With its long and rich history where civilizations and empires, as well as various ethnicities and religions. The country of Turkey has many interesting facts to keep everyone intrigued for years. Whether it’s an ancient site that contradicts historical facts or the world’s second oldest railway, The culture, traditions and heritage of many communities within its cities, towns, and villages is also as intensely diverse as it is interesting. Indeed, one would have to explore intensely from the east to the west to gain a great insight into the country. For newcomers or holidaymakers, though, particular facts present a well-rounded impression
The Mevlevi Sema Ceremony is a Sufi ceremony that symbolizes stages on the path to accessing God and contains religious elements and themes with detailed rules and characteristics. The ceremony consists of the noble eulogy to the Prophet Mohammed, flute solo, prelude, the Circling of Veled and four segments (selam), which form an integral whole and contain different Sufi meanings.
As part of the UNESCO Anniversary Celebrations List, UNESCO proclaimed 2007 to be the “800th Anniversary of the Birth of Mawlana Jalal-ud-Din Balkhi-Rumi”. A number of events related to Mevlana and Mevlevi culture were organized both in Turkey and abroad, and the Mevlevi Sema Ceremony was performed.
Istanbul is Turkey’s largest city. With a population of roughly 14.8 million, it is also the central hub of the country for business, finance, transport, education and the top visited tourist destination. In 2014, it achieved international status as the sixth most widely visited city in the world, nearly ranking up with the likes of Milan and Rome.
Leonardo da Vinci was almost responsible for the Galata Bridge
Between 1502 and 1503, Sultan Beyazid II solicited Leonardo da Vinci to design a bridge that would span the Golden Horn. Following the three geometric principles of the pressed-bow, parabolic curve and keystone arch, da Vinci’s design would have been the world’s longest bridge at that time, but the sultan did not approve it.
Santa Claus was born in Turkey
Santa Claus, or more precisely Saint Nicolas, a Christian saint and Greek Bishop of Myra, was born in Patara, Lycia or what is now known as Demre in Turkey. Also, the Virgin Mary’s final resting place is thought to be somewhere near Ephesus.
One of the Mediterranean’s main sea turtle nesting beaches is in Turkey
Located near the tourist summer hot spot Fethiye, Iztuzu Beach is one of the most important breeding grounds for the loggerhead turtle. Every year, the endangered turtles arrive between May and October to lay their eggs on the protected shore.
Turkey introduced tulips to the world
Even though no one knows where tulips are originally from, it’s certain that the Ottomans loved the flower and helped to make it popular all around Europe. The story goes that a Flemish ambassador, who visited Süleyman the Magnificent, introduced the flower to Holland in the 16th century.
Turkey is the largest producer of hazelnuts
Turkey may be known for classics such as Turkish Delight or Turkish Coffee, but it is actually the world’s largest producer of hazelnuts. Turkish hazelnuts make up around 72.9% of the world’s supply, and the country’s Eastern Black Sea region produces approximately 60% of that.
Tünel is the world’s second oldest underground railway
On January 17, 1875, the Tünel underground funicular began to operate, becoming the world’s second underground railway after the London Underground. Tünel continues to run between Beyoğlu and Karaköy and is one of the oldest surviving rail lines in continental Europe.
More than 400 Blue Flag Beach
Beach lovers will adore Turkey because the north, west, and most of the south have beautiful coastlines and more than 400 Blue Flag beaches, ranking it fourth in the world. Some of most famous beaches, Patara, Olu Deniz, Altinlkum, Kaputas and Lara.
Flags are a symbol of a nation’s pride and Turkey’s is no exception. A white star and a crescent half-moon on a red background are widely seen in everyday use as the country’s flag. It is disrespectful to use the flag for any purpose other than displaying your patriotic beliefs. This includes sitting on it, putting it on the ground, or wearing garments showing it. In Britain, we often have the Union Jack on our shorts or bikinis, but in Turkey, this is a sight rarely seen.
Geography refers to the landscape of a country of which Turkey has more than 783,000 square kilometres and 7,200 kilometres of sparkling, sandy coastline. It also has 52 lakes and more than 20,000,000 hectares of forestland, of which many are designated natural parks. While the central Anatolian region consists of flat plains, it has 27 mountain ranges of which the Taurus and Kackar are ideal for hiking and exploring. What does this all mean? Turkey has some of the most diverse flora and fauna in the world and is an ideal country for exploring the great outdoors!
Jewellery is big business in Turkey, but especially in the Grand Bazaar of Istanbul where artisans they still make rings, necklaces, and bracelets by hand using age-old techniques. Turkey’s claim to fame though is home to the world’s fourth largest diamond. The spoon maker’s diamond at an astonishing 86 carats sits within guarded rooms at the old Topkapi Palace in Istanbul.
The Population of Turkey is just over 79 million people. This makes it the 19th most populated country in the world. This does not include the foreign expat communities that have settled mainly in the coastal resorts of the Aegean and Mediterranean areas of which many are British, Russian, and German.
Ottoman history is an integral part of the country because the empire ruled from Istanbul for more than 450 years. To understand facts about the Ottoman history of Turkey, it is worth visiting many of their landmarks throughout Istanbul including the Topkapi and Dolmabahce Palaces, the Blue Mosque, and the Grand Bazaar.
The Religion of Turkey is Islam, but many first time visitors are pleasantly surprised to learn that the beginnings of Christianity also stemmed from this country. That is why faith tourism tours are increasing in popularity. The Seven Churches of Revelation as seen in the New Testament of the Bible are all in the Aegean region, while in Cappadocia, the top tourist attraction is the UNESCO Goreme Open Air Museum and its ancient rock-cut cave churches.
Time in Turkey became very confusing in 2016 when the Turkish government abandoned daylight savings time. Therefore, from March to November, Turkey is ahead of Britain by 2 hours but ahead by three hours in all the other months.
Underground cities are a focal point of the central Anatolian region of Cappadocia. Used throughout history as defensive mechanisms against invading armies, many of these ancient cities have been excavated and open to the public. No one knows the exact amount, but to date, 37 have been uncovered, of which the most famous is Derinkuyu.
Weather conditions in Turkey are unique because the country has three different climate zones. That is why people visiting Mount Tahtali in the winter smile at the slogan of skiing in the morning and swimming in the afternoon. Likewise, during June, hundreds of people are sunbathing in the Mediterranean and Aegean coasts while in the northeast they are wrapping up warm. Skiing resorts in Turkey are also raising their profile thanks to snowfall that makes the ideal conditions for the sport.
Xmas is not celebrated in Turkey, although Christians and expats in the country will hold their own private events. You may still see replicas of Father Christmas in shopping malls, though. This is because he represents Noel Baba that is the Turkish version of Santa Claus and widely seen at New Year which is celebrated throughout the country, not for religious purposes but purely commercial.