10 things which you don’t know about Turkey

As you know, we have been hosting one of the first Erasmus groups from Turkey in Teatro Metaphora since mid-December. I was wondering what we really know about the country where our friends come from. Everyone knows where Turkey is and which city is the capital, but do we know anything more?

1. The largest city of Turkey – Istanbul (which did take its name from 1930, earlier the city was called Constantinople) – is located on two continents: European and Asian. The second such city in the world is the Russian Magnitogorsk.

2. Have you ever associated Santa Claus with Turkey? No? And you should! This delectable gentleman with a gray beard according to the report lived at the turn of the third and fourth century. He was born in the ancient Patara on the Mediterranean Sea, near the ruins of which today is the holiday town of Gelemiş. Although he was born in a very wealthy family, he was modest, devout and sensitive to the needs of the poor since childhood. After the death of his parents, he decided to give away all his property. Acting as Bishop of Mira (now Demre) – an ancient city in the southwest of modern Anatolia, he became famous for his miracles and help for the poor and needy. Bishop Mikołaj died on December 6, most likely 346. His body was buried in Mira, where he rested until 1087. His relics were then taken to Bari, Italy. Two years later, his tomb was consecrated by Pope Urban II.

3. The first world beauty contest, which then started the Trojan War, took place on Mount Ida between Aphrodite, Hera and Athena, the judge was Parys. The famous Trojan War itself took place, among others in the northwestern part of Turkey, where the city of Canakkale is today. In the city center you can admire the Trojan horse from the movie “Troy” with Brad Pit.

4. In the city of Anatolia (exactly in the village of Selime) the movie “Star Wars” was recorded. To this day there is a movie town that can be visited. George Lucas shot spectacular scenes of the podium race with Anakin Skywalker and some shots with unusual buildings.

5. The famous words of Julius Caesar “Veni, vidi, vici” were spoken after winning the battle of Zela with the huge kingdom of Pontu in the Black Sea region of Turkey (north-eastern Turkey).

6. Children’s Day is a public holiday and is celebrated on April 23 as “national day of sovereignty and children’s day” in Turkey. The date commemorates the opening of the Turkish meeting in 1921 during Turkey’s struggle for independence. The importance of children’s day dates from 1929 on behalf of the “Child Protection Institution”. In 1986, the Turkish government organized the “National Children’s Festival” on April 23. Every year, on this day, children celebrate “Sovereignty Day and Children’s Day” as a national holiday. It is also a holiday celebrated by citizens, during which all-day ceremonies take place (people working in offices are also free).

7. From Turkey comes a breed of cats called Van, who love to swim and have two different colored eyes. Their rich language also deserves attention. It is because of this ability that Van cats are often called the “talking race”.
The Turkish Van is a natural breed of cats, and therefore it is not the result of crossing. These cats have for many centuries inhabited the areas of Lake Van, which is located in the eastern part of Turkey. They lived in herds, and because the lake was the best source of food for them, they developed features that allowed them to swim, dive and fish. Water was also a great way for Turkish Vans to cool down on hot summer days.

8. One of the symbols of Turkey is the tulip, which is its national flower. Tulips were brought to the Netherlands from Turkey by Ambassador Charles V at the court of Sultan Suleyman the Magnificent, it was in 1554.

9. In Istanbul, there is the historic building of the Sirkeci train station, where the famous Orient Express ran between Paris and Istanbul from 1883 to 1977.

10. Many scholars, philosophers, thinkers, and writers come from Turkey (and the Ottoman Empire), including: Homer was born in Izmir, on the west coast of Turkey, and introduced Troy in his epic Iliad; Aesop, known for his tales and parables, was born in Anatolia. Tales – the famous mathematician comes from Miletus (near Bodrum). The historian Herodotus also comes from Turkey.

And one more 🙂
Turkey supplies 70% of hazelnuts in the world; propably the nuts in your chocolate was most likely grown in Turkey. 🙂

Aleksandra Lelenthal
Volunteer at Teatro Metaphora – Associação de Amigos das Artes
European solidarity corpus  
To know more: https://europa.eu/youth/solidarity_en

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