Turkey is one of the first countries I have ever visited at the beginning of my adulthood. Since then, I keep going back there. This country with its unique position, lying partly in Asia and partly in Europe, is home to breathtaking landscapes, stunning beaches and outstanding mountains.
In Turkey, you can have sun, sea and sand, plus, snow during the winters. Turkey is well known for its delicious cuisine, nice people and its rich history. These are the facts we all know, but in this post, I am going to share some fun facts you probably didn’t know about Turkey.
1. Ankara is the capital of Turkey
The most visited city in Turkey is Istanbul and this is why this beautiful city is often mistaken as the capital. However, Istanbul, at the time Constantinople, was the capital until the Ottoman Empire collapsed. Since 1923, Ankara has been the official capital city.
2. Istanbul sits on two continents
Istanbul, the largest city in Turkey, is one of the few cities in the world that lies on two continents. One part of Istanbul lies in Europe and the other part in Asia. In general, most of Turkey is located in Asia and only 3% of the country is in Europe.
You can also read: Driving from Istanbul to Sapanga
3. Turkey introduced tulips to the world
We all know Holland is famous as the land of flowers and tulips, but the actual origin of the tulip began in Persia, then in Turkey. In the 16th century, tulips were brought to Holland from Turkey.
4. Noah’s ark landed in Turkey
It is widely believed that Mount Ararat is where Noah’s ark landed. Peak Ararat is the highest point in Turkey and is located in the east, close to the Iranian and Armenian borders.
Some explorers claim that they actually found the evidence of the ark in Ararat, while others believe they found the evidence in Iran, but they are all just claims and until now, despite many expeditions, Noah's Ark has not been found.
5. Turkey is the world's leading hazelnut producer
Turkey has been home to the hazelnut for over 2000 years. This country has more than 70% of the world's hazelnut production at 420,000 tonnes per year. This means we all had Turkish hazelnuts at some point. If you are still not sure, let me tell you that the Ferrero Group, which makes the world-famous Nutella, is Turkey’s biggest hazelnuts buyer.
6. Number 40 is a lucky number
Number 40 is a good number in some religions, and for Turkish people, this is a lucky number. They say that if you repeat anything 40 times, it will come true.
The origin of this belief comes from the fact that prophet Mohammad was 40 when he received the Quran and Jesus wandered the desert for 40 days.
7. There are more than 82,600 mosques
The majority of the population in Turkey is Muslim. There are many historic churches in the country and more than 82600 mosques. Only in Istanbul, there are more than 3000 mosques, some of which can be visited by tourists.
8. Santa Claus was born in Turkey
Although many people think Santa Claus comes from the North Pole, it is originally from Turkey. Saint Nicholas, known as Santa Claus was born and lived in the south of Turkey in the 4th century.
It is believed that his bones were brought to Italy. but you can still visit his church, St Nicholas Church, in Turkey.
9. Turkish breakfast is very important
Food is an important part of Turkish culture, and Turkey is heaven for food lovers. When you are in Turkey I recommend you to begin your day with the most important meal of the day: breakfast. Typical Turkish breakfast is usually served until as late as 1:00 pm. The full Turkish breakfast usually contains different types of cheese, olives, jam, butter, bread and eggs.
10. Turkish people throw water after a farewell
When you say farewell to your Turkish friends, they might throw a bucket of water after you. This means they wish you a happy return. Throwing water after someone leaves, especially for a trip, is very common, not only in Turkey but in Iran as well. This tradition dates back to when travel was not common.
11. The elderly should go first
Turkish people treat the elderly with a lot of respect. When they enter the room, the oldest always goes first. On some occasions, you might see younger people kiss the right hand of elderlies and raise their hand to their forehead.
12. Turkey has the highest tea consumption in the world
Drinking tea is an important part of Turkish culture and Turkey has the highest tea consumption per capita in the world. Each Turk drinks between 3 to 4 cups of tea every day. This number goes up during the winter and tea houses are a usual place to socialise.
13. 30 languages are spoken in Turkey
Turkish is the official language in the country, but since Turkey is an ethnically diverse country, there are more than 30 other ethnic languages. The most common ethnic languages spoken in Turkey are: Kurmanji, Arabic, Zazaki, Laz and Armenian.
14. The sixth most visited country in the world
Turley is one of the most popular destinations amongst international travellers. This country has it all, stunning beaches, beautiful landscapes, historic sites and great food. In 2019, before the pandemic, 45.1 million foreign visitors travelled to Turkey.
Let me know in the comments if you have been to Turkey before and what you liked about this country the most.