Fascinating facts illustrating Turkey' s rich heritage and contributions to the world


The oldest known human settlement in the world is located in Catalhoyuk, dating to 6500 B.C. Theworld's first landscape painting was found on the wall of a Catalhoyuk house, illustrating the volcanic eruption of nearby Hasandag.


The first coins ever mintedwere produced at Sardis, the capital of the ancient kingdom of Lydia, at the end of the seventh century B.C.

Two of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World stood in Turkey - the Temple of Artemis at Ephesus and the Mausoleum at Halicarnassus, Bodrum.


Catalhoyuk - Konya

Turquoise Coast

Celcius Library - Ephesus Ancient Site

The Gymnasium at Sardis - Izmir

St. Nicholas Church - Demre

St. Peter's Grotto - Antakya


Anatolia, the Asian portion of Turkey, is the birthplace of many historic figures and legends, such as the poetHomer, King Midas, Herodotus (the father of history) and St. Paul the Apostle
Many archeologists and biblical scholars believe Noah's Ark landed on Agri Dagi (Mount Ararat) in eastern Turkey. 

Istanbul is the only city in the world located on two continents - Europe and Asia. During its more almost 2,000-year history, it has been the capital of the Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman Empires.

The rise of Christianity - St. John, St. Paul and St. Peter lived and prayed 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 Meryemana Evi on what is now Bulbuldagi (Mount Koressos). It remains a popular pilgrimage site for Christians to this day.

The Seven Churches mentioned in the Book of Revelation - Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia and Laodicea - are all located in Anatolia.

A cave known as the Grotto of St. Peter, or Church of St. Peter, is believed to be where St. Peter preached when he visited Antioch (Antakya in southern Turkey). It is considered to be one of the earliest Christian houses of worship. In 1963, the Papacy designated the site as a place of pilgrimage and recognized it as the world's first cathedral. Every year on June 29, a special service held at the church is attended by Christians from around the world.

The word "turquoise" comes from "turc," meaning Turkish, and was derived from the beautiful color of the Mediterranean Sea on the southern Turkish coast.

The most valuable silk carpet in the world is in the Mevlana Museum in Konya. Marco Polo's journeys in the 13th century took him to Turkey, and he remarked that the "best and handsomest of rugs" were to be found in Turkey.

The Dutch got their famous tulips from Turkey. Bulbs were first brought to Europe from Istanbul in the 1500s and became so popular that by 1634 Holland was infected with "tulipmania" - people invested money in tulips as they now do in stocks. In the early 18th century countless tulips of all varieties adorned Istanbul. It was a period of peace, lavish entertainment and creativity now referred to as "The Tulip Age", and the tulip remains a symbol of Turkey.

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.

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

Turkey has almost as many species of wild flowers as the rest of Europe combined - more than 9,000 species, nearly 3,000 of which are indigenous only to Turkey.