One of the special countries in the world is Turkey, located in Western Asia and a portion in South-eastern Europe will guarantee you diversity in culture and attraction. The Hagia Sophia is one of the interesting attractions. This was previously a church, then an imperial mosque and currently a museum. This amazing architecture of the Byzantine and Ottoman Empire is a gem worth seeing. More of this beautiful architecture in the country should be visited such as the Topkapi Palace, Library of Celsus and the Pamukkale or the cotton castle. These attractions are enough reason to get that ticket and start exploring this remarkable place.
Important and Interesting Facts about Turkey
- Is largely located in Western Asia with the smaller portion of Eastern Thrace in Southeastern Europe.
- Turkey is bordered by eight countries: Bulgaria to the northwest; Greece to the west; Georgia to the northeast; Armenia, Iran and the Azerbaijani exclave of Nakhchivan to the east; and Iraq and Syria to the southeast. The Mediterranean Sea is to the south; the Aegean Sea to the west; and the Black Sea to the north.
- The Sea of Marmara, the Bosphorus and the Dardanelles (which together form the Turkish Straits) demarcate the boundary between Thrace and Anatolia; they also separate Europe and Asia.
- Turkey’s location at the crossroads of Europe and Asia makes it a country of significant geostrategic importance.
- Turkey’s varied landscapes are the product of coiomplex earth movements that have shaped the region over thousands of years and still manifest themselves in fairly frequent earthquakes and occasional volcanic eruptions.
- Renowned as one of the most beautiful buildings in the world, the spellbinding Byzantine glory of the Aya Sofya Museum (Hagia Sophia) is not only Istanbul’s top sightseeing attraction, but also one of the top sites in Turkey. The staggering bulk of its exterior is rimmed by the delicate minarets added after the Ottoman conquest while the sumptuous and cavernous frescoed interior is a grand reminder of old Constantinople’s might and power.
- Not to be missed, the mighty ruin of Ephesus is a city of colossal monuments and marble-columned roads. One of the most complete, still-standing Roman cities, this is the place to experience what life must have been like during the golden age of the Roman Empire.
- The surreal swooping rock valleys of Cappadocia are every photographer’s dream. Cliff ridges and hill crests are home to rippling panoramas of wave-like rock or wacky-shaped pinnacles that have been formed by millennia of wind and water action.
- A visit to Topkapı Palace leads you into the fantastical, opulent world of the sultans. It was from here that the leaders of the Ottoman Era carved out an empire that would extend up into Europe and down through the Middle East and into Africa. The interiors with their decadently exuberant tiling and lavish jewelled decor are an unforgettable peek into the Ottoman’s powerbase.
- One of Turkey’s most famous natural wonders, the pure white travertine terraces of Pamukkale cascade down the slope looking like an out-of-place snow field amid the green landscape. Although the travertines are themselves a highlight of a trip to Turkey, the vast and rambling ruins of Roman Hierapolis lie on the top of this calcite hill providing another reason to visit.
- With its stunning lonely setting, built into a cliff face, Sumela Monastery is the star attraction for visitors along the Black Sea coastline. Wandering around this abandoned religious complex, with its church interiors crammed with vibrant frescoes is a must for anyone who makes the long journey to Turkey’s northeast region.
Cool and Funny Facts about Turkey
- Nicholas, also known as Santa Claus, was born in Patara and became the bishop of Demre, on Turkey’s Mediterranean Coast.
- Noah’s Ark landed on Mount Ararat (Agri Dagi) in Eastern Turkey.
- The last meal on Noah’s Ark, a pudding of sweet and sour taste (asure), is still served throughout Turkey.
- Turks introduced coffee to Europe.
- 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.
- Most Turks didn’t have surname until 1934.
- In 1503, Leonardo da Vinci submitted plans for a bridge across the Bosphorus-it was never built.
- Despite its traditional roots, almost no one in Turkey wears fez nowadays. They were banned in 1925.
- Tulips were introduced to Europe by Turkish traders in the 16th century.
- Despite the appearance of camels at holiday resorts, there is no desert in Turkey and there are no native camels.
Historical and Cultural Facts about Turkey
- Anatolia (Turkey in Asia) was occupied in about 1900 B.C. by the Indo-European Hittites and, after the Hittite empire’s collapse in 1200 B.C. , by Phrygians and Lydians. The Persian Empire occupied the area in the 6th century B.C. , giving way to the Roman Empire, then later the Byzantine Empire.
- The Ottoman Turks first appeared in the early 13th century, subjugating Turkish and Mongol bands pressing against the eastern borders of Byzantium and making the Christian Balkan states their vassals. They gradually spread through the Near East and Balkans, capturing Constantinople in 1453 and storming the gates of Vienna two centuries later. At its height, the Ottoman Empire stretched from the Persian Gulf to western Algeria. Lasting for 600 years, the Ottoman Empire was not only one of the most powerful empires in the history of the Mediterranean region, but it generated a great cultural outpouring of Islamic art, architecture, and literature.
- After the reign of Sultan Süleyman I the Magnificent (1494–1566), the Ottoman Empire began to decline politically, administratively, and economically.
- By the 18th century, Russia was seeking to establish itself as the protector of Christians in Turkey’s Balkan territories. Russian ambitions were checked by Britain and France in the Crimean War (1854–1856), but the Russo-Turkish War (1877–1878) gave Bulgaria virtual independence and Romania and Serbia liberation from their nominal allegiance to the sultan.
- Turkish weakness stimulated a revolt of young liberals known as the Young Turks in 1909. They forced Sultan Abdul Hamid to grant a constitution and install a liberal government. However, reforms were no barrier to further defeats in a war with Italy (1911–1912) and the Balkan Wars (1912–1913). Turkey sided with Germany in World War I, and, as a result, lost territory at the conclusion of the war.
- Turkish cuisine includes many different stews of vegetables and meat (lamb and beef primarily); borek , kebab , and dolma dishes; and a sourdough bread eaten with almost every meal. Borek is a pastry made of many thin layers of dough interspersed with cheese, spinach, and/or ground meat.
- The women tend to wear traditional conservative clothing, including head scarves and long coats, even in the summer.
- Strict etiquette governs intergenerational and heterosexual interactions. Unless they are close friends or relatives, older people are addressed formally. For example, older men should be addressed with the title “Bey” (Mister) and women with the title “Hanim” (Lady). Younger people are expected to be reserved in their presence. Adults of the opposite sex are expected not to act casually or show affection toward each other in public.
- The most important events in the Turkey’s Islamic calendar are Ramazan , the lunar month of fast; Kadir Gecesi (Night of Power), the twenty-seventh day of Ramazan , when Mohammad was appointed the messenger of Allah; Sheker Bayram a three-day national holiday at the end of Ramazan in which people exchange visits and candy; and Kurban Bayram (Feast of Sacrifice), a four-day national holiday held during the lunar month of Hajj (Pilgrimage) to commemorate Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice Isaac. As many as 2.5 million sheep have been sacrificed in Turkey on this holiday; most of the meat is shared with neighbors and donated to the poor.
- For most Turks, Islam plays an important role in rites of passage: naming shortly after birth, circumcision for boys, marriage, and funerals. The state controls religious education and most religious personnel by supervising the schools that train Sunni imams and certifying imams as state employees who work in community mosques.
- The Ministry of Culture has implemented a policy of promoting nonreligious Turkish and Western art. It provides a limited number of scholarships for the study of art and music in Europe, especially France. The ministry also supports the Academy of Fine Arts and art museums in the major cities.