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Top 10 Interesting Facts about Turkey

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1: Aesop – The Fable Teller
First in our series of Interesting facts about Turkey is that the famous story teller called Aesop was born on the Black sea coast. The year was 620 BC and Aesop was reported to have been a slave before winning his freedom through quick thinking and wit. His character and personality lead him to become one of the most famous story tellers of all times.

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2: Constantinople - Istanbul
Istanbul is one of the oldest settlements in the world. The Neolithic settlement in Istanbul's peninsula. dates back to the 7th millennium BC. The first known name of Istanbul was Byzantion, which was given by Dorians who established a colony in Istanbul in 667 B.C. Later on the name changed to Constantinople with the death of Emperor Constantine in 337 A.D. Constantinople was also the centre of the magnificent Roman Empire and in its prime; it was classed as the wealthiest city in Europe. After 1453 Constantinople became Istanbul, and was the centre of the Ottoman Empire which ruled many countries for over 600 years. Istanbul also happens to be the only city in the world that is on two continents. Istanbul is now a very modern city, trade and culture center of Turkey, hosting all cultural and historical heritage for thousands of years. (photo from University of Chicago O.J.Sopranos)

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3: Lake Van 
The largest lake in Turkey is Lake Van in the Eastern part of the country. This area is also home to a peculiar breed of cat called the Van Kedisi. This cat is pure white but has the unusual trait of two different colored eyes. The Cathedral Church of the Holy Cross on the island of Akhtamar is also located in Lake Van. The latest story to hit the headlines about Lake Van is the monster that has been seen by locals. This tale sounds very similar to the Loch Ness monster. (photo by Ninotchka)

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4: Self Sufficient
Turkey is classed as agriculturally self-sufficient. This means that it does not rely on other countries for food imports. Turkey is known throughout the world for producing a number of different items including figs, barley, tomatoes, egg plants, green peppers and lentils. Next time, you are in your local supermarket keep an eye for the delicious Turkish exports that line the shelves. 

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5: Secular and Democratic
Turkey is the only secular and democratic Muslim country in the world.  When the Republic of Turkey was formed in 1923, it marked the beginning of a huge change in the country. Turkey become a secular republic and adopted a big change in politics.

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6: Seven Churches of Revelation
The seven churches of revelation mentioned in the bible are all to be found in Turkey. It is said that the seven revelations are related to cities rather than churches and in present day, it is possible to walk around the historic ruins of some of these cities. Most of them are located on the Aegean coast of Turkey.

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7: Coffee
Turkish people introduced coffee to the European nations.   It was first given to the Italian people by the ruling Ottoman Empire in approximately the 1500s. From there it saw a rise in popularity and coffee houses were a familiar site in many European countries. 

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8: Catalhoyuk
Catalhoyuk is the name given to the world’s best preserved and largest Neolithic site. It is said to be over 9000 years old and is located in South East Anatolia near the city of Konya. Excavations started in the 1950’s and are still continuing now as experts take this wonderful opportunity to learn about life on earth thousands of years ago. 

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9: Hazelnuts
The largest producer and exporter of Hazelnuts in the world is Turkey.  It is estimated by the United Nations that Turkey is responsible for over 74% of the world consumption of hazelnuts. Next time, you are eating a chocolate bar with hazelnuts; it is possible that the nuts have come from the lush and fertile lands of Turkey. 

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10: Mark Anthony and Cleopatra
Last in our series of interesting facts about Turkey is the famous love story of Mark Anthony and Cleopatra. It is said, that Mark Anthony gave Cleopatra, a small and secluded bay and island on the South Western shore of Turkey. This is the reason why its name is Cleopatra’s island. This is a pure love story that has survived the decades of time. 

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