Did you know that Turkey is a country that lies on both the Asian and European continents? Or that Noah’s Ark landed on a volcano in Turkey? All of this and more can be found below, where we’ve compiled a list of 20 amazing Turkey facts that will astound you.

1. Turkey is a transcontinental country, with 97% of the nation located in Asia and 3% in Europe.

2. A Turkish is a native or permanent resident of Turkey.

3. Turkish is the predominant language spoken in Turkey.

4. Turkey’s official name is the Republic of Turkey.

5. Turkey’s capital city is Ankara.

6. Simon Peter, Jesus’ disciple, is said to have founded the Grotto of St Peter outside Antioch (now known as Antakya). This makes it the world’s oldest center of Christian devotion. Today, visitors can still visit the church and view remnants of ancient decoration.

7. Mount Ararat is Turkey’s highest peak, standing at 16,854 feet.

8. The Grand Bazaar in Istanbul dates all the way back to 1455, shortly after the Ottoman takeover of Constantinople. It has developed into a maze of 61 streets lined with more than 3,000 shops over the ages and now encompasses a virtually unfathomable 333,000 square feet.

9. Turkey has 13 locations on UNESCO’s list of World Heritage Sites and another 62 on the tentative list. Some of them include a Mesolithic temple (Göbekli Tepe), a battlefield during World War I (Gallipoli), and a Biblical city (Ephesus).

10. Saint Nicholas was born in Patara, far from the North Pole. And he is not the only saint with ties to Turkey; the Virgin Mary’s tomb may be near Ephesus, and Saint Paul was from Tarsus in the south. Among other Biblical personalities born in Anlurfa is the Prophet Abraham. And, following the deluge, Noah’s ark may have run aground on Mount Ararat.

11. The name “Byzantium” originates in Greek and relates to Byzas, the city’s founder. It was renamed “Constantinople” in 324 and Istanbul in 1930.

12. Although Turkey is best known for its coffee, 96 percent of the population consumes at least one cup of tea daily. Turkish tea is powerful, and it is traditionally served in small tulip-shaped glasses.

13. Turkey has the greatest youth population in the EU. Turkey’s average age is roughly 31, and just over 9% of the population is beyond 60.

14. Turquoise is a term that translates as ‘Turkish stone.’ The magnificent material arrived in Europe via Turkey from the Orient and is one of the world’s oldest gemstones. They were originally worn by Turkish troops as amulets.

15. Oil wrestling, often known as grease wrestling, is one of Turkey’s oldest sports. When grappling with oil, the fighters douse themselves in the substance before confronting their opponent.

16. Although Turkish is the official language, the country frequently speaks more than 30 other languages, including Arabic, Kurmanji, and Zazaki.

17. Turkish women might obtain a divorce if their husbands were unable to furnish them with anything as basic as coffee.

18. Tulips were cultivated for the first time in the Ottoman Empire. The seeds of Holland’s tulip obsession were sowed when the Dutch ambassador to Süleyman the Magnificent’s Turkish court returned to Amsterdam with a clutch of tulip bulbs in the 16th century.

Sources: 1, 2

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