- It has one of the world’s oldest and biggest malls.
Istanbul‘s Grand Bazaar, or Kapalı Çarşı, dates to 1455 and was established shortly after the Ottoman conquest of Constantinople. Over the centuries it has grown into a warren of 61 streets lined by more than 3,000 shops and currently occupies a nearly incomprehensible 333,000 square feet.
- You might find the chicken in your dessert.
The signature Ottoman treat is tavuk göğsü or chicken breast pudding. It’s a strange blend of boiled chicken, milk, and sugar, dusted with cinnamon. And it’s delicious. Look for it on menus across the country.
- Turkey is packed with cultural heritage. In fact, there are 13 spots in Turkey inscribed on UNESCO’s list of World Heritage Sites, and a whopping 62 on the tentative list.
- Santa Claus is from Turkey.
Saint Nicholas was born far from the North Pole, in Patara. And he’s not the only saint with connections to Turkey — the Virgin Mary’s resting place could be near Ephesus, while Saint Paul was from Tarsus in the south.
- One of the Mediterranean’s primary sea turtle nesting beaches is here.İztuzu Beach, just west of Fethiye, is a major breeding ground for the endangered loggerhead sea turtle.
- Turkey gifted tulips to the world
It’s uncertain where the first tulips were grown, but what is known is that the Ottomans popularized the flower and facilitated their introduction to Europe.