50 Amazing and Interesting Facts about Turkey (Part II) | Amazing Facts 4U
People Customs & Culture
- The Turkish baths, or hammam, was an export of the Roman Empire to Turkey in the 7th century, derived in part from Greek, Roman, and Byzantine bathing, or purification, traditions. Turkish bath attendants are called tellaks, or scrubbers.
- The Ottoman Empire was known for the amazing calligraphy.
- Turkish Delight, or lokum, is one of the oldest sweets in world history, dating back 500 years. Napoleon and Winston Churchill were particularly fond of it and Picasso used to consume it daily while painting.
- The word “turquoise” comes from turc, meaning “Turkish,” and was derived from the beautiful color of the Mediterranean Sea on the southern Turkish coast.
- Once a loved symbol of nationality and a special badge of the Turks, the Fez (Type of cap) which was worn by men and women, even if not a Muslim is hardly seen these days. The Fez was banned in 1925.
- Amazingly in spite of most of the Turkish population being Muslim, Turkey is not officially a Muslim country. Turkey has officially been a secular nation since 1927.
- Turks are very patriotic and you can hardly hear them talking badly about their country. Turkish flag is placed everywhere throughout the country.
- Family is a number one priority in Turkey with members supporting each other unconditionally. It is common to have family members and friends to overnight as guests few times a week.
- Turkish public buildings commonly have a black arrow placed on their ceilings. It shows the direction of Mecca, which is considered to be the holiest place on Earth for Muslims.
- Turkey has the third highest number of Facebook users in the world, with 14 million users, after the U.S. and U.K.
- One way of protecting a newborn baby in Turkey is by “salting,” which is a custom where the baby’s body is rubbed all over with salt in the belief that will give the child strength to resist harmful influences.
- The Turkish alphabet is phonetic, so words are pronounced in the same way they are read.
- There are no separate words for “he, she or it.” One word used for all.
- A stranger who appears at one’s doorstep is considered God’s guest for at least three days.
- The Turks answer their phones with ‘My Master?’ instead of Hello.
- Ice cream street vendors also perform circus-clown performances to attract customers.
- Turkey eats more chicken and red meat than anywhere else in Europe, but the least amount of seafood, despite two thirds of its border being coastline
- Soup is an essential part of Turkish cuisine. They have it before every meal.
- Turks love their tea, and Turkey has the highest per-capita consumption in the world. Most Turks drink 10 or more cups of tea per day.96% of the population drinks tea every day. Turkey also ranks in the top 5 tea producers in the world. Tea in Turkey is called çay (pronounced “chai”).
Flora & Fauna
- The cherry tree was first introduced to Rome, and then to Europe, from Giresun in northern Turkey in 69 B.C. It is thought to be one of the earliest domesticated plants, around 10,000 years ago.
- Turkey is one of the world’s biodiversity hotspots. While the entire continent of Europe has 13,000 plant species, Turkey alone has 10,000 plant species with a new plant species discovered every 10 days.
- There are 11,500 species of flowers in Europe and Turkey alone has 9,000 species.
- Turkey is the richest country in Europe in terms of the variety of bird species. The number of animal species in Turkey alone number over 80,000 and to over 100,000 including sub-species. Europe has only around 60,000.
- Turkey is also home to 5 unique mammal species, 13 reptile species, and 52 freshwater fish species not found anywhere else on Earth.
- Turkeys, the birds, got their name after Turkey, the country! The turkey bird is called hindi in the country of Turkey because they believe it originated in India.
- Historians believe agriculture began in Turkey some 11,000 years ago. At sites like Çatalhöyük, in south-central Turkey, there’s evidence that the residents added crops like wheat and barley to their diet.
- İztuzu Beach, just west of Fethiye, is a major breeding ground for the endangered loggerhead sea turtle which arrive between May and October, climbing ashore at the exact site of their birth to lay a new generation of eggs. The beach sees around 300 nests dug each year.
- Despite the appearance of camels at holiday resorts, Turkey has no desert and there are no native camels.
- Turkey has been producing wine since 4000 B.C.
- Turks introduced coffee to Europe, during the Ottoman raids into Central and Eastern Europe in the 16th century.
- Tulips were introduced to Europe through Dutch traders by the Turks in the 17th century.
- Goltepe located 60 miles south of Tarsus has the oldest tin mine in the World.
- Turkey really is the center of the world. From Istanbul Atatürk Airport, the flag carrier Turkish Airlines serves to more than 260 destinations. Turkish airline has often won the Best Airline in Europe award.
- Turkey is the 6th most popular tourist destination in the world and had 35 million foreign visitors per year.
- Turkey is the largest grower of hazelnuts in the world responsible for 80% of the world’s hazelnut exports.
- Turkey is the world’s 4th largest producer of tomatoes growing more than 11 million metric tons of tomatoes per year.
- About 25% of the roses grown in the world come from Turkey.
- Turkey has a strong manufacturing sector, it makes and exports cars, planes, electronics, clothing and textiles.
- The currency used in the country is called the Turkish Lira.
- Turkish tavla, or backgammon, is one of the most ancient of all board games, dating back to 3000 B.C.
- Turkey is home to the world’s oldest sporting event, grease wrestling, which is also its national sport. Wrestlers cover themselves with olive oil and attempt to either pin their opponents on the ground or lift them up and walk three steps. The first grease wrestling game was hosted in 1362. In the past, these matches could last days, but there is now a time limit of 40 minutes. Held during the summer months, wrestlers are not allowed to stop for breaks or even drink water.
- Camel wrestling is a popular sport in Turkey, and they will only wrestle during mating season, which lasts from November to March. A female camel is paraded around in front of two males to provoke them.
- One of the most beloved Turkish athletes is retired weight lifter Naim Süleymanoğlu, also called Pocket Hercules because he stands only 4 feet 11 inches (1.5 m) tall. He won Olympic Gold Medals in 1988, 1992, and 1996.
- The most popular sport in Turkey is football, the Turkish national team came third in the 2002 World Cup Finals.
- Basketball and volleyball are also popular sports in Turkey.
- Nearly a dozen resort offer ski run. Palandöken, in the eastern province of Erzurum, is Turkey’s highest at 10,200 feet (3,125 meters) and claims Europe’s longest natural ski run.
- One of the first and most precise world’s maps was made by famous Turkish cartographer Piri Reis in the 16th century.
- The Turks invented parchment, paper made out of calfskin when the Egyptians stopped exporting papyrus to Pergamum, Turkey, because they were afraid that Pergamum’s library would become larger than the library at Alexandria, the world’s largest at the time.
- Hezârfen Ahmet Çelebi was the first man to fly a significant distance, using artificial wings to fly across the Bosporus Straits in the 17th century, thus making the world’s first intercontinental flight 270 years before the Wright Brothers.
- Turkey is the birthplace of such historical figures as Aesop; Homer; St. Paul; King Midas; Galen, noted physician, surgeon, medical researcher, and philosopher in the Roman Empire; and Herodotus, the father of history.
By Amazing Facts 4U Team