.“The use of traveling is to regulate imagination by reality, and instead of thinking how things may be, to see them as they are.” – Samuel Johnson
Things I’ve Learned In Turkey
It’s hard to find turkey in Turkey ( but I found one in a cage at the caravanserai on the silk road).
Skembe (tripe soup) is a popular hangover cure.
If a hotel in Turkey has a good personality, it is not five-star.
The tulip originated in Turkey and was exported to Europe during the Ottoman Empire. There are tulip tiles in many of the old mosques. (Rustem Pasha Camii , Istanbul)
In some villages, if a girl doesn’t know weaving and a man cannot make pottery, they shouldn’t get married.
Most Christians were illiterate in the time of Constantinople. Now Turkey has a literacy rate of one hundred per cent.
Fresh Turkish bagels in Istanbul are better than Jewish bagels in New York. Pastirma is Pastrami in Turkish. It does seem strange having amazing pastrami and bagels in Turkey. ( no mustard or cream cheese)
The world’s tallest man is Turkish (8 feet 1 inch).
Turkish toilets are like Japanese toilets.
Hillary Clinton and I both stayed at the Lugal in Ankara,
People can go into any mosque in Turkey.You do not have to be a member of a mosque –even on the Bayram (high holidays).I happen to be in Istanbul on the Bayram ( last four days of the Muslim calendar). On the first day ( while many Muslims are in Mecca) according to the story of Abraham sacrificing his son, livestock is slaughtered and shared with the poor, friends and relatives. Traditionally the skins are given to the Turkish Airforce to make jackets. Every part of the lamb must be used for God. It is a holiday for visiting the sick, elderly, honoring the dead and giving to charity. It is a bloody day in the villages. I ate some amazing lamb meatballs wrapped in phyla dough in honor of the holiday. ( Uc Serefeli Camii, Edirne)
The highest peak in Turkey is Mount Agri (5,166 m). It is also said to be the place where Noah’s Ark came to rest.(Mount Ararat)
It was in ancient Anatolia that writing was first used by people. The first coin in the world was minted in Turkey as well.
Anatolia is the birthplace of Homer, King Midas, Herodotus and St Paul the Apostle.
Turkey is the only secular Muslim country among all the Muslim countries in the world. The thirteen countries surrounding Turkey are unstable. “You take Iraq, Iran and Syria and we will take your problems.”
Pide is Turkish pizza. Pita is not. (Nar Lokantsi restaurant, Istanbul)
It is better to read a book about Ataturk written by a foreigner because it will be unbiased. Turks worship him and rightly so – He is responsible for the way Turkey is today. (Ataturk memorial, Ankara)
Turks accidentally became Muslims. They started as shamans and encountered Islam on their way to Turkey.
Restaurants connected to gas stations in Turkey are delicious. Don’t try this in the U.S. ( If you are headed to the ancient Greek city of Pergamon stop at Saglam Restaurant – Mehmet Saglam -Bergama)
We are luckier than the ancient Greeks because we got to take a cable car up a very steep hill to the Acropolis of Pergamon. We are also lucky that it wasn’t windy.
Turkish people take care of the old, sick and homeless in their families. If someone is homeless, the Turks blame the family for not taking care of them. If they don’t help them “they put them in the fire.” I think I saw one homeless person in the time I was there. Where was his family?
According to a Global Sex survey, Turkey is the world’s most virile nation.
I like the name Turkish Delight much more than the actual candy. I like the green m and m pistachio candies a lot.
Don’t tell a Greek or Turk this but their food, dessert, liquor , coffee, evil eye jewelry, prayer beads, backgammon sets and seaside resorts are very similar.
If you are a woman, the only establishments that you need to be aware of are the Turkish tea houses. If you are in doubt look around and see who else is in there.
Some hotels in Turkey have airport security. Airports have double security, first to come into the airport and then to go on the plane.
A hotel that cannot be run worse can have a restaurant that can be run best.
In a Hammam (Turkish baths), the Turkish women and children wear bathing suits. The foreigners do not . If you did not know this and you end up in a small hammam with Turkish families, it can be awkward.
Julius Caesar proclaimed his celebrated words, “Veni, Vidi, Vici” (I came, I saw, I conquered) in Turkey when he defeated the Pontus, a formidable kingdom in the Black Sea region of Turkey.
You can still get on the 6:00 car ferry from Gallipoli across the Dardanelles to Cannakale if you arrive at 5:57. (Cannakale morning)
Zeus was born on Mt Ida. King Priam sent his son Paris there to grow up with the bears.
