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Kids Corner

Did You Know That? — Facts about Turkey

by Mustafa Ozerler

  • 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 2,000 years.

  • There are at least 150 archaeological excavations going on in Turkey every year.

  • The oldest known human settlement is in Catalhoyuk, Turkey (7500 BC).

  • Temple of Artemis and the Mausoleum at Halicarnassus — two of the seven wonders of the ancient world — are in Turkey.

  • Abraham was born in Sanliurfa in southeastern Turkey.

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

  • Julius Caesar 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.

  • Turks introduced coffee to Europe.

  • Turks gave the Dutch their famous tulips.

  • St. Nicholas, who became popular as Father Christmas, was born in Demre on Turkey's Mediterranean Coast.

  • According to legend, 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.

  • The last home of Virgin Mary is in Selcuk.

  • St. John, St. Nicholas, St. Paul, and St. Peter have all lived and prayed in southern Anatolia.

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

  • 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.

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

  • 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).

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

  • Early Christians escaping Roman persecution nearly 2,000 years ago sheltered in Cappadocia in Central Anatolia.

  • The Amazons originated in Turkey's northeastern region.

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

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

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

  • The first Ecumenical Council was held in Iznik.

  • Suleyman the Magnificent (the famous Ottoman sultan) was a poet who wrote over 3,000 poems, some of them criticizing the greed of mankind.

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

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

  • Istanbul has a 540-year-old covered shopping mall of 64 streets; 4,000 shops; 22 entrances; and 25,000 workers — the famous Grand Bazaar.

  • The most valuable silk carpet in the world is in the Mevlana Museum, Konya, with 144 knots per square centimeter. In the 13th century, Marco Polo wrote "the best and handsomest of rugs are woven here, and also silks of crimson and other rich colors."

  • Hezarfen Ahmed Celebi was the first man who flew a significant distance using wings across the Bosphorus.

  • 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 4000 BC.

  • Turkey receives children from around the world each year on April 23 to "honor and cherish the freedom and independence of all people."

  • Anatolia is the location of the Seven Churches of Asia.

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