55 facts about Turkey

1) - Batman is a city in Turkey.

2) - Women in Turkey won voting rights in 1926 and 18 female MPs joined the Turkish Parliament in 1935.

3) - Santa Claus was born in Turkey! (He was called Saint Nicholas back then). Saint Nicholas of Myra is the primary inspiration for the Christian figure of Santa Claus. He was a 4th century Greek Christian bishop of Myra in Lycia, a province of the Byzantine Anatolia, now in Turkey. Nicholas was famous for his generous gifts to the poor.

4) - The oldest known human-made religious structure is in Turkey and is called Göbekli Tepe, literally meaning "belly hill"

5) - Sabiha Gökçen was the world's first female fighter pilot and the first Turkish female combat pilot.

6) - The Turkish Constitution defines a "Turk" as "anyone who is bound to the Turkish state through the bond of citizenship".

7) - Military service is compulsory for every fit male Turkish citizen. Turkey doesn't recognize conscientious objection and offers no civilian alternative.

8) - Turkey has 8 neighbors: Bulgaria, Greece, Georgia, Armenia, Iran, Azerbaijan, Iraq and Syria.  Phew!

9) - Turkey was home to many now extinct languages, including the Hittite language - the earliest Indo-European language for which written evidence exists.

10) - The Turkish Republic was officially proclaimed on 29 October 1923 with Atatürk as its founder and president.

11) – Atatürk means "Father of the Turks", a surname granted to him in 1934 and is highly respected throughout Turkey

12) - A "simit" is a bagel-like ring covered with sesame seeds and sold everywhere in the streets of Turkey.

13) - Although Turkish is the official language, there are dozens of minority languages in Turkey.

14) - In Turkish, you don't address your elders by their name, but use respectful epithets instead, for example abi (brother) abla (sister) 

15) - If you visit Istanbul, you must eat a special ice cream cup called Kup Griye at Baylan: Founded in 1923, Baylan is exactly as old as the Turkish republic.

16) - Santral Istanbul, a former power plant, is a contemporary culture space within the campus of Bilgi University.

17) – After London, Turkey has the second-oldest underground railway in the world – the Istanbul Tünel.

18) – Ashure is a Turkish dessert of grains, fruits and nuts served on its own day, “the day of Ashure”.

19) – Sirkeci Train Station was the last stop of the Orient Express between Paris & Istanbul from 1883 to 1977.

20) – The Turkish alphabet is missing X and Q, but makes up for it with extra letters like the dotless i: “ı”.

21) - Hezârfen Ahmed Çelebi was a legendary Ottoman aviator of 17th-century Constantinople (present day Istanbul), purported in the writings of traveler Evliya Çelebi to have achieved sustained unpowered flight.

22) - Turkey has 1650km of coast going along the Black Sea - about the same distance from Paris to Berlin.

23) - Traditional Turkish ice cream contains Salep and can be eaten with knives and fork. It is believed to originate from the city and region of Maraş and hence also known as Maraş Ice Cream.

24) - 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.

25) - There is a street in Istanbul that is literally called 'Tercüman Çıkmazı' - 'Translator's Dead End'.

26) - At 18km long, Patara plajı is the longest beach in Turkey, often used to shoot desert scenes for films.

27) - At 783,562 km2, Turkey is 3.2x larger than the UK

28) - The city of Istanbul has a population 3 times larger than Ankara, the Turkish capital city.

29) - East and South-Eastern Turkey has a far higher fertility rate than the rest of the country.

30) - Turkey is home to Mount Ararat, where Noah’s Ark supposedly came to rest.

31) – "Yeşilçam" is the Turkish Hollywood, named after a street in Istanbul where many studios are based:

32) - There are over 170 universities in Turkey.

33) – The presidential seal of Turkey has 16 stars and the main hall of the National Assembly has 16 chandeliers signifying 16 past Turkish states across history.

34) – Two of the world’s seven wonders, the Temple of Artemis and the Mausoleum of Halicarnassus, were built in Turkey.

35) – Tradition in Turkey says that a stranger at one’s doorstep is considered "God’s guest" for at least three days.

36) - Istanbul is the only city in the world built on two different continents.

37) - About 99% of the population of Turkey are registered as Muslim.

38) - Half of literature read in Turkey is in translation.

39) - "Adam" in Turkish means "man".

40) - Turkey is the birthplace of all these popular historical figures: the biblical Abraham, the poet Homer, St. Paul the Apostle, the storyteller Aesop, and the father of history, Herodotus

41) - Cherries were introduced to the world from Turkey

42) - It was in 640 BC when coins made of electrum were utilized for the first time in history, namely by King Croesus in Sardis, Turkey.

43) - The Trojan War took place in Turkey. A wooden statue of the Trojan horse sits on the site today.

44) - Tulips were introduced to the world from Turkey.

45) - A new type of plant is discovered every 10 days. Turkey’s 10,000 plant and 80,000 animal species help rank the country among the world’s 35 biodiversity hotspots. Twitches can visit more than a half-dozen bird sanctuaries for sightings of some of the country’s 475 aves, or 5% of the global variety.

46) - Turkey has one of the biggest and oldest malls. Istanbul’s Grand Bazaar, or Kapalı Çarşı, dates to 1455 and was established shortly after the Ottoman conquest of Constantinople. Over the centuries it has grown into a warren of 64 streets lined by more than 4,000 shops and currently occupies a nearly incomprehensible 333,000 square feet. You’ll never possibly be able to explore it all, but that doesn’t keep people from trying

47) -There are 13 spots in Turkey inscribed on UNESCO’s list of World Heritage Sites, and a whopping 62 on the tentative list. They range from a Mesolithic temple (Göbekli Tepe) to a Biblical city (Ephesus) to a World War One battlefield (Gallipoli), and help make Turkey the sixth most-visited tourist destination in the world.

48) - İztuzu Beach, just west of Fethiye, is a major breeding ground for the endangered loggerhead sea turtle. The turtles 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, and government regulations have succeeded in balancing tourism with the need to protect and conserve this precious natural resource.

49) - Turkey has more than 130 peaks reach over 9800 feet (3,000 meters). Don’t let the balmy coastal climate fool you. Turkey is home to spectacular mountain ranges, and wintertime visitors can hit the slopes at nearly a dozen resorts. 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.

50) -The seeds of agriculture were first sown in Turkey. Historians believe agriculture began in these lands some 11,000 years ago. At sites like Çatalhöyük, in south-central Turkey, there’s evidence that the residents of this city added crops like wheat and barley to their diet, and wild grasses genetically identical to those first domesticated grains still grow in southeastern Turkey. Even today, the country is the world’s 10th-biggest grain producer.

51) -Oil wrestling is the national sport. The spectacle of two bulky men stripped to the waist, doused with olive oil, and grappling under the hot Thracian sun is a 654-year-old sporting tradition and sight to behold. Camel wrestling tournaments, held throughout the Aegean region in the winter, and bull wrestling near the Black Sea, are also popular.

52) - Turkey is responsible for 80% of the world hazelnut exports

53) - First ever Christian church to be built by men was in Antioch, Turkey

54) - The oldest known human settlement is in Catalhoyuk, Turkey (7th Millenium B.C.)

55) -Turkey introduced coffee to Europe in the 1500’s. The ruling Ottoman Empire first introduced coffee beans to the Italian people and from there it quickly gained popularity before spreading to the other European countries.

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