Turkey is one land that forever beckons travel buffs with its off beat offerings of spectacular routes and under explored landscapes and attractions. Following are some of the best facts about Turkey that you need to know to satiate your travel yearning mind and spirit.
MAGIC AND MYTH
- Turkey is the land of delights. Magical and mystifying, the Eurasian country is famed as the birthplace of the beloved Santa Claus. Christmas owes all its allure to Turkey!
- The ever beautiful, blooming Tulips might grace the crown of being the national flower of the Netherlands, but the flower is actually a happy Turkish native.
- “Turkish Delight” is one wonderful offering form the gracious land. A divine whipping up of the most selective ingredients will sum up your dessert experience while in Turkey. And for the candied touch to this utterly delicious offering, this is also one of the oldest sweets in world history.
- Sweets occupy an integral part in Turkish tradition. So while it’s natural that births would be celebrated with sweets, it is unavoidable that sweets can mourn deaths too!
- Noah’s Ark have fascinated our minds for generations. But what is more wondrous is the fact that the last meal on the ark is still served all across the country. A sweet and sour pudding called ‘ashure’ (Turkish aşure) is one dish embedded in history, with a humongous list encompassing at least 40 ingredients.
- America owes its famous invention of ‘Jelly beans’ to the Turkish Delight, locally known as lokum. Seems like Turkey is indeed the ‘Turk’ of sweets!
- Turkey is particularly famed for its outrageous consumption of tea. With an average consumption of 10 cups per day, tea rules the cuppa culture in the country. Interestingly, the Turkish word for tea is çay (pronounced “chai”). The Indian connect!
STEEPED IN HISTORY!
- However, it’s not just the food that makes Turkey one of the awesomest countries on earth. Women in Turkey have always been revered, and the country is one among the first to have granted the right to vote to the Turkish females. For all of this and so much more, Turkey has all our adulation.
- But for a country so ingrained in equality and rights, it is surprising that Turkey allows for surprisingly limited access to freedom of the press. Annually, Turkey imprisons more journalists than any other country in the world.
- Turkey also has the distinction of being home to one of the world’s oldest bazaars. Istanbul’s Grand Bazaar (Kapalı Çarşı) was established in 1455, shortly after the Ottoman conquest of Constantinople. 61 streets lined by more than 3000 shops spanning an area of almost 33,000 square feet. With a footfall of over 91 million people, the Grand Bazaar was ranked the world’s number 1 attraction in 2014.
- The famed ‘King of trains and train of Kings’, the Simplon Orient Express is a luxury private train that makes the last stop at the Turkish city of Istanbul.
- And while Turkey is very much every tourist’s delight, the country offers all reasons to be so. With more than a dozen spots dominating the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites, Turkey is the sixth most visited tourist destination in the world.
- The second oldest and till this date continuously running underground railway, the Tunel in Istanbul allows for Turkey to be a country with a secret underground link of routes. How very fantastical!
- Turkey is a pretty land with natural wonders dotting its landscape. With unique mineral springs, the Cotton Palace or “Pamukkale” is one truly spectacular sight to behold while on a visit to Turkey.
- Turkey is also a land resplendent with flora and fauna. With 10000 plant and 80000 animal species, the country ranks amongst the world’s 35 biodiversity hotspots.
THE INDIAN TWIST
- And while Turkey is a country that remains very much steeped in history and breathtaking delights, the Eurasian land can also be a land of anecdotes. With the delectable Turkey sprucing up Christmas meals, the bird and the nation are sometimes confused. But even then, what held our interest is that the Turkish word for the eponymous bird is ‘Hindi’, courtesy popular belief that the Turkey is an Indian local!
- And while all may be done and dusted off in Turkey with this one fact, it remains a startling revelation that bargaining occupies an important place in Turkish ‘culture’, much like in the Indian psyche!