Here are some facts about Turkey that you might not have heard before.

Turkish cuisine

Almost every city in the country has its own cuisine. It might be worth checking what local specialities there are before visiting in order to prepare your responses if your host offers to introduce you to a certain dish.

For example, not everyone’s stomach will agree with şırdan, an Adana speciality, which resembles a small haggis.

Mention Bursa to many Turks, and the first thing that comes to mind will be the city’s signature dish, İskender Kebab. Made from sliced döner meat on pita bread with tomato sauce and melted butter, İskender was invented in Bursa in 1867.

Drinking tea

Turks have one of the highest rates of consumption of tea in the world. The average Turk drinks about 1000 cups or glasses of tea a year.


The harem is often associated with the palaces of the Sultans during the Ottoman Empire as exotic rooms full of beautiful women.

The word actually comes from the Arabic ‘haram’ and is also found in Turkish. It means ‘forbidden’ or ‘illicit’ and refers to the private quarters of a Muslim household where the women live and look after the family and children. Men were traditionally forbidden from this private sphere.

Dolmuş minibuses

  • Dolmuş is the Turkish word for filled, stuffed or full, and the word is used for the shared taxis or minibuses that operate in Istanbul and elsewhere in Turkey.
  • The verb dolmak means ‘to fill’.
  • Dolma is a popular starter in Turkish restaurants. It refers to vegetables and vine leaves ‘stuffed’ with a rice-based mixture.

Tulip – the emblem

The tulip is the emblem of the Turkish Culture and Tourism Office. .It is worth mentioning that tulips were originally cultivated in Persia, then came to Turkey and from there to Holland in the 16th century.

Diyarbakır – City wall

At 5.5km long, the city walls of Diyarbakır are the second longest walls in the world after the Great Wall of China. The city, in the east of Turkey, is also known for its energetic celebrations of the Persian new year, Nevruz, which include jumping over bonfires.

Oil wrestling, a traditional sport

One traditional sport throughout Turkey is wrestling, and it comes in many forms, from oil wrestling in Thrace to ice wrestling in north-eastern Turkey. With oil wrestling the wrestlers cover themselves with olive oil.The annual Kırkpınar tournament, which is held in Edirne in Turkish Thrace, is the oldest continuously running sporting competition in the world, dating back to 1362.

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