many fun facts about Turkey. I was inTurkey for almost 2 weeks and I loved every bit of it. Turkey is not your typical Moslem country, it is rich in history, culture, and a place where you would say East meets West. Its being in the Mediterranean region, Turkey has a variety of delicious food.
Turkey might have been in the news over the years because of its politics but there is more to it other than its controversial politics. Istanbul, the biggest city in Tukey was named European’s capital of culture in 2010 and also partially a Unesco World Heritage Centre. A visit to Turkey will guarantee you a fulfilled historical tour, architectural admiration and a lifetime of beautiful memories.
Facts about Turkey
1. Turkey is a transcontinental country straddling Western Asia and Eastern Europe connected by the Bosphorus Strait. It is bordered by Bulgaria and Greece to the North, Armenia, and Iran to the East, Iraq, and Syria to the South. There is always a discussion about whether Turkey should be classified as a European, Asian or Middle Eastern country.
2. Istanbul is the only city in the world that lies on two continents; Europe and Asia.
3. Turkey got its independence in 1923 by abolishing the monarchy rule in 1922 resulting into the establishment of the Republic of Turkey. Ataturk became the first Turkish president after leading the Turkish war of Independence with his friends. Ataturk is still a respectable person in Turkey for the role he played in rebuilding his country.
4. Even though Istanbul is the most known and largest city in Turkey, Ankara is the country’s capital city and the second largest. Ankara is historically known as Ancyra and Angora. It became the capital city of Turkey in 1923 and has since then grown to over 5 million people as of 2013 reports
5. Ataturk airport is the main international airport in Turkey located in Istanbul. It was originally known as Yesilkoy Airport but later named Ataturk in honor of the founder and first president of the Republic of Turkey. It is the biggest airport in Turkey and also the 5th busiest airport in Europe in terms of passenger traffic.
Due to high traffic and congestion at Ataturk Airport, the Turkish Airport authority decided in 2013 to construct a much bigger airport called Istanbul airport which is expected to be fully operational by 3rd March 2019. This new airport whose first phase was completed in October and inaugurated on 29th October 2018 is anticipated to be the biggest airport in the world with a capacity of 150 million passengers with 500 aircraft parking capacity- but still upgradable to 200 million in the future.
6. Turkish is the only official language in Turkey. Regardless of the existence of other minority languages like Kurmanji, Arabic, and Zazaki, Turkey’s constitution states that no other language should be referred to as a mother tongue or even taught in institutions of learning, a decision that has been criticized by the minorities and opposed both locally and internationally.
7. Turkey’s currency is the Turkish Lira. As of January 18, 2019, the exchange rate of a Turkish lira compared to a Us dollar had deteriorated to 5.34 compared to 3.76 at the same time in 2018.
1 USD ———5.34 TL (18/01/2019)
1 USD ——–3.76 TL (18/01/2018)
8. The Turkish flag is very important to the Turks- you’re likely to see it almost everywhere around the country.
9. Even though Turkey is a Muslim country, the very first church built by man is in Antioch, Antalya Turkey- known as the church of Saint Peter which was established by St. Peter himself. In addition to this oldest church in the world, there are more 235 churches in Turkey which are open for worship. Furthermore, the Eastern Orthodox church’s headquarter is in Constantinople- (now known as Istanbul.)
10. The first church dedicated to the Virgin Mary is in Ephesus. Ephesus doesn’t just have the church of Mary but its also a very important center for Christianity. Apostle Paul also lived in Ephesus for some time and it is believed that some of the letters he sent to the Corinthians were written from Ephesus. It is also believed that apostle John stayed in Ephesus for some time and that the gospel of John may have been written from there. Ephesus is one of the biggest Roman archaeological sites in the Mediterranean and has increasingly become one of the greatest tourist attractions in Turkey.
11. Two of the seven wonders of the ancient world are in Turkey.- The temple of Artemis at Ephesus and The Mausoleum of Halicarnassus in Bodrum. Besides the church of St. John, the Temple of Artemis is one of the places to visit in Ephesus. Among other seven wonders of the ancient world is The Great Pyramids of Giza in Cairo, Egypt.
12. The seven churches of Revelation also known as the Churches of Asia that John talks about in the book of Revelations in the Bible are in Turkey- Ephesus, Smyrna, Laodicea, Sardis, Philadelphia, Pergamum, and Thyatira.
13. Although there are many contradicting theories, it is believed that Noah’s ark landed in Turkey on Mount Ararat. Some scholars believe that it is impractically impossible for the ark to have landed on the peak of the mountain.
14. Turkey is a Secular country. With over 90% of people in Turkey being Muslims, you would think Turkey is officially an Islamic country but rather the opposite. Turkey has been officially a secular country since 1928 but the Islamic faith is widely taught everywhere, even in schools.
15. Turks introduced coffee to Europe. This is one of the fun facts about Tukey you might have not known. The brewing of coffee started in the Ottoman palace which later became a favorite beverage that slowly started to spread from the palace to grand mansions, from grand mansions to homes of the public and later to the streets of Istanbul. Due to frequent travelers to Istanbul, coffee spread to Europe and to the rest of the world. Coffee first reached in Venice, Italy in 1915 by the Venetian travelers who had passed through Istanbul.
16. The grand bazaar in Istanbul, Turkey is the oldest and largest covered market in the world. In 2014, the Grand Bazaar was named the number 1 most visited tourist attraction in the world with over 91 million visitors.
17. Turkey is the world’s largest producer of hazelnuts and exporter making billions of dollars from it.
18. Most Turks didn’t have surnames until 1934 when the Surname law was enacted which required all citizens to acquire surnames- and not just any surname but Turkish surnames.
19. St. Nicholas who is now known as Santa Claus was born in Patara- a land that is part of the present day Turkey.
20. Although the Tulip flower is a symbol of the Netherlands, it was originally discovered in Turkey.
21. The highest number of tourists that visit Turkey are from Russia followed by German.
22. The Blue Mosque, Hagia Sophia, Ephesus, Galata Tower, the Grand Bazaar, Pamukkale, Cappadocia are some of the major tourist attractions in Turkey.
These are some of the few fun facts about Turkey that you might have not known about. So, if you thought Turkey was a Muslim country, you now know that it is officially a secular country and that it’s Ankara which is the country’s capital city, not Istanbul.
Know of any other interesting facts about Turkey? Let me know in the comments section and I’ll add them. Don’t forget to share with your friends so they also get to know these Turkey facts.
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