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Tuesday, November 25, 2014

55 Random Things about Turkey

It has been 29 days of pure joy traveling across Turkey for me. In these 29 days, I have seen one of the world’s most dynamic cities in Istanbul, some of the world’s oldest civilizations in Ephesus, Aphrodisias and Mesopotamia, some of nature’s best rock formations in Cappadocia, travertines and Roman civilizations in Pamukkale, sensational beaches on Turkey’s Mediterranean coast, very original local culture amidst great hospitality at Sanliurfa and Mardin and tasted one of the world’s top cuisines. During this incredible journey, I came across many different aspects about this country that I found very interesting or enlightening and these have been mentioned below to make an interesting read for you. Hope you enjoy it.

1) The language of Turkey (Turkish) finds its roots in Western China, Mongolia and Central Asia.

2) The foods of Turkey and India are very similar. Both of them love their yoghurt, their sweets and their spices.

3) Gasoline price in Turkey is one of the highest in the world.

4) Some of the earliest civilizations can be found in Turkey. 7,000 and 9,000 years old are common for this country.

5) Cost of living is fairly high even for the locals. This is due to its high taxes.

6) People in Turkey are very fashionable. I guess it is their proximity to Europe and frequent travel to Western Europe.

7) At many times, travel by air is cheaper than travel by bus in this massive country.

8) The world’s first place of worship (Gobekli Tepe) is present in today’s Turkey. It was built more than 11,000 years ago.

9) It is compulsory for every male child from the family to serve in the Turkish army for 2 years (if you have an university degree, it is only 6 months). These men are sent off to the army with great gusto and celebrations.

10) Raki is the national drink of Turkey and a Raki sofrasi session is like its pride.

11) A lot of Turkish and Kurdish words are similar to Hindi. This can be due to the fact that all these 3 languages have borrowed heavily from Persian (Farsi) and Arabic.

12) Road infrastructure of Turkey is on par with the rest of the world.

13) Buses in Turkey offer great luxury. They offer in-bus entertainment with internet, free w-fi, toilets (some buses), free in-bus snacks and drinks.

14) Turkey is a very mountainous country, especially in its south and east.

15) Turkey is a great destination to travel as a couple or as a family.

16) Turkey has been home to many ancient civilizations – Roman, Greek, Ottoman, Byzantine, Mesopotamian and much more.

17) Outside of the tourist areas and large cities, people do not speak any language apart from Turkish, Arabic or Kurdish.

18) In the Kurdish areas of the South, the people speak more of Kurdish and less of Turkish.

19) The Southern Eastern part of Turkey is more middle eastern in nature, poorer, cheaper and a little dirtier than the rest of the country. They have stone houses that are similar to those seen in the desert part of the middle east.

20) A lot of places in Turkey receive snow every winter.

21) One can indulge in a lot of adventure sports at Turkey – Hot air balloons, paragliding, scuba diving, snorkeling, yachting and much more.

22) Turkish economy is on a upswing.

23) Clothes and Shoes are surprisingly very cheap in Turkey.

24)  It is a myth that vegetarians cannot survive in Turkey. In fact, the opposite is true. Vegetarians have so much choice that you will have to watch what you eat else your waistline might start bulging.

25) A Sunday Kahvaltsi (breakfast) is one of the grandest breakfasts you can ever do.

26) Istanbul is a far cry from the rest of the country. The rest of the country is more laidback and relaxed.

27) It is very difficult to identify the people of Turkey by their surnames or family names. This is because after they got independent, the government allowed them to choose new surnames. However, it might still be possible to find out if they are left or right wing.

28) Istiklal street of Istanbul gets close to 3 million visitors every day making it one of the busiest streets in the world.

29) Turkey is extremely rich in agriculture. It’s olives, fruits, vegetables, nuts and spices are some of the best in the world.

30) A game of Backgammon and a hot cup of tea is a favorite past time of Turkey.

31) Most of the men and some women of Turkey smoke. Public smoking is not banned and sometimes drivers smoke inside the buses.

32) In spite of Turkey being a Muslim country, most of its citizens consume alcohol.

33) The Muslim women of Western and Northern Turkey dress liberally without any religious hurdles.

34) A lot of men sport a moustache and a beard in Turkey. And that is why barber shops are ubiquitous in this country.

35) Shoe shine vendors can be found almost in every city of this country, especially in the smaller ones.

36) An authentic Turkish Hamam Bath with a good scrub, massage and bubble bath is a rejuvenating experience.

37) There is more Greek history in Turkey than in Greece.

38) There are more cats in Turkey than dogs. In fact, locals tell me that cats are not neutered and their numbers are increasing at an alarming pace.

39) Turkey has snow capped mountain peaks.

40) A lot of houses in Turkey have red tiled roofs.

41) Most of the bank ATMs in Turkey allow you to withdraw Turkish Liras, Euros and US Dollars.

42) Turkey gets a lot of visitors even during its low season.

43) A lot of Turkish people speak Korean and Chinese due to the increasing number of tourists from China and Korea.

44) Most of Turkey has great public transport.

45) Bollywood movies and its Khans are quite popular in Turkey.

46) South Eastern Anatolian region of Turkey is still pretty unspoilt when it comes to big tourist crowds and thus leads to lots of meaningful exchanges with the local population.

47) Kurdish numbering (1 to 10) pronunciation is nearly the same as the numbering in Hindi.

48) The boys and men of Turkey seem to have a fascination for sweaters that have reindeers prints or weaves.

49) The women of South Turkey, especially the South Eastern area are drop dead gorgeous.

50) Hinduism as a religion is a mystery in many parts of Turkey. In fact, a lot of India is still a mystery to most of the country.

51) The man twirling his moustache while maintaining eye contact with a woman indicates that he is interested in the woman and wants a sexual favor.

52) Musical instruments are very cheap in Turkey and gets a lot of customers from neighboring Europe where the same instruments cost a lot of money.

53) Cars are very expensive in Turkey. Due to the high luxury tax, larger cars become more expensive.

54) Tipping is not a common practice in Turkey, but if given, it is well appreciated.

55) Most of the people of this country are very warm and are keen on having a good conversation with you.



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