Turkish carpets have double knots which make them the strongest carpets in the world. Seeing how carpets are made are a big part of Turkish culture.
Hand woven carpets are dyed naturally. Red – rhubarb, pomegranate; brown –wet walnut, blue-indigo, yellow-saffron, orange-onionskin and green –sage. (gallerycappadocia.com)
The Turkish government subsidizes the carpet industry. Carpets are shipped anywhere in the world for free. Yes, I took advantage of that and also the best price for a beautiful dowry rug. (made by a village girl)
The most valuable silk carpet in the world, is in the Mevlana Museum in Konya with 144 knots per square centimeter. In the 13th century, Marco Polo wrote “the best and handsomest of rugs are woven here, and also silks of crimson and other rich colors”.
Turks introduced coffee to Europe but they do not grow coffee. Their coffee is famous for the way it is prepared. One of the few words I learned in Turkish ( a very hard language for me) is “tsekeses” – no sugar.
The property rates for homes are quoted in dollars and not Turkish lira.
According to Turkish tradition a stranger at one’s doorstep is considered “A Guest from God” and should be accommodated accordingly.
Mother in-laws in Turkey are smart. They know they have to get along with the daughter in-laws. Daughter in-laws in Turkey are smarter, they know they have to respect the mother in-law.
Turkey provides 70% of the world’s hazelnuts; the nut in your nutella was most probably grown in Turkey.
If you happen to be on the road to Iraq and Syria, stop off in Cappadocia.
In Turkey, you can change continents several times a day. In one day, you can be in Troy, Mesopotamia, Byzantium and Constantinople.
The most important thing to bring to Turkey is pants with elastic waistbands. The food is amazing. It is a combination of Middle Eastern/ Mediterranean.
The Famous Trojan Wars took place in western Turkey, around the site where a wooden statue of the Trojan Horse rests today. There is another wooden horse that was sold to the city of Cannakale (nearby) from the Hollywood movie Troy. I saw both fake Trojan horses.( Troy, Troy, Heinrich Schliemann excavation at Troy, Cannakale-Trojan Horse from the movie Troy)
Part of Turkey’s southwestern shore was a wedding gift that Mark Anthony gave to Cleopatra.
The are eight million Kurds living in Turkey. They are not all terrorists. The ones who are, control the drug trade through Turkey.
Iranians and Turks are not considered Arabs.
Gallipoli was the bloodiest battle in World War One. It was an eight month campaign. In that time the total Allied deaths were 43,000. The total Turkish deaths were 63,000. Many Australians and New Zealanders died there. (ANZAC forces) Many come to Gallipoli on April 25 which is ANZAC day. I met a few Australians in Cannakale who had come to see it. There are many memorials and cemeteries in the Gallipoli memorial park. (ANZAC memorial, location of fighting).
Quote on the Ataturk Memorial at Gallipoli ” Those heroes that shed their blood and lost their lives! You are now lying in the soil of a friendly country. Therefore rest in peace. There is no difference between the Johnnies and Mehmets to us where they lie side by side here in this country of ours. You, the mothers, who sent their sons from far away countries wipe away your tears; your sons are now lying in our bosom and are in peace. After having lost their lives on this land they have become our sons as well.” Ataturk 1934
Whirling dervishes fascinate me. Belonging to the order of Sufism, they dedicate themselves to a life of poverty and spinning around. They detach themselves from the here and now, to reach a state of religious ecstasy that I think can be achieved in easier ways. Also, whirling dervishes are slow.
Turks do not throw their own garbage away in Starbucks or McDonald’s.
The opera and the ballet are state-owned and not as popular as soccer.
There are no images in mosques because God is unseen. The ban on images of people led to the development of the detailed and beautiful calligraphy that is the principle adornment of mosques and other Islāmic religious items. (Eski Camii, Edirne, Hagia Sophia, Istanbul, Sokullo Mehmet Pasa Mosque, Istanbul)
The only thing you have to do in Turkey is accept a drink every time it is offered. ( This will happen in every shop you walk into. It is very time-consuming but pleasant -especially if you like apple tea or Turkish coffee).
for more info see
Top Ten Favorite Things in Turkey
Things I Have Learned In Istanbul
Top Tem Meals In Turkey
Things I Have Learned in Ephesus
I am “very good lucky” to have been on this trip.
Tsekkeru Edarim Turkey, Fly Safe ,