Interesting facts about Turkey

  1. The famous Trojan Wars took place in Western Turkey, around the site where the Trojan horse rests today.
  2. The first church built by man (St. Peter’s Church) is in Antioch (Antakya), Turkey.
  3. The oldest known human settlements are in Gobeklitepe (10th Millenium BC) and Catalhoyuk (7th Millenium BC), Turkey.
  4. Ephesus and Halicarnasus are the two of the Seven Wonders of the ancient world), in Turkey.
  5. St. Nicholas, also known as Santa Claus, was born in Patara and became the bishop of Demre, on Turkey’s Mediterranean Coast.
  6. Noah’s Ark landed on Mount Ararat (Agri Dagi) in Eastern Turkey.
  7. The last meal on Noah’s Ark, a pudding of sweet and  sour taste (asure), is still served throughout Turkey.
  8. Turks introduced coffee to Europe.
  9. Turks gave the Dutch their famous tulips.
  10. Istanbul is the only city in the world built on two continents.
  11. Istanbul was chosen by the European Union as the European Capital of Culture in 2010.
  12. There are three suspension bridges on the Bosphorus and two underwater tunnels, connecting the traffic between two continents.
  13. Tradition in Turkey says that a stranger at one’s doorstep is considered "God’s guest" for at least three days.
  14. Turkey is noted for having one of the three most famous and distinctive traditional cuisines in the world.
  15. The First Ecumenical Council was held in Iznik, western Turkey.
  16. Writing was first used by people in ancient Anatolia. The first clay tablets in the ruins of Assyrian Karum (Merchant Colony) date back to 1950 BC.
  17. The oldest tin mine was found in Göltepe, 96 kilometers (60 miles) south of Tarsus.
  18. The first Neolithic paintings found on man-made walls are in Catalhöyük, central Turkey.
  19. Anatolia is the birthplace of historic legends, such as Homer (the poet), King Midas, Herodotus (the father of history), and St. Paul the Apostle.
  20. Julius Caesar proclaimed his celebrated words, "Veni, Vidi, Vici" (I came, I saw, I conquered) in Turkey when he defeated the Pontus, a formidable kingdom in the Black Sea region.
  21. Female goddesses like Cybele dominated the Central Anatolian pantheon for thousands of years before these supernatural powers were transformed to male gods.
  22. The Hittites sold Abraham the cave where he buried his wife Sarah, when the Israelites came to Palestine.
  23. The first church dedicated to Virgin Mary is in Ephesus.
  24. Cherry was first introduced to Europe from Giresun, Northern Turkey.
  25. Turkey has hundreds of beaches and marinas which have the "Blue Flag" (a European award for the best clean water) on the Mediterranean and Aegean.
  26. 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 c.1275 BC.
  27. The oldest known shipwreck on Earth was found and excavated in Uluburun near Kas, in the Mediterranean region of Turkey.
  28. In 640 BC, for the first time in history, coins made of electrum were used by the Lydian king Croesus in Sardis, in the Aegean region of Turkey.
  29. King Midas with the "golden touch" lived in Gordion, capital of Phrigia.
  30. Alexander the Great cut the Gordian knot near Ankara. The double knotting technique used in Turkish rugs is also called as Gordian Knot.
  31. The Garden of Eden in the Book of Genesis was said to be watered by a river which separated into four streams as it left the garden; two of them the Tigris (Dicle) and Euphrates (Firat) rise from the mountains of Eastern Turkey.
  32. Early Christians escaping from Roman persecutions found shelter in Cappadocia.
  33. The Seven Churches of Apocalypse are all situated in the Aegean region of Anatolia. These are; Ephesus (Efes), Smyrna (Izmir), Pergamum (Bergama), Thyatira (Akhisar), Sardis (Sart), Philadelphia (Alasehir) and Laodicea.
  34. Sultan Beyazit II dispatched the Ottoman Navy to bring the Jewish people who were expelled from Spain in 1492 and they were brought safely to the Ottoman lands.
  35. Istanbul has the historical building of Sirkeci Train Station. This was the last stop of the Simplon-Orient Express - "king of trains and train of kings" - between Paris and Constantinople from 1883 to 1977. Agatha Christie was one of the passengers of this famous train.
  36. The number of species of flowers in Turkey is approximately 9,000, of which 3,000 are endemic. In Europe for instance there are 11,500 species. This shows the richness of the fauna and the flora in Anatolia.
  37. According to the figures of 2000, there are about 9,000 bird species (Aves) in the world, of which 453 are in Turkey.

Still uncertain of what to do in Turkey? Then check our bucket list for the musts when you travel to Turkey.