Surprising facts…no 2

Well the second in the series on some surprising facts about Turkey and this time the theme is religion. Now as we’ve explained previously Turkey’s predominant religion is Islam but it is a democratic Republic and secular state ie by design there is minimal religious involvement in national governance. But there are so many religious layers to the country that you may find some of these facts interesting.

For example did you know that:

  • Virgin Mary spent her last days in Selcuk in Izmir, near the ancient city of Ephesus. That is why the first church dedicated to Virgin Mary is in Ephesus.
  • According to the legend, Noah’s ark landed on Mount Ararat in Eastern Turkey.
  • Turkey was the birthplace of many historical figures including St. Paul the Apostle.
  • The first ever Christian church was built in Antioch, Turkey.
  • The patriotism of the Turkish people is incredibly strong; they see their country flag as a truly holy object, which is why it can be seen everywhere.
  • The Garden of Eden in the Book of Genesis was said to be watered by a river which separated into four streams as it left the garden; two of them the Tigris  and Euphrates rise from the mountains of Eastern Turkey.
  • Early Christians escaping from Roman persecutions found shelter in the honeycombed landscape of Cappadocia inside huge underground dwellings.
  • When Rome began to fall, the Emperor Constantine moved the capital of the empire to Turkey. For a very long time the city was also named after him and became known as Constantinople before it became modern day Istanbul. Constantine was famous for converting to Christianity and Turkey, to this day, is a significant home for Orthodox Christians.
  • St. Nicholas, better known as Santa Claus, was born in Patara just a few miles up the coast from Kalkan. I don’t know if he ever visited our lovely bay (other than every Xmas eve of course) but there is a church dedicated to him in Demre where he became a bishop. Maybe that’s why we have turkey at Xmas? 
  • I know, that’s a rubbish attempt at humour

Next time we’ll have a look at Turkey’s distinctive cuisine I think. If you’ve got any interesting facts about the country’s lovely food and drink do please send them through in the comment box.


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