50 Amazing and Interesting Facts about Turkey (Part I) | Amazing Facts 4U
Land & Geography
- The name of the country Turkey may come from Turchia, which is the word Italian observers used to refer to Anatolia, Turkey’s Asian portion as early as the 12th century. The name was officially used in 1923. The official name of Turkey is the Republic of Turkey.
- Turkey is a peninsula that serves as a bridge between Asia and Europe. The country is surrounded by the Aegean Sea, Mediterranean Sea and Black Sea.
- In fact, there are eight countries that share a border with Turkey including Armenia, Azerbaijan, Iran, Iraq, Syria, Bulgaria, Greece, and Georgia.
- Turkey has a population of about 80 million, land area being 783,562 km².
- Istanbul is the largest city in Turkey and is the third most populous urban area in Europe. Ankara is in fact the capital of Turkey since 1923.
- Turkey is home to spectacular mountain ranges and more than 130 peaks exceed 9800 Ft (3000 m). The highest point in Turkey is Mount Ararat 5137 m (16,854 ft).
- Lake Van is the largest lake in Turkey.
- Turkey has 82,693 mosques, the most of which are in the country’s largest city, Istanbul.
- Turkey has had more than 25 major earthquakes, measuring up to 7.8 on the Richter scale, since 1939.
- One of the world’s earliest civilizations, the Hittites, flourished in Turkey around 1600 B.C. They were among the first people to work iron and use a system of writing.
- The first coins in world history were made of electrum and used by Lydian King Alyattes in Sardis, in the Aegean region of Turkey, in 640 B.C.
- Julius Caesar pronounced his famous words, “Veni, Vidi, Vici” (“I came, I saw, I conquered”) in Turkey when he defeated Pontus, a kingdom of the Black Sea region of Turkey.
- A part of southeastern Turkey coast was a wedding gift of Marcus Antonius to Cleopatra.
- Turkey is the site of the world’s first beauty pageant, with Paris of Troy as judge and Athena, Hera, and Aphrodite as contestants. Paris chose Aphrodite, who promised him the most beautiful woman in the world, Helen, who was already married which led to the Trojan War.
- Virgin Mary spent her last days in Selcuk in Izmir, near antic city of Ephesus. That is why the first church dedicated to Virgin Mary is in Ephesus.
- Santa Claus, also known as St. Nicholas, was born in Patara, Turkey, in the 3rd century A.D.
- For more than 2000 years Istanbul was capital of three empires: Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman.
- The first Christian church to be built by man, the Cave Church, or Grotto, of St. Peterwas built between A.D. 1098 and 1268 in Antioch, Turkey.
- The word “harem” comes from the Arabic for “forbidden” and refers to the private rooms where the sultan’s wives and concubines lived with their children. During the reign of Ottoman Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent, there were 1,000 women living in 250 rooms of the harem at Topkapi Palace.
- In 1503, Leonardo da Vinci submitted plans to build a bridge across the Bosporus Straits. It was not built until almost 500 years later in 2001 and named the Galata Bridge.
- The first recorded international treaty in the world was the Treaty of Kadesh between the Hittite and Egyptian Empires, Hattusilis III and Ramses II, in 1275 BC.
- 623 years of Ottoman rule was abolished and the newly formed “Republic of Turkey” was officially proclaimed on 29 October 1923 in Ankara. Mustafa Kemal became the republic’s first President.He is a founder of the modern Turkish state. Amazingly he was born in 1881 in the Greek city of Saloniki.
- When Mustafa Kemal Ataturk rose to power, he lifted the ban on alcohol, adopted the Gregorian calendar instead of the Islamic, made Sunday a day of rest instead of Friday, changed the Turkish alphabet from Arabic letters to Roman, and mandated that the call to prayer be in Turkish rather than Arabic.
- Turkey has had equality for women going back a millennium to the Hittite civilization, and it gave women the right to vote before most European countries and the United States (1930 for local elections, 1934 for national elections).
- Most Turks did not have surnames until a law was passed requiring it in 1934.
- More journalists are imprisoned in Turkey than any other country in the world.
- Military service is compulsory for every fit male Turkish citizen without exception.
- Wearing a headscarf is forbidden in public buildings.
Places / Architecture
- Turkey is home to over ten World Heritage Sites. Two of the Seven Wonders of the ancient world are in Turkey: Temple of Artemis at Ephesus and Mausoleum at Halicarnassus. There are at least 150 archaeological digs going on in Turkey each year.
- The legendary city of Troy of the Trojan horse, Achilles, and Paris and Helen is located on the Aegean coast on Turkey.
- The stones found at Göbekli Tepe in Turkey in 1994 mark it as the world’s first temple and one of the most important archaeological sites ever discovered. Carbon dating shows the 45 stones may be as old as 13,000 years old which makes it the oldest site by an amazing margin.
- The oldest known shipwreck on earth was found and examined in Uluburun in the Mediterranean region of Turkey, about 6 miles Southeast of Kaş. It was dated to be at least 3,300 years old. That shipwreck could be seen now in Submarine archaeology museum in Bodrum.
- Gaziantep, Turkey, is one of the oldest continually inhabited cities in the world.
- Turkey’s population is mostly muslim but thousands of Christian pilgrims visit it every year. Spiritual leader of the world’s 300 million Orthodox, lives in Istanbul, a vestige of the Byzantine Empire. Istanbul is also home to the 1,500-year-old Hagia Sophia cathedral, now a museum. The Armenian Apostolic Church was founded 1,700 years ago in what’s today the city of Kayseri.
- Seven churches mentioned in John’s revelation are all in Turkey: Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia and Laodicea.
- Noah’s Ark is purported to have landed on Mount Ararat in Eastern Turkey. The mountain is actually a dormant volcano and the highest point in the country at 16,949 feet (5,166 m).
- The first known university in the human history is in Harran, in southeast Turkey.
- The Hagia Sofia (Turkish: Ayasofya), or Church of the Holy Wisdom, cathedral in Istanbul was the largest cathedral in the world for nearly a thousand years. Following the Ottoman conquest of Constantinople in 1453, it was turned into a mosque, and it has been a museum since 1935.
- Mimar Sinan is Turkey’s best known architect. Born in 1497, he was a Christian who became a Muslim and was eventually appointed chief of the imperial architects under Süleyman the Magnificent. He went on to design 321 buildings, 85 of which are still standing. His best known work is the Süleymaniye Mosque.
- The oldest known ceramics originate from Jordan valley and Catal Huyuk in Anatolia, Turkey.
- Patara is the longest beach on the Mediterranean (12 miles of pristine white sand dunes).
- Turkey has 82,693 mosques, more than any other country per capita in the world.
- Istanbul’s Kapalıçarşı, or Grand Bazaar, may be the world’s largest outdoor market, with 64 streets, 4,000 shops, and 25,000 workers. It also may be one of the oldest, having been built in the 15th century.
- Turkey’s Istanbul Tünel is the world’s second oldest underground railway, after the London Underground, and the oldest on the European continent. It started in 1875.
- Istanbul is the home of the Sirkeci Train Station, which was the last stop on the Orient Express, which ran between Paris and Istanbul from to 1883 to 1977. British mystery author Agatha Christie was one of the famous passengers on this famous train.
- With its huge collection of 5000 works of art exhibited in the 13 halls, its open air gallery and almost 30000 artifacts that are not exhibited, Antalya museum (Antalya, Turkey) is one of the best world class museums.
- The most valuable silk carpet in the world, with 144 knots per square centimeter, is in the Mevlâna Museum in Konya, Turkey.
- Pamukkale (“Cotton Palace”) is an attractive natural complex of unique mineral springs near Denizli city in Turkey.
- Istanbul is the world’s only city spanning two continents. Three percent is in Europe and 97% in Asia. The part that lies in Asia is called Anatolia.
- The Turkish Mediterranean resort city of Antalya holds the world record for having the highest number of “Blue Flag” certified beaches in the world, awarded for highest water quality, beach cleanliness, and highest environmental standards.
By Amazing Facts 4U Team