Turkey is much more than just a holiday destination. It has a rich, diverse culture and history, beautiful landscapes and cuisine that will keep you coming back for more…and more!
When you start to scratch the surface and discover more about this amazing country you will find many interesting facts you never knew. Here are just a few to get you started…
Miles and miles of coastline
Turkey has over 8,000 km (5,000m) of coastline and 531 Blue Flag beaches as of 2022, ranking third among 49 countries after Spain and Greece.
You can find a full list of Blue Flag beaches in Turkey here:
Blue Flag Beaches in Türkiye: A Complete Guide 2023
Average age in Turkey
Turkey has a population of 85,616,297 with an average age of 33.1 years.
Nuts, whole hazelnuts
Turkey to date, is so far the world’s leading hazelnut producer, accounting for about 70 per cent of the total world supply.
About 60 per cent of the crop is produced in the Eastern Black Sea Region, 15 per cent is produced in the Central Region and the remaining 25 per cent is produced in the Western Black Sea Region.
Many archaeologists and biblical scholars believe Noah’s Ark landed on Mount Ararat (Ağrı Dağı) in eastern Turkey. The mountain is actually a dormant volcano and the highest point in the country at 16,949 feet (5,166 m).
The rise of Christianity
St. John, St. Paul and St. Peter lived and prayed in southern Anatolia. Tradition has it that St. John brought the Virgin Mary to Ephesus after the Crucifixion, where she spent her last days in a small stone house called Meryemana Evi (The House of the Virgin Mary) on what is now Bülbüldagi (Mount Koressos). It remains a popular pilgrimage site for Christians to this day.
Are “Tulips from Amsterdam?”
The Tulip was actually originally a wildflower growing in Central Asia. It was first cultivated by the Turks as early as 1000 AD. Mania in Turkey struck in the 16th century, at the time of the Ottoman Empire when the Sultan demanded the cultivation of particular blooms for his pleasure. The name ‘tulip’ came from the Turkish word for turban (tülbent).
The city on two continents
Istanbul is the only city in the world located on two continents – Europe and Asia. During its almost 2,000-year history, it has been the capital of the Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman Empires.
Göbekli Tepe in southern Turkey is home to the most ancient temple structures ever discovered. Its circular structures, with their elaborately carved stones and distinctive, T-shaped pillars, are more than 12,000 years old—older than the invention of agriculture or even pottery and have changed the way archaeologists look at the beginnings of civilization.
A Golden Cage
Connected to the harem section of Topkapı Palace but tucked away behind a high wall is the chamber of the Ottoman princes. It’s a single-story building handsomely decorated on the inside with high ceilings, tiled walls and carpeted floors. Ornate stained glass windows look out across the high terrace and the garden of the pool below. Despite its splendour, this building was a prison, meant to keep all possible successors to the throne locked up so that they could never challenge the reigning sultan. These chambers were known as kafes, whose literal translation is “cage”.
A jelly bean fact
Although jelly beans were born in America, their roots may lie far, far East—in Turkey
Jelly beans first appeared in the United States in the mid-to-late 19th century. Some historians believe they were inspired by Turkish delight—a chewy jelly and powdered sugar confection that was a popular treat from Turkey.
Turkey and Narnia
The word for “lion” in Turkish is aslan, which is also the name of the great lion in C.S. Lewis’s classic children’s series The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. One of the treats featured in the series is the dessert Turkish delight, which originated in Turkey.
The Grand Bazaar
The Grand Bazaar ( Kapalıçarşı, meaning ‘Covered Market’) in Istanbul is one of the largest and oldest covered markets in the world, with 61 covered streets and over 4,000 shops which attract between 250,000 and 400,000 visitors daily.
In 2014, it was listed as No.1 among the world’s most-visited tourist attractions with 91,250,000 annual visitors. The Grand Bazaar in Istanbul is often regarded as one of the first shopping malls in the world.
By the way…
On 4 December 2021, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan issued a presidential circular calling for Turkey to be officially known as Türkiye.