Since long Turkey has captivated the interest of travelers all across the world. It has rich history, ancient monuments, delightful cuisines, and destinations where you would like to go again and again. With influences from both Asia and Europe, Turkey is the melting pot of cultures. Statistically Turkey is also one of the countries that receive some of the largest number of tourists. People that visit here, fall in love with Turkey and get an experience of a lifetime.
If you haven’t been to Turkey then it should be on your list, and if you are planning to visit this beautiful destination, then we have some most interesting facts about the country. We bet that you wouldn’t have known them before reading this blog. Get to know the interesting side of Turkey.
1 – Jelly Beans are loved by kids, but did you know that they originated in Turkey. The jelly which is an integral part of jelly beans are originally a Turkish delight which was created by a Turkish confectioner back in 1777. The history dates back to the Haci Bekir the old Turkish delight shop. The Jelly however reached America in the late 19th century. One of the American confectioners had a bright idea of sugar coating the jelly pieces to make it dirt free and easier to carry.
2 – Turkey also boasts to be the highest consumer of tea per capita. Tea is such a popular beverage in Turkey that around 96% of the Turkish population drinks at least 1 cup of tea per day. It is estimated that per person consumption of tea by Turkish people is 3 kilograms per year.
3 – Turkey is also home to one of the largest and oldest covered shopping malls in the world. The Grand Bazaar of Istanbul draws more than 91 million visitors per year into the market. The Turkish name of the Gran Bazaar is Kapali Carsi, and its establishment dates back to 1455. The Grand Bazaar of Istanbul is spread across 61 streets and has more than 3000 shops.
4 – Santa Claus was apparently born in Turkey. Saint Nicholas was born to wealthy parents. He was a Christian saint and Greek bishop. After the death of his parents he was left after with loads of wealth that he distributed amongst the poor. As per the stories he would drop bags full of gold coins through the chimneys and give fruits to children. His acts of giving spread across Europe and they started blending these stories with their myths. Even the name Santa Claus comes from the Dutch word Sinter Klaas, which means Saint Nicholas.
5 – The first ever Christian church is located in Turkey. The Grotto of St Peter church which is outside Antioch, was built by the discipline of Jesus Christ named Simon Peter. This church is the oldest of Christian worship place and still can be visited.
6 – The most popular and most visited tourist attraction of Turkey is Hagia Sophia. It was built as a Christian church, but later was converted into a Mosque, which later on got converted into a Museum, and then again back into the Mosque. You must have seen this ancient monument in the postcards from Turkey.
7 – It was Turkey that introduced Coffee in Europe during the 16th century. The credit for this goes to the Ottoman Empire. The history of first coffee house dates back to 1555 which was opened in Istanbul during the reign of Suleiman. The tradition of preparing coffee in small copper pots has been prevalent since those days.
8 – We all have enjoyed the soft, scrumptious, and delicious Kebabs at one point of time or the other, but you would be surprised to know that it is Turkey which is the birthplace of Kebabs. Globally everyone knows that Turkey is popular for its Doner Kebabs, but the other ones also originated from here.
9 – Turkey is the fourth most visited country in the world. It records more than 40 Million visitors every year. The Mediterranean climate of the country attracts tourists across the world. The culture and cuisines of the country are what people like to experience in its native place.
10 – If you thought that wine making was only a thing of Europe and Western Countries, then you would be surprised to know that wine making is a serious business in Turkey. In fact Turkey is the fourth largest producer of wine grapes in the world. Turkey was also one of the first countries in the world to indulge in wine making. When visiting Turkey you must visit their popular vineyards.
11 – Istanbul or the old Constantinople was built on seven hills. It is built just like Rome was built on seven hills. This move was done strategically to announce the world of Istanbul being the new Rome, the seat of power and influence. The seven hills on which it is built have their own historical importance, and are adorned with beautiful palaces and mosques.
12 – Netherlands owes to Turkey for their Tulips. The origin of Tulip cultivation dates back to Ottoman Empire. In 16th century the Dutch ambassador to court of King Suleiman returned back to Netherlands, with tulip bulbs, and rest is history. Turkey even celebrates its national flower in a week long festival that happens in month April every year.
13 – We all have drunk Hazelnut coffee least once or twice in our lives. But did you know that Turkey is the biggest producer of Hazelnut. Nearly 80% of world’s entire produce of Hazelnut comes from Turkey. It is one of the major exports that Turkey in indulged in. The cultivation of hazelnut in Turkey is primarily spread across the coastal region surrounding Black Sea. The hazelnut is also one of the key ingredients that is used in making of Turkish Baklava.
14 – The national sport of Turkey is Oil wrestling. In this sport the wrestlers will smudge their entire body in olive oil before starting the game. In local language it is called as Kirkpinar. In June there is also a festival of Oil Wrestling held in Turkey in the memory of Turkish bravery in Rumelian War.
15 – There are more than 70 languages that are spoken in Turkey. The primary language which is spoken is Turkish which is used by more than 90% of the population. The other main languages that have a share in Turkey are Kurdish, Caucasian, Arabic, Armenian and many others.
16 – Majority of the population of Turkey is Muslim, and that is the reason why Turkey is also home to more than 80,000 mosques. Yes that is a huge number, and serves as a potential spot for tourists coming here to see the heritage of this country. One of the most popular mosques of Turkey is Blue Mosque which is known for its architecture, and intricate design.
17 – The Evil eye is the most popular accessory that is bought in Turkey. Travelers buy it as a souvenir, and locals buy it as a part of tradition. It is known by the name of Nazar boncuğu in Turkey, and is made from molten glass, iron and copper. As pre the 3000 year old tradition, this evil eye is worn to protect from evil forces and ward off the negative energy.
18 – Tünel funicular of Turkey is the oldest operational tunnel in continental Europe. It was opened in 1875, and connects the district of Karakoy and Beyoglu. The only one that beats this tunnel in terms of age is the London Underground, which got opened in 1863.
19 – It might be surprising to know but Turkey is an agriculturally self sufficient country. It produces enough for its own demand, and also produces enough for export. Agriculture is one of the primary sectors in Turley. Over half of the country’s land is used for agricultural purpose. It is also believed that agriculture originated in Turkey over 11000 years ago, which is very interesting fact about the country.
20 – Noah’s ark is believed to have landed in Turkey, as per some scientists and scholars. As per biblical scriptures, during the massive flooding on earth, Noah landed the ark on Mount Ararat, which is more than 5000 feet tall. The mountain and its surrounding regions are rich in flora and fauna, and also wildlife which attracts many travelers.
21 – Not just the first Christian church but Turkey is also believed to be the home of first temple in the world. It is named as Göbekli Tepe and as per the archeologist some stones that were used to build the temple have been carbon dated to reveal that they are some 12,000 years old stones.
22 – As per the traditional customs of Turkish people salting is used on new born babies. The new born babies are coated with layers of salt on their entire body, to make them immune to infections and keep them away from catching any diseases.
23 – Grey Wolf is the national animal of Turkey and holds a great importance in the Turkish culture. It is a symbol of war, and spirit of freedom. As per the beliefs of Turkish people whenever there would be threat to Turkey, wolf will emerge and provide guidance to the people.
24 – During the early times of Christianity many Christians hid in the underground caves and cities of Cappadocia while fleeing away the Roman Empire. These caves that also houses early churches are a must visit place when in Turkey. In present days the region of Cappadocia is popular for hot air balloon rides and you must visit this place in order to experience the thrills and history.
25 – You might have seen Camels in Turkey, but they are not native to the country. Turkey has no desert and hence the camels are not native. However back in times, camel trains have crossed Turkey as a part of the trade between Africa and Asia. Camel Wrestling is also a popular sport in the Aegean region of Turkey, and is admired with lots of enthusiasm.
26 – Turkish people also have a unique way of bidding goodbye to people. When Turkish people leave, a bucket of water is thrown at them, in order to express goodbye. This might be a little inconvenient, but it is believed by Turkish people to do so to for wishing that person returns back soon.
27 – It is a tradition in Turkey to serve sweets at all major events of the life including at the birth of an infant or the death of a person. When a baby is born, it receives lots of sweets and people share happiness by eating sweets. Also when a person dies the same tradition is followed at the funeral.
28 – In 1473, Leonardo Da Vinci was approached to design and build a bridge over the golden horn, the waterway which divides Constantinople and the modern day Turkey. As per the requirement the bridge had to be strong enough to be able to bear the weight two horse carriages that could cross it side by side, and the bridge should not cause blockage to the shipping traffic. Vinci never got the chance to build the bridge, and the Galata Bridge that was later made was by Tullio de Sanlian in 1494.
29 – We have read in this blog before that Turkey is one of the most visited countries in the world, so we know that lot of international tourists come here. But you would be surprised to know that Istanbul Airport is connected to more than 250 international destinations. The geographical location of the country makes it feasible to fly almost anywhere in this world.
Turkey, is where you should be!