Every country is famous for something, they all have unique recognizable traits and cultural symbols.
But there is plenty of knowledge we do not know. So in this article we will share with you some facts that are less known about Turkey. Because there is much more of this country then it seems.
1.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.
2.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.
You can read more about Santa Claus here.
3.Turkey is the largest producer of hazelnuts
Turkey is 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.
The famous chocolate manufacturer Ferrero SpA, who also owns Nutella, Kinder, and Ferrero Rocher buys the most hazelnuts from Turkey.
4.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.
Even today, the tea drinking cups in Turkey are in a shape of tulips which tells us about great value that tulips had and have in Turkish society.
In the history of Ottoman Empire, there is a period of time called the Tulip Era. The Tulip Era was famous for its beautiful gardens and lavish lifestyle, The Tulip Era gave importance to enjoying oneself and life.
5.Turkey consumes the most tea in the world.
If you think about the country that drinks the most tea, the immediate choice would either be Britain or China. However, Turkey leads the world in drinking the most tea of any nation.
Most Turks drink an average of 5 to 10 cups of tea a day. The country has the highest per-capita consumption of tea in the world at approximately 7 lbs for each person in a year. A whopping 96% of the population drinks tea every single day.
Turkey is the 5th highest producer of tea in the world.
6.Oil wrestling is the national sport.
Turkey’s national sport is called oil wrestling. It takes this name because contestants are completely covered in olive oil before the game starts.
With the oil, the game becomes all about the style and technique since your power, your physical attributes don’t matter in these slippery conditions. The aim of the game is to put your opponents back to the ground and make their belly button face the sky. The wrestlers have special pants called kıspet and they weight about 13 kilograms.
Every year, oil wrestling matches in Kırkpınar Festival happen in the same city called Edirne. The festival has happened in the same place since 1346, making it a very old tradition
The town of Selçuk near Izmir and very close to the ancient ruins of Ephesus, holds a camel wrestling event on the beach each year. Similarly to oil wrestling, the camels have moves to make and are classed according to the tactics they use to win. In the past, a female camel would be paraded around to entice the bull camels to fight for her. These days however, they barely even wrestle, it is more of a comical display of well dressed and decorated camels.
8.There are 82,693 mosques in Turkey
Turkey is home to some of the most beautiful mosques in the world, as about 99% of all Turks are Muslims. Just in Istanbul there are around 3000 mosque.
One of the most breathtaking mosques in Turkey are the Sultanahmet Mosque known also as Blue Mosque and Süleymaniye Mosque built by great architect Sinan Mimar.
9.The Grey Wolf is the country’s national animal
As per a Turkish legend, it is trusted that the Ancient Turks were bred, and raised by wolves like their offspring. While the other says that the majestic Gray Wolf helped the old Turks to conquer everything on their way in the chilling winter where no beast can assist them better than a wolf.
There is a legend called Ergenekon which tells the story of Turks leaving Asia to find a new home, and a grey wolf shows them the way to Anatolia.
Turkey used to have a quite large population of the Gray Wolves once. Unfortunately, it started to decline rapidly.
10.Turkey houses 2 of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.
The Temple of Artemis in Ephesus is a remnant of Ancient Greek civilization dedicated to the ancient goddess Artemis. Another historical site is the Mausoleum of Halicarnassus built between 353 and 350 BC.
11.There are 8 Dog Breeds that originate from Turkey
1. CATALBURUN (Turkish Pointer)
Tarsus Catalburun dog breeds have a quite unique appearance and are best known for their split or double nose. It is estimated that there are only about 200 Catalburun left in the world today.
2. KANGAL SHEPHERD DOG
According to a study conducted, Kangal Shepherd dog has the hardest bite- with a force of 743 psi!
Kangals are considered the national dog breed of Turkey.
3. Anatolian Shepherd is a livestock guardian breed that originated in Turkey around 4,000 B.C
It is often mistaken with Kangal, but there are actually two separate breeds.
4. AKBASH DOG
Though the Akbash is not an overly active breed, it still has the power and agility to fight of predators like Wolves
5. AKSARAY MALAKLISI DOG (Turkish Mastiff)
The Aksaray Malaklisi is often referred to as the “lion dog” for its massive size and fierce attitude.
6. TURKISH KOPAY (Turk Izci Kopegi Zagar)
Turkish Kopay is an extremely rare breed of dog that is almost extinct.
7. Turkish Tazi (Turkmen Tazi)
Turkish Tazi can hit a speed of up to 65 km/hr when hunting!
8. KOYUN DOG (Bayburt Kelpi)
The Koyun Dog is a larger breed of dog that stands around 28 inches tall at the shoulders
12.”Salting” is one of the many customs in Turkey.
Salting is Turkey’s custom of protecting a newborn baby. This custom requires one to rub salt all over a baby’s body, under the belief that it will boost the baby’s resistance to harmful elements.
13.Turkish women could leave their husbands for coffee
A few hundred years ago, Turkish women had legal grounds to get a divorce if their husbands couldn’t provide them with something as essential as coffee.
14.Noah’s Ark allegedly landed on Mount Ararat
Many believe that Noah’s biblical ark arrived on the Ararat volcano. The mountain is beautiful to look at and is home to incredible natural diversity.
There is also a famous dessert Aşure which is also called “Noah’s Dessert”. According to the legend; when the food supplies have started to finish in the Noah’s ark, Noah decided to put all the remaining food stocks into a one pot and cook it to keep all passengers in the ark well-fed until the ark reaches to the Mount Ararat in eastern Turkey.
15.Turkey has a rich ecology.
Turkey boasts a diverse ecology of 3,500 native plant species. Turkey also has 5 unique mammal species, more than 10 reptile species, and over 50 freshwater fish species that only exist in Turkey.
16.Turkey Created Coins
The world’s first coins were minted by King Alyattes in Sardis, Lydia, Asia Minor, which is present day Turkey, around 600 BC. The coins were made from a naturally occurring mixture of gold and silver called electrum. They were marked with a design on one side and with punches on the other. the earliest known hoard of electrum coins was found during the British Museum excavations of the Temple of Ephesus in 1904. 19 coins were found placed in a small pot which had been buried alongside another 74 coins in the foundations of the temple.
17.Istanbul’s Grand Bazaar has 64 streets and 4,000 shops
One of the oldest (and largest) markets in the world, the Grand Bazaar welcomes up to 400,000 visitors a day. It’s often described as one of the oldest shopping malls in existence.
18.Turkey has a young demographic
Turkey has the EU’s largest young population. The average age in Turkey is around 31, and only 9% of the country’s population is over 60.
19.Turkish people eat more than three times their own body weight in bread annually
20. Most of the Turks did not have/use their surname until 1934.
Turkish families in the major urban centers had names by which they were known locally. The Surname Law of 1934 enforced not only the use of official surnames but also stipulated that citizens choose Turkish names. Until it was repealed in 2013, the eldest male was the head of household and Turkish law appointed him to choose the surname.