Turkey is a country that holds great importance to the Muslims of what was once British India and now Pakistan. Turkey was the last frontier of the Ottoman Empire, with a history that links back to Asia.
Here is a list of some surprising facts about our Turkish friends you might not have known about:
1. Hagia Sophia – at one time was the Eastern version of the Vatican that is in Rome – the Makkah of Eastern Catholics until it was taken by the Muslims during the middle ages
Constructed in 537, the Hagia Sophia was a Greek Orthodox cathedral and was the Patriarch of Constantinople until 1453 when it was turned into a mosque until 1931.
2. Hazrat Abu Ayyub Ansari – was the first Muslim to lay siege to Istanbul – he was hundred years old when he was martyred
Hazrat Abu Ayyub Ansari also had the honour of being the first whose house the Holy Prophet stayed in when he first arrived in Medina. Hazrat Abu Ayyub Ansari’s shrine is in Turkey located in a place called the Golden Horn by the sea. The shrine itself is known as the “Eyup Sultan”.
3. The State Bank of Turkey – built with the money sent from the Khilafat movement in 1923
During the time that South Asia was in turmoil and the Muslim League was fighting to create Pakistan, Turkey was also going through its own rough patch. The Ottoman Empire was ending, and The Republic of Turkey was born. Unfortunately, it did not have enough funds. The Muslims of India helped raise the reserves needed to set up the State Bank.
4. Naval Ships running on land – The first time was in Turkey by the Golden Horn
It was during the siege of Constantinople when Mehmed II ordered his troops to lay down greased logs to make a road across Galata to get his ships to the Golden Horn. This order was given after his ships were forced to stop as the defenders of Constantinople had ‘chained off’ the Golden Horn.
5. Famous Dutch Tulips are actually from Turkey
Carolus Clusius, a famous biologist from Vienna, was the one who brought the mesmerizing colors of the Tulip to Netherlands in the 17th century from Turkey.
6. The Trojan wars took place in Turkey in Hisarlik near the Canakkale province
Archeological research shows that the city of ‘Troy’ is the site that is referred to as Hisarlik. Whether or not the war between Agamemnon and Troy’s King Priam actually took place, no one can say for sure, but the city of legend has been found to be real.
7. Istanbul is the only city in the world that is in two continents – Asia and Europe
The city of Istanbul has a part in Europe as well as in Asia. The two parts of the city are separated by the Bosphorus Strait, where the European side is where most of the tourist attractions are while the Asian side of Istanbul is far more relaxed and resembles a suburb.
8. The King Midas – the King with the golden touch, lived in Phrygia – which is now western Turkey
According to legend, the King had asked for the ability to turn everything he touched to gold, his wish was granted. In his vanity, he lost everything and eventually died of starvation.
9. It is from the Aegean region of Turkey where the concept of money was started by the Lydian King in 640 BC
The Lydians were the first to mint coins to making trading between countries easier, rather than continuing the old barter method.
10. It is believed that the Ark found on Mount Ararat in Eastern Turkey is Hazrat Nuh’s
Many religious groups believe that this is the site of where Hazrat Nuh’s ark ended up after the flood that changed the world.
Did you know these things about our friend Turkey?