You probably didn't know Turkey's real name, you might have been confused about which city is the capital, and you probably thought tulips came from the Netherlands. It turns out, you were probably wrong. There is a lot more to Turkey than meets the eye - between the beaches and bustling markets lies a wealth of interesting history filled with religious and literary figures, civil war and a multitude of languages. Here are 20 facts about Turkey you probably never knew.
1. Turkey isn’t called Turkey. It’s actually been called the Republic of Turkey since 1923.
2. In 1503, Leonardo da Vinci submitted plans for a bridge across the Bosphorus – it was never built.
3. Turkey is responsible for 80% of the world’s hazelnut exports.
5. The first ever Christian church to be built by man was in Antioch, Turkey.
6. Santa Claus (St Nicholas) was born in Patara, Turkey.
7. Most Turks didn’t have surnames until 1934.
9. Turkey was the birthplace of historical figures such as Aesop, Homer and St. Paul the Apostole.
10. There are dozens of minority languages in Turkey, and education in Turkish or Kurdish is available for all.
11. More journalists are imprisoned in Turkey than any other country.
13. Turkey’s Istanbul Tunel is the world’s second oldest underground railway – it began operation in 1875.
14. Turkey’s Black Sea coastline stretches for 1650km. That’s the same distance as Paris to Berlin.
15. „Çekoslovakyalılaştıramadıklarımızdan mısınız” is the longest word in Turkish.
Source: 101languages.net > It roughly translates to: "Are you one of those people whom we couldn't make to be originating from Czechoslovakia?"
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17. Despite the appearance of camels at holiday resorts, there is no desert in Turkey and there are no native camels.
18. An old Turkish tradition says “a stranger at one’s doorstep is God’s guest for at least three days.”
19. The Turkish alphabet doesn’t include “X” or “Q”, but has other letters as the dotless “i” instead.
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Learn more and explore Turkey with the Rough Guide to Turkey.
Top image © Viacheslav Lopatin/Shutterstock