25 Interesting Facts about Turkey

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Last updated: January 24, 2019

Want to know more about Turkey? Here are 25 Interesting Facts about Turkey that you probably didn’t know before reading this!

To make this even more fun, I want to challenge you as well. How many of these Turkey facts did you know before reading this? Share your result in the comment section!

1. Turkey has the highest consumption of tea per capita

Did you know that around 96% of the total population drinks at least 1 cup of tea per day? It’s estimated that Turks consume 3 kilos of tea per person a year. 

So, if you visit Turkey, then you shouldn’t miss out on a traditional tea experience!

2. Half of the country’s population is under 30

It’s a young population in average where 23,4% is under the age of 14, and more than half of the total population is under 30.

Only 8.5% of the population is older than 65.

3. Turkey is home to the Kebab

Internationally, the Döner kebab is probably the most famous, but in Turkey, they have several kinds of kebab. It was here they invented kebab, and the Turks are still the best ones to make it!

Adana Kebab

Photo: Shutterstock

4. Istanbul is the only city built on two continents

This ancient city is mostly located on the Asian continent, but a few percentages of the total city area is also located in Europe, which makes it unique since it’s built on two continents. 

READ MORE:  35 Reasons why you should visit Turkey

Istanbul was also known as Konstantinopel under the Roman Empire. 

5. Oil wrestling is the national sport

Also known as grease wrestling is considered to be a national sport. The wrestlers will douse themselves with olive oil before they take on their opponent. 

Oil Wrestling

Photo: fulya atalay / Shutterstock.com

6. Coffee was introduced to Europe by Turks

As a Swede, I’m very thankful for coffee, and while its origin isn’t Turkish, they still introduced the coffee to Europeans back in the 16th century. 

7. The country is self-sufficient

About 49,7% of the Turkish territory is dedicated for agriculture. They don’t need to rely on importing food from other countries. In fact, there’s an abundance of figs, tomatoes, and aubergines

8. Agriculture is said to have begun here

So, you just learned that almost half of the country is made up of agricultural land, but there’s more to it. Historians believe that agriculture started here in Turkey, more than 11 000 years B.C. 

Maybe it’s not as surprising when you look at this farmer and the giant salads, but it’s definitely one of the most interesting facts about Turkey! 

Turkey facts

Photo: MehmetO / Shutterstock.com

9. Santa Claus was born in Turkey

St. Nicholas, which is commonly referred to as the Santa Claus wasn’t born in the North Pole, but in Patara in the Southwestern part of Turkey. This is just one of many interesting facts about Turkey!

10. The Evil Eye amulet is the most bought Turkish souvenir

In Turkish, it’s known as nazar boncuğu, and it’s meant to protect against the evil eye and other harmful spirits. This symbol is also found in many other countries where the Ottoman Empire was present. 

READ MORE:  25 Amazing Places to Visit in Turkey

The tradition of making this type of glass art with the evil eye nazar is said to go back at least 3000 years. 

Evil Eye

Photo: Shutterstock

11. Mustafa Kemal Atatürk is a national hero

Throughout times there have been many strong leaders and war chiefs in the different empires that have ruled this area. The most recent one is a national hero that unified the country and founded what is known as modern Turkey. 

Mustafa Kemal Atatürk was the first president from 29th October 1923 until his death in 1938. 

12. Turkey is the largest producer of hazelnuts

Hazelnuts comes from the Corylus tree and they are loaded with nutrients such as magnesium, vitamin e, healthy fats and much more. It’s also a great source of antioxidants. 

Turkish facts

Photo: Shutterstock

13. Tünel is the world’s second oldest underground railway

Only the underground of London is older than Tünel in Istanbul. It was opened the 17th of January 1875, and today it’s still operating between the areas Karaköy and Beyoglu.

14. Ankara is the capital of Turkey, not Istanbul

A lot of foreigners who aren’t familiar with the country thinks that Istanbul is the Turkish capital. But that’s actually not the case. It’s the biggest city in Turkey, but the capital is Ankara. 

15. Home to more than 82 693 Mosques

You might already know that 99% of Turks are Muslims. But you probably didn’t know that there are as many as 82 693 Mosques in the country. 

Blue Mosque

Photo: Shutterstock

Bonus Fact

Turkey has the 7th largest number of social media network users in the world despite the fact that the country is only the 37th largest country in the world with around 80,8 million inhabitants.

READ MORE:  35 Reasons why you should visit Turkey

Facebook, for example is very popular here. 97% of the population uses Facebook, and the Turks are known as the most active users. 

5 x Fun Facts about Turkey and the Turks

  • Turkish people eat more than three times their own body weight in bread annually
  • Most Turks did not have surnames until a law was passed requiring it in 1934
  • Tulips were introduced by Turkish traders in the 16th century
  • A few hundred years back, Turkish women could legally divorce their husbands if they didn’t provide them with enough coffee
  • Turkish food is spread worldwide and has inspired dishes for thousands of years
Tulips

Photo: Shutterstock

5 x Turkey Facts for kids

  • The Turkish alphabet is Latin-based, not Arabic
  • The Tulip is the national flower 
  • The Grey Wolf is the country’s national animal
  • 99% of Turkey’s population are Muslims
  • The legendary city of Troy is said to be located here
Troy horse

Photo: Shutterstock

General Facts about Turkey

Below are some general info such as total population, land area, biggest lake, highest mountain and other general facts about Turkey that might be interesting to know.

  • Total Population: 80,810,525 
  • Capital: Ankara
  • Life expectancy: 75,76 years.
  • Highest Mountain: Ararat (5137 meters)
  • Land area: 783,356 km2  (302,455 square miles)
  • Largest Lake: Lake Van
  • National Day: 29th October
  • Government: Unitary presidential constitutional republic
  • President: Recep Tayyip Erdoğan
  • Currency: Lira (TRY)
  • Official language: Turkish
  • Religion: 99% Muslims
  • Official Website: mfa.gov.tr
  • Member of Nato: Yes
  • Member of EU: No
  • National song: “İstiklâl Marşı”
  • Time zone: UTC+3 (FET)
  • Country Number/Prefix: +90
  • Country Code: TR

Turkey Map

Below you can see the country and its territory marked in yellow on the map. 

Turkey map

Photo: Shutterstock

The Turkish Flag

Turkish flag

Biggest Cities in Turkey

  • Istanbul
  • Ankara
  • Izmir
  • Bursa
  • Adana
  • Gaziantep
  • Konya
  • Antalya
  • Kayseri 
  • Mersin

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How many of these facts about Turkey did you already know? Share your result in the comment section below!

January 20th, 2019|

THANKS FOR READING MY BLOG

Swedish Nomad

Hello! I’m Alex Waltner — A Swedish Travel Blogger & Photographer.

My vision with this blog is to inspire people to travel more and better by sharing useful travel guides and tips from my adventures around the world.

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One Comment

  1. La Reina Monique 01/24/2019 at 5:57 am - Reply

    Hi Alex, I knew only 5 facts about Turkey before reading the post. Thanks for posting because I will visit this year!

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