Turkish Trivia – Unknown Anatolia

Turkish Trivia - Unknown Anatolia

Turkish Trivia – Unknown Anatolia and more fun facts about Turkey. Rich in history, culture and architecture. It has everything from blue waters, snowy mountains and underground cave cities. The people are friendly and the food is healthy and appetizing.


Istanbul is the only city in the world located on two continents, Europe and Asia.  The city divided in two by the Bosphorus River. The west bank lies on the European continent while the east bank is in Asia. The Galata bridge connects the two continents. Only 3% of Turkey is in Europe. The rest is in Asia and is called Anatolia.

Turkey is mountainous, one quarter of the country is higher than 4,000 feet.

The word “turquoise” comes from “Turc” meaning Turkish. The word was derived from the beautiful color of the Mediterranean Sea on the southern Turkish coast.

Antalya in southern Turkey has the highest number of “Blue Flag” certified beaches in the world. The blue flag is awarded for highest water quality, beach cleanliness, and highest environmental standards.


In its 2,000 year history, it has been the capital of three recent empires. The medieval Seljuk empire, the Byzantine (the eastern half of the Roman Empire), and the Ottoman Empire.

Ancient History

The oldest known human settlement in the world is located in Catalhoyuk. It dates to 6500 B.C.  The earliest landscape painting in history was found on the wall of a Catalhoyuk house. Illustrating the volcanic eruption of nearby Hasandag.

Two of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World stood in Turkey. The temple of Artemis at Ephesus and the Mausoleum of Halicarnassus in Bodrum.

Julius Caesar pronounced his famous words, “Veni, Vidi, Vici” (“I came, I saw, I conquered”) in Turkey when he defeated Pontus, a kingdom of the Black Sea region of Turkey.


Turks introduced coffee to Europe during the Ottoman raids in the 16th century.

The first coins ever minted were done so at Sardis, the capital of the ancient kingdom of Lydia, at the end of the seventh century.

Turks first gave the Dutch their famous tulips that started the craze for the flower in England and the Netherlands.  Bulbs brought to Vienna from Istanbul in the 1500s were so intensely popular that by 1634 in Holland it was called “tulip mania.”  People invested money in tulips as they do in stocks today.  This period of elegance and amusement in 17th century Turkey is referred to as “The Tulip Age.”

The most valuable silk carpet in the world is in the Mevlana Museum in Konya.  Marco Polo’s journeys in the thirteenth century took him here, and he remarked that the “best and handsomest of rugs” were to be found in Turkey.


Turkey has 82,693 mosques, more than any other country per capita in the world.

St. John, St. Paul, and St. Peter all lived 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 (Meryem Ana Evi) near Ephesus.

Whirling Dervishes are followers of the mystic Rumi. The ‘Sema’ or whirling is part of a meditative ceremony. It which represents the spiritual ascent of mankind.

A cave known today as the Grotto of St. Peter, or Church of St. Peter, is believed to be where the Apostle Peter preached when he visited Antioch (Antakya in southern Turkey). 

Legends From Turkey

The poet Homer, King Midas and Aesop (the Greek storyteller from Thrace) were all from Turkey. The Greek historian Herodotus was born in Bodrum.

St. Nicholas, known as Santa Claus, today, was born and lived in Demre (Myra) on Turkey’s Mediterranean coast.  The village contains the famous Church of St. Nicholas with the sarcophagus believed to be his tomb.

Mustafa Kemal Atatürk was  the founder of the Republic of Turkey. He was the first President in 1923 and died in 1938. He introduced political, economic and and cultural reforms.


The first man ever to fly was Turkish.  Using two wings, Hezarfen Ahmet Celebi flew from the Galata Tower over the Bosporus to land in Uskudar in the 17th century.


Many archaeologists and biblical scholars believe Noah’s Ark landed on Agri Dagi or Mount Ararat in eastern Turkey.

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

The Hagia Sofia was the largest cathedral in the world for nearly a thousand years. Following the Ottoman conquest in 1453, it became a mosque. Now is it a museum.

We hope you enjoyed Turkish Trivia – Unknown Anatolia. If you are inspired, please see our tours and some links below:


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