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28 Extremely Remarkable Facts About the Republic of Turkey

Renuka Savant Jul 7, 2019
The Republic of Turkey is an incredible nation with a history that is rich and turbulent in equal measure. These are some incredible and interesting facts about Turkey.

Quick Facts at a Glance

Capital: Ankara
Languages Spoken: Turkish, Kurdish, Arabic, Armenian, Greek
Major Religion: Islam
Currency: Turkish Lira
Population: 80.8 million(2017 census)
The nation of Turkey bridges the continents of Asia and Europe. Although just a small part of Turkey is considered European, its biggest city, Istanbul is located right here.
The country has been a deserving candidate for the title of 'the world's melting pot'―you'll see shards of Greece in their cuisine, a hint of India in their language, a touch of Persia in their designs, all of which amalgamate into a gorgeous fusion that is Turkish culture.
Listing facts about a nation as historically significant as Turkey can indeed go on forever. Therefore, we're giving you a basic insight into the most interesting aspects pertaining to their history, culture, and lifestyle.

Geography and History

Turkey resembles a transcontinental bridge; the one that connects Asia and Europe. 97% of landmass made up mostly of Anatolia is Asian, with the Bosphorus River separating it from the European Balkans.
Turkey is roughly of rectangular shape, bordered by: Greece to the west; Iran, Azerbaijan, and Armenia to the east; Iraq and Syria to the south; Georgia to the northeast; Bulgaria to the northwest. Mediterranean Sea is in the south, with Aegean Sea and Black Sea in the west and north respectively.
Human inhabitation in Turkey goes back to the Paleolithic age, which included the Ionian Greeks, Thracians, and the Anatolians. Alexander the Great's conquest left a distinct Greek impression on the country's culture. This was followed by centuries of Roman rule, and finally, the transformation into the Byzantine Empire.
The Ottomans rulers created a massive empire in the region since the 13th century. The Ottomans sided the Central Powers during WWI―a time which also witnessed major atrocities being committed by the Turks against Armenians (the infamous Armenian Genocide), Assyrians, and Greeks.
Mustafa Kemal Atatürk got prominence in the decade after WWI. He led the Turkish War of Independence (1919-1922) causing establishment of modern Republic of Turkey in 1923. He became the first president of Republic of Turkey.
His name, bestowed by citizens means "Father of the Turks". His leadership brought a sea change in the political, economic, cultural landscape of Turkey.
He is commemorated by several memorials throughout Turkey, including the Atatürk International Airport in Istanbul, the Atatürk Bridge over the Golden Horn (Haliç), and the Atatürk Dam. His portrait can be seen in all public buildings, educational institutions, on the local currency, and even in the homes of many Turkish families.

Historical Landmarks

Site of Trojan Wars, the ancient city of Troy is in West Turkey. It is regarded most famous archaeological site in the world, related to literary works of Homer (The Iliad) and Virgil (The Aeneid). Scientists and scholars believe that landing place of Noah's ark is in Turkey. It is determined that the specific location of landing is in Mountains of Ararat.
It is believed that first Christian church was built in Turkey. The structure is located in Antakya, and is called Saint Peter's Church. The Virgin Mary was known to have spent her last days in Ephesus, western Turkey which is home to the Basilica of St. John, thought to be the burial site of John the Apostle.
Mount Nemrut, located in southwestern Turkey is another oft-visited archaeological site, home to the mausoleum of Antiochus I (69-34 B.C.). It is considered to be a landmark construction of the Hellenistic period.
Found here is a rather unique pantheon, depicting the assimilation of Zeus with Oromasdes (the Iranian god Ahuramazda), and Heracles with Artagnes (the Iranian god Verathragna)―a fine confluence of Greek, Persian, and Anatolian aesthetics.

Urban Turkey

Many assume Istanbul to be the capital of Republic of Turkey. The honor goes to Ankara, which has been the seat of Turkish government ever since the Turkish War of Independence (1923). The Anatolian city is a bustling metropolis with historical sites, shopping arenas, along with some rather colorful nightlife.
With all the talk revolving around urban Turkey, Istanbul can't remain out of the picture for too long. Constantinople, as it was once known as, was named after the Roman emperor, Constantine. As Rome began to fall, he chose to shift the base of power to Istanbul.
A trip to the Republic of Turkey is incomplete without visiting Istanbul, one of the oldest cities in the world. Its inherent charm will leave you mesmerized for long. The highlights are: Galata Bridge, Maiden's Tower, museums at Topkapi Palace and Aya Sofya, and the beautiful Blue Mosque known for its six minarets.
Istanbul's Grand Bazaar is an experience of a lifetime. Hailed as one of the oldest markets in the world, this massive shopping complex is estimated to have about 61 streets and over 4000 shops with 26,000 people working here.

Turkish Nom Noms

The 'melting pot' aspect is evident in Turkish cuisine. The universally-loved baklava (layered filo dough filled with chopped walnuts or pistachios, cinnamon, and sugar, covered in honey syrup) is a decadent indulgence.
You've also got to try the lokum, also known as Turkish Delight. This delightful dessert comes in the form of a flavored gelatinous cubes dusted with powdered sugar or desiccated coconut.
Turkish main course dishes mostly center around meat, cooked in an infusion of local spices. Popular grub includes doner kebabs, hünkar beğendi (lamb stew with eggplant curry), and yes, lots of yogurt-based soups and gravies.
The Turkish may have single-handedly popularized coffee in Europe, but they are also a nation of dedicated tea drinkers. Turkish tea is locally produced (unlike coffee), and is consumed without milk. It is served in those delightful tulip-shaped glasses, accompanied with lots of sugar cubes.

Random Facts About Turkey

Aesop, Homer, and St. Paul the Apostle were born in Turkey, along with St. Nicholas, known to many as Santa Claus.
Think tulips, and what springs to mind is the Keukenhof Garden in Holland. However, Turkish traders introduced these flowers to Europe in the 16th century.
All Turkish cities and towns are awash in cats. Turkey's love affair with felines is in line with Islamic lore which mentions the Prophet's affinity towards cats. The Turkish Angora and Turkish Van are cat breeds which originated in the region.
The famed Orient Express was a luxury passenger train on the Paris-Istanbul route. The express was instrumental in pioneering rail travel, coupled with unmatched opulence. Agatha Christie even based a Hercule Poirot novel on the journey―Murder on the Orient Express.
The Republic of Turkey has a little something for every kind of traveler―be it history, food, adventure sports, archeology, shopping, and even the nightlife. So what are you waiting for? Plan a trip, and plan it NOW.