Monday, May 13, 2013

Week 43: Turkey

Let's talk Turkey...

No, not the poultry, the wonderfully historical country on the border of Asia and Europe.  In fact, the country's largest city, Istanbul, is the only city in the world that is in 2 different continents.  Cool fact.  Istanbul has also been the capital at one time or another of the Roman Empire, the Byzantine Empire and the Ottoman Empire!!  Sometimes, though, it went by the name Constantinople.  These days the capital of Turkey is Ankara (39.91° N/ 32.85°E), the second largest city in the country.  Because of the importance of Istanbul in the course of history, the who's who list of famous people born in or having lived in Turkey is very impressive. 

Here are just a few-
St. Nicholas
  • King Midas - the same one with the golden touch? I'll check.
  • St. Nicholas - the one and only Father Christmas was born in Demre on the Mediterranean coast.
  •  St. Paul the Apostle
  • St. Peter - built the first Catholic church (in Antioch)
  • Aesop- the famous storyteller and fable writer
  • Mary, the mother of Jesus, lived in Turkey in her later years.
Turkey has also been the setting for quite a few historical and biblical happenings.
  • It is said that Noah's Ark landed on Agri Dagi (Mt. Ararat)
  • Mark Antony is said to have given his new wife, Cleopatra, a section of the Turkish shore as a wedding gift.  Supposedly, he even had Egyptian sand imported for the beach.
  • The oldest writings have been found on clay tablets from 1950 BC and the oldest human settlement, in Catalhoyuk, dates back to 7500 BC.
  • 2 of the 7 wonders of the ancient world are located in Turkey.  They are the Temple of Artemis at Ephesus and the Mausoleum at Halicarnassus. 
The Temple of Artemis
  • The legendary city of Troy and the site of the Trojan Horse battle was in western Turkey.   
On top of all that history, the country of Turkey is also responsible for introducing the world to one of my faves- COFFEE!!  Thanks Turkey- I owe you one!!

The Netherlands can also thank Turkey for introducing tulips to them and we can all thank them for producing over 70% of the world's hazelnuts.  Unless you don't like hazelnuts. 

All in all, Turkey is proving to be a pretty awesome country to learn about this week!  I can't wait to get started :)

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