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18 Interesting Facts About Turkey

Country or Place of Travel: Turkey
Region of Travel: Western Asia
Article By: Ryan Wiseman




Turkey is a unique and interesting place in which to vacation. If you're planning on traveling here, you should check out these 18 interesting facts. Perhaps you knew some of these facts, or perhaps they are new to you. The Republic of Turkey is definately one unique place!

1. The Republic of Turkey, as we know it today, only came into being in 1923, when a leader named Ataturk used his leadership abilities to form the new republic from the last remains of the former Ottoman Empire after acquiring independence for Turkey.

2. There are eight different countries, at the moment, that border the Republic of Turkey. These include: Greece and Bulgaria in Europe, Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia in the Caucuses, and Iran, Iraq, and Syria in the Middle East.

3. Coffee was most likely introduced to Europeans through Turkey, through the former Ottoman Empire at the time. The Ottomans supposedly left a bunch of coffee in Vienna when they fled for their lives after losing a battle with European powers.

4. The ancient city of Troy was actually located in what is now present-day Turkey. When the Trojan Wars took place, they took place here. You can find the remains of this once-magnificent in northwestern Turkey, on the Aegean Sea, close to the Hellespont where the Bosphorus connects the Aegean and Black Seas.

5. The 2nd oldest underground rail tunnel is in Turkey. It is in Istanbul, and goes under the Bosphorus. It was completed in 1875, 12 years before the oldest underground rail tunnel was completed in London.

6. The Dutch, and the Netherlands, are known for their tulips. They even have their famous Keukenhof Gardens. But, tulips were originally introduced to the Dutch by the Turkish people in the Ottoman Empire, given as a gift to the people in Holland.

7. The famous early Christian missionary, St. Paul, who wrote many books in the Christian New Testament, was actually born in what is now the Anatolia region of Turkey. Human civilization for this area dates back thousands of years, and it has been part of many empires, including the Assyrian, Persian, Babylonian, Greek, Roman, Byzantine, and later Ottoman Empires before becoming the Republic of Turkey.

8. Homer, the famous Greek poet that wrote the Iliad and the Odyssey, is believed to have come from this same Anatolian highland region of what is now modern-day Turkey.

9. Are you familiar with the story of St. Nicholas, whom Americans celebrate as Santa Claus? The original St. Nicholas actually came from the city of Patara, Turkey, now called Arsinoe, which is located in southwest region of the country, on the Mediterranean coast. His practice of secretly giving gifts to people in need, while he was the Bishop of Demre, has led to the modern-day tradition of Santa Claus giving gifts at Christmas time.

10. The remains of the Temple of Artemis, also known as the Temple of Diana, which was one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, is located in Ephesus. The original temple was originally built in the 7th century BC, and was destroyed and rebuilt three times before it was destroyed last in the 5th century AD. Although the foundations of this once-magnificent structure are all that remains, you can find a replica of this temple in Istanbul.

11. The Mausoleum at Halicarnassus, which was another of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, is also located in what is now Turkey. Built about 350 BC, it was originally a tomb built Mausolus, a sub-ruler in the Persian Empire, and his wife. You can find the remains of this structure in Bodrum, Turkey, on the southwest coast of Turkey.

12. Istanbul is Turkey’s largest city, and the interesting this about this city is that it is actually located on two continents. The majority of the city, the southern part, lies in what is considered Asia, whereas the northern part rests in what is considered to be Europe. These two parts of the city are separated in the middle by the Bosphorus, which is an waterway that connects the Aegean Sea in the west to the Black Sea in the North.

13. Many people think that Istanbul, formerly known as Constantinople, is the capital of the Republic of Turkey, but it isn’t. It may be the largest city in Turkey, but that capital of the nation is actually Ankara, located a few hundred kilometers away to the southeast of Istanbul in the Anatolian highlands. It has been the capital since Mustafa Kemal Ataturk founded the republic in the 1920’s.

14. The 1st plans submitted for building a bridge over the Bosphorus straits in Istanbul were originally sent by Leonardo da Vinci back in the 16th century. His plans were never acted upon, and it was centuries before a bridge was 1st built over those straights.

15. The Grand Bazaar in Istanbul is a very large marketplace where you can buy almost anything you can think of. There are 64 streets in the Grand Bazaar, over 4,000 shops, and 25,000 people that make their living by working there.

16. The first coins ever made were created by the Lydians, in what is now Turkey. People got tired of trying to barter their things with other people who didn’t need their things, and it became a hassle to try to find the goods the other person needed so that a trade could happen, but this all changed as people started to recognize precious metals as a universal commodity that could be traded for any and all things, and eliminate their hassles. When the Lydians came along and started to stamp their official seal on pieces of precious metals that were being used as this universal commodity, this is when money was born.

17. If you travel to Turkey’s Black Sea coast, you will see some extraordinarily beautiful scenery. In fact, there is over 1600 kilometers of coastline, and this is just on Turkey’s Black Sea coast. You have even more coastline on the Aegean Sea and the Mediterranean Sea.

18. If you travel to a resort in Turkey, you will many times find camels at these resorts for tourists to ride and be entertained. The fact is, though, that camels are not native to Turkey, nor are there any desert ecosystems found in Turkey. There are some semi-arid areas, but no deserts.

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