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Turkey's Little Known Facts 

Istanbul is the only city in the world located on two continents, Europe and Asia. In its thousands of years of history, it has been the capital of three great empires - Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman.    

 


The oldest known human settlement in the world is located in Catalhöyük, Turkey, dating back to 6500 B.C. The earliest landscape painting in history was found on the wall of a Catalhöyük house, illustrating the volcanic eruption of nearby Hasandag.    

 

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Two of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World stood in Turkey - the Temple of Artemis at Ephesus and the Mausoleum of Halicarnassus in Bodrum    

 

The Turks introduced coffee to Europe.    

 

The first coins ever minted were done so at Sardis, the capital of the ancient kingdom of Lycia, at the end of the seventh century B.C.    

 


The word "turquoise" comes from "Turk" meaning Turkish, and was derived from the beautiful colour of the Mediterranean Sea on the southern Turkish coast.    

 

The Turks first gave the Dutch their famous tulips that started the craze for the flower in England and the Netherlands. Bulbs brought to Vienna from Istanbul in the 1500s were so intensely popular that by 1634 in Holland it was called "tulipmania". People invested money in tulips as they do in stocks today. This period of elegance and amusement in 17th century Turkey is referred to as "The Tulip Age."

The most valuable silk carpet in the world is in the Mevlana Museum in Konya, Turkey. Marco Polo's journeys in the thirteenth centuries took him here, and he remarked that the "best and handsomest of rugs" were to be found in Turkey.

Many important events surrounding the birth of Christianity occurred in Turkey. St John, St Paul and St Peter all lived and prayed in southern Anatolia. Tradition has it that St John bought Virgin Mary to Ephesus after the Crucifixion, where she spent her last days in a small stone house (Meryemana Evi) on what is now Bülbüldağı (Mount Koressos). It remains a popular pilgrimage site for Christians to this day.

   

Many archaeologists and biblical scholars believe Noah's Ark landed on Ağrı Dağı (Mount Ararat) in eastern    

 

The seven churches mentioned in the Book of Revelation are all found in Turkey: Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia and Laodicea.

A cave known today as the Grotto of St Peter, or Church of St Peter, is believed to be where the apostle Peter preaches when he visited Antioch (Antakya, in southern Turkey). It is widely considered to be one of the earliest Christian houses of worship. In 1963, the papacy designated the site as a place of pilgrimage and recognised it as the world's first cathedral. Every year on June 29, a special service held at the church, is attended by Christians from around the world    

 

Anatolia is the birthplace of many historic figures and legends such as the poet Homer, King Midas, Herodotus (the father of history) and St Paul the Apostle.    

 

St Nicholas known as Santa Claus today, was born and lived in Demre (Myra) on Turkey's Mediterranean coast. The village contains the famous Church of St Nicholas with the sarcophagus believed to be his tomb.

   

The first man ever to fly was Turkish. Using two wings, Hezarfen Ahmet Celebi flew from the Galata Tower over the Bosphorus to land in Usküdar in the 17th century.
   

MORE INTERESTING FACTS ABOUT TURKEY

  • The famous Trojan Wars took place in Western Turkey, around the site where the Trojan horse rests today.
  • The first church built by man (St. Peter s Church) is in Antioch (Antakya), Turkey.
  • The oldest known human settlement is in Catalhoyuk, Turkey (7th Millenium B.C.)
  • Ephesus and Halicarnasus (the place for the two of the Seven Wonders of the ancient world) are in Turkey.
  • St. Nicholas, also known as Santa Claus, was born in 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.
  • Turks gave the Dutch their famous tulips.
  • Istanbul is the only city in the world built on two continents.
  • Tradition in Turkey says that a stranger at one s doorstep is considered God s guest" for at least three days.
  • Turkey is noted for having one of the three most famous and distinctive traditional cuisines in the world.
  • The First Ecumenical Council was held in Iznik, Turkey.
  • 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 B.C.
  • The oldest tin mine was found in Göltepe, 60 miles south of Tarsus.
  • The first Neolithic paintings found on man-made walls are in Catalhöyük, Turkey.
  • Anatolia is the birthplace of historic legends, such as Homer (the poet), King Midas, Herodotus (the father of history), and St. Paul the Apostle.
  • 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 of Turkey.
  • Female goddesses like Cybele dominated the Central Anatolian pantheon for thousands of years before these supernatural powers were transformed to male gods.
  • The Hittites sold Abraham the cave where he buried his wife Sarah, when the Israelites came to Palestine.
  • The first church dedicated to Virgin Mary is in Ephesus.
  • Cherry was first introduced to Europe from Giresun (Northern Turkey)
  • Turkey has hundreds beaches and marinas which have the "Blue Flag" (an European award for the best clean water) on the Mediterranean and Aegean.
  • 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.
  • The oldest known shipwreck on Earth was found and excavated in Uluburun near Kas, in the Mediterranean region of Turkey.
  • In 640 BC, for the first time in history, coins made of electrum were used by the Lydian king Croesus in Sardis, in Aegean region of Turkey.
  • King Midas lived in Gordion, capital of Phrigia.
  • Alexander the Great cut the Gordian knot near Ankara. The double knotting technique used in Turkish rugs is also called as Gordian Knot.
  • 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.
  • Early Christians escaping from Roman persecutions found shelter in Cappadocia.
  • The Seven Churches of Apocalypse are all situated in the Aegean region of Anatolia; Ephesus, Smyrna (Izmir), Pergamum, Thyatira (Nazilli), Sardis, Philadelphia (Alasehir) and Laodicea.
  • 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.
  • Istanbul has the historical building of Sirkeci Train Station. This was the last stop of the Simplon-Orient Express - "kings of trains and train of kings" - between Paris and Constantinople (Istanbul) from 1883 to 1977. Agatha Christie was one of the passengers of this famous train.
  • 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 flora and fauna in Anatolia.