Top 10 Facts You Probably Didn’t Know about Istanbul & Turkey

# 10.

During the Middle Ages in the Ottoman Empire, Istanbul had over 1.400 public toilets in the city, while there weren’t any even at the palaces in France or any other European cities.

# 9.

Agatha Christie wrote her famous novel “Murder on the Orient Express” at Pera Palas Hotel in Istanbul. The Simplon-Orient Express – the “kings of trains and train of kings” – ran between Paris and Constantinople (Istanbul) from 1883 to 1977. She was one of the passengers of this famous train.

# 8.

Istanbul has the third oldest subway in the world, built in 1875. London subway was built in 1863 and New York subway five years later, in 1868.

# 7.

Istanbul has been capital of the Roman empire, the Byzantine empire, the