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ABOUT TURKIYE; Did You Know That ...?

  • The only city in the world located on two continents is Istanbul, which has been the capital of three great empires, Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman for more than 2000 years.

  • Istanbul has a 540-year-old covered shopping mall of 64 streets, 4000 shops, 22 entrances and 25,000 workers, -the famous Grand Bazaar.

  • Leonardo da Vinci drew designs for a bridge over the Bosphorus, the strait that flows through Europe and Asia. It was never built.

  • Turks introduced coffee to Europe.

  • Turkey provides 70% of the world's hazelnuts; the nut in your chocolate bar was most probably grown in Turkey.

  • Turks 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 is referred to as "The Tulip Age" in Turkish History.

  • The most valuable silk carpet in the world is in the Mevlana Museum in Konya, Turkey with 144 knots per square centimetre. Marco Polo's journeys in the thirteenth centuries took him here, and he remarked that the "best and handsomest of rugs" are woven and were to be found in Turkey.

  • Anatolia is the origin of the names of Paris, Philadelphia and Europe.

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

  • The oldest known human settlement in the world is in Catalhoyuk, Turkey (7500 BC). The earliest landscape painting in history was found on the wall of a Catalhöyük house, illustrating the volcanic eruption of nearby Hasandag.

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

  • Anatolia is the location of the first known beauty contest, judged by Paris, with Aphrodite, Hera and Athena as leading participants.

  • Anatolia was producing wine as early as 4000BC.

  • The number of archaeological excavations going on in Turkey every year is at least 150.

  • The Famous Trojan Wars took place in western Turkey, around the site where a wooden statue of the Trojan Horse rests today.

  • Many archaeologists and biblical scholars believe Noah's Ark landed on Agri Dagi (Mount Ararat) in eastern Turkey.

  • The last meal on Noah's Ark, a pudding with nearly 20 ingredients, is still served throughout Turkey.

  • Two of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World; Temple of Artemis and the Mausoleum at Halicarnassus, are in Turkey. -The Temple of Artemis at Ephesus and the Mausoleum of Halicarnassus in Bodrum.

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

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

  • Virgin Mary's last home was in Selcuk, Turkey. 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 Bülbüldagi (Mount Koressos). It remains a popular pilgrimage site for Christians to this day.

  • 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.

  • The first church built by man (St. Peter's Church) is in Antakya, in southern Turkey. 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 Antakya. 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.

  • Early Christians escaping Roman persecution nearly 2000 years ago sheltered in Cappadocia in Central Anatolia.

  • All of the Seven Churches of Asia mentioned in the Book of Revelation are located in Anatolia, Turkey: Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia and Laodicea.

  • The first Ecumenical Council was held in Iznik.

  • The collection of Korans in Topkapi Palace Museum in Istanbul are the richest to be found anywhere in the world. It includes texts of the Koran inscribed between the 7th - 19th centuries in Arabia, œran, India, Maghrib (North Africa) and in the lands dominated by the Seljuks and Ottomans.

  • Part of Turkey's south western shore was a wedding gift that Mark Anthony gave to Cleopatra.

  • Abraham was born in Sanliurfa in South eastern Turkey.

  • Homer was born in Izmir on the west coast of Turkey and he depicted Troy in his Epic the Iliad.

  • Aesop, famous for his fables and parables, was born in Anatolia.

  • Alexander the Great conquered a large territory in what is now Turkey and cut the Gordion Knot in the Phrygian capital (Gordium) not far from Turkey's present-day capital (Ankara).

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

  • Suleyman the Magnificent (the famous Ottoman Sultan) was a poet who wrote over 3000 poems, some of them criticizing the greed of mankind.

  • Piri Reis, a Turkish geographer and a renowned cartographer of the 16th century, drew the oldest map of America in existence. He was also a pirate and admiral who left his mark on Ottoman naval history.

  • Julius Ceasar 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.

  • Istanbul's Robert College (established in 1863), is the oldest American school outside the United States.

  • The Amazons originated in Turkey's north eastern region.

  • According to Turkish tradition a stranger at one's doorstep is considered "A Guest from God" and should be accommodated accordingly.

  • Turkey is a long-time member of NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization) since 1952.

  • Turkey receives children from around the world each year on 23rd of April (the opening date of Turkish National Assembly in 1920) for a unique festival called "April 23rd National Sovereignty and Children's Day" to honor and cherish the freedom and independence of all people around the world. The founder of the Turkish Republic, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, dedicated April 23rd to the children to emphasize that they are the future of the new nation. During their stay in Turkey, the foreign children are housed in Turkish homes and find an important opportunity to interact with the Turkish kids and learn about each other's countries and cultures. The foreign children groups also participate in the special session of the Turkish Grand National Assembly. This results in a truly international Assembly where children pledge their commitment to international peace and brotherhood.