Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Istanbul, not Constantinople

Things I used to associate with the country Turkey:

1. This silly song, that is very catchy by The Four Lads - originally released in 1953, covered by They Might Be Giants in the early nineties...

2. Turkish delight (a disgusting jelly like candy sold in squares, dusted with icing sugar) comes from there.

3. The country's name is synonymous with the festive food (read dead bird) centerpiece at Christmas and Thanksgiving

4. The country's name can be used as an insult, by calling someone 'a turkey' - implying stupidity and simpleness...

5. They made it into the International news for wars, violence and corruption over the years..

That's about it really.


1. Turkey is bordered by 8 countries! Greece, Bulgaria, Georgia, Armenia, Azerbijan, Iran, Iraq, Syria (and even Cyprus if you count that...)

2. It is divided into 81 provinces and is very different geographically and culturally across the provinces

3. Turkish is a completely unique language - unlike Arabic or the European languages

4. Turkey is a Muslim country but in the cities it is rare to see women covered up, and drinking is completely accepted

5. Turkey has amazing tourist areas, and even an area called the Turkish Riviera that is made up of a series of south facing bays, that are tourist magnets every summer - complete with great beaches, restaurants and nightclubs (some of the best in the world - Ibiza has nothing on the southern Turkey nightclubs!)

6. Istanbul was the capital city of the Roman, Latin and Ottoman Empires

7. St. Nicolas (later known as Santa Claus) was born in Patara, Turkey

8. Istanbul is the only city in the world built on two continents!

9. Abraham (of biblical fame), Aesop and Homer were all from Turkey

10. 70% of the world's hazelnuts come from Turkey

11. It is illegal in Turkey to make fun of Turkishness (can you imagine?)

12. Mustafa Kamal Ataturk, who founded the Republic of Turkey in 1923 is the country's hero, and his image is displayed EVERYWHERE - homes, boardwalks, businesses, bars - everywhere.

13. Turks have a long standing rivalry with the Greeks

14. The island of Rhodes in Greece is closer to Turkey than to the Greek mainland

15. Parts of Turkey are absolutely beautiful - mountainous, warm, lakes, lagoons, beaches, and numerous famous ruins dot the countryside.

Last but not least - I recommend a visit by all!
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Miss Footloose said...

So you are back! Looks like you had a great time in Turkey. I liked reading your list of facts. No mention, however, about Turkey's relationship with their neighbor Armenia . . . What if anything, have you heard the Turkish people say?

The pale observer said...

Well I WAS focusing on my tan, and copious amounts of food and drink, so I admit I may not have taken the opportunity to get into any political discussions! Seriously no one said anything to us about Armenia or the relationship... Do you hae insights?? :)

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mangotree said...

Turkish delight is not disgusting. I love it and I had copious amounts of that and other lovely turkish sweets during my visit to Istanbul a couple of years ago.
Turksh food in general is really good.

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