Interesting facts about Turkey

turkey flag

Turkey is a nation straddling eastern Europe and western Asia with cultural connections to ancient Greek, Persian, Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman empires.

The official name of Turkey is the Republic of Turkey.

Turkey is bordered by eight countries: Syria and Iraq to the south; Iran, Armenia and the Azerbaijan to the east; Georgia to the northeast; Bulgaria to the northwest; and Greece to the west. The Black Sea is to the north, the Mediterranean Sea to the south, and the Aegean Sea to the west.

Geographically, Turkey sits in two continents, Europe and Asia, although around 97% of it’s land area is on the Asian side.

The official language is Turkish.

As of 1 January 2016, the population of Turkey was estimated to be 79,409,926 people.

Ankara, Turkey’s capital, sits in the country’s central Anatolia region.


Istanbul is the largest city in Turkey and is the third most populous urban area in Europe.

The highest point in Turkey is Mount Ararat 5,137 meters (16,854 feet) above sea level.

mount ararat

Turkey has one peak over 5,000 meters (16,404 feet), three over 4,000 meters (13,123 feet) and more than 100 peaks exceeding 3,000 meters (9,842 feet).

The entire Turkish coastline spans more than 8,000 kilometers (approximately 5,000 miles) in length.

Turkey’s Mediterranean shore, called the Turquoise Coast, is nearly 1600 kilometers (994 miles) long, scattered with fine-sand beaches and sprinkled abundantly with classical cities turned to picturesque ruins.


Turkey’s 10,000 plant and 80,000 animal species help rank the country among the world’s 35 biodiversity hotspots.

Turkey has 40 national parks.

The most famous is Göreme National Park. In a spectacular landscape, entirely sculpted by erosion, the Göreme valley and its surroundings contain rock-hewn sanctuaries that provide unique evidence of Byzantine art in the post-Iconoclastic period.The Göreme National Park was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1985.

göreme nationalnpark

Turkey has 15 properties inscribed in the UNESCO World Heritage List.

Pamukkale, meaning “cotton castle” in Turkish, is a natural site in Denizli Province in southwestern Turkey. A dramatic hillside location consisting of hot springs and travertine terraces, the stunning natural phenomenon of Pamukkale has been used as a spa for thousands of years.It is recognized as UNESCO World Heritage Site together with Hierapolis.


Hagia Sophia, Turkish Ayasofya, Latin Sancta Sophia, also called Church of the Holy Wisdom or Church of the Divine Wisdom, Hagia Sophia cathedral built at Constantinople (now Istanbul, Turkey) in the 6th century ce (532–537) under the direction of the Byzantine emperor Justinian I. By general consensus, it is the most important Byzantine structure and one of the world’s great monuments.

hagia sophia

The Süleymaniye Mosque is an Ottoman imperial mosque located on the Third Hill of Istanbul, Turkey. It is the largest mosque in the city, and one of the best-known sights of Istanbul. The construction work began in 1550 and the mosque was finished in 1558.

suleymaniye mosque

The Topkapı Palace is a large palace in Istanbul, Turkey, that was one of the major residences of the Ottoman sultans for almost 400 years (1465–1856) of their 624-year reign.

topkapı palace

Turkey has one of the world’s oldest and biggest malls. Istanbul’s Grand Bazaar, or Kapalı Çarşı, dates to 1455 and was established shortly after the Ottoman conquest of Constantinople. Over the centuries it has grown into a warren of 61 streets lined by more than 3,000 shops which attract between 250,000 and 400,000 visitors daily. It currently occupies a nearly incomprehensible 333,000 square feet.

grand bazaar istanbul

For more than 2000 years Istanbul was capital of three empires: Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman

Modern day Turkey was formed in 1923 following the fall of the Ottoman Empire.

Two of the Seven Wonders of the ancient world are in Turkey: Temple of Artemis at Ephesus and Mausoleum at Halicarnassus.

The Seven Churches referred in the Book of Revelation are all found in Turkey: Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia and Laodicea.

House of Virgin Mary is located on the top of the “Bulbul” mountain 9 km ahead of Ephesus, the shrine of Virgin Mary enjoys a marvelous atmosphere hidden in the green. It is the place where Mary may have spent her last days.

house of Virgin Mary

St. Paul the Apostle was born in Tarsus in what is now southern Turkey.

St. Nicholas, also known as Santa Claus, was born in Patara. There is a church dedicated to him in Demre, on Turkey’s Mediterranean Coast, where he was a bishop.

Homer (Homeros) was born in Izmir on the west coast of Turkey and he depicted Troy, which is north of Izmir, in his Epic the Iliad.

The famous Trojan Wars took place in western Turkey, around the site where a wooden model of the Trojan Horse has been erected at the site.

trojan horse

Julius Caesar proclaimed his celebrated words “Veni. Vedi, Veci” (I came, I saw, I conquered) in Turkey when he defeated Pontus, a formidable Kingdom in the Black Sea Region of Turkey.

The library of Celsus is an ancient Roman building in Ephesus, Anatolia, now part of Selçuk, Turkey. The library was built to store 12,000 scrolls and to serve as a mausoleum for Celsus, who is buried in a crypt beneath the library.

library of celsus

Çatalhöyük was a very large Neolithic and Chalcolithic proto-city settlement in southern Anatolia, which existed from approximately 7500 BC to 5700 BC, and flourished around 7000 BC.[1] It is the largest and best-preserved Neolithic site found to date. In July 2012, it was inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.


Göbekli Tepe is one of the most startling archaeological discoveries of our time: massive carved stones about 11,000 years old, crafted and arranged by prehistoric people who had not yet developed metal tools or even pottery. The megaliths predate Stonehenge by some 6,000 years.

göbekli tepe

The most precious silk carpet in the world is in the Mevlana Museum in Konya.

Tulips were introduced to Europe by Turkish treaders in the 16th century.

Turkey is the largest producer of hazelnuts in the world with approximately 75% of worldwide production.


Turkish cuisine is largely the continuation of Ottoman cuisine, which in turn borrowed many elements from Greek, Central Asian, Caucasian, Sephardi Jewish cuisine, Middle Eastern, and Balkan cuisines.

Possibly the most popular Turkish food is baklava which will suit anyone with a sweet tooth. It is layers of filo pastries, filled with nuts and then covered with a sweet honey or syrup.

The Tünel is a short underground railway line in Istanbul, Turkey.It is the world’s second oldest underground railway – it begun operation in 1875.

On 1910, the Mayor of Istanbul exiled 80,000 stray dogs to a small island for them to die. Soon later, a 7.3 magnitude earthquake occurred, which people perceived as a punishment from God for the dogs’ exile, and the surviving dogs were brought back.

In Turkish, the bird we call a Turkey is called “Hindi” (“from India”). In India, it’s called “Peru.” In Arabic, the bird is called “Greek chicken”; in Greek it’s called “French chicken”; and in French it’s called “Indian chicken.” The bird is indigenous to none of these places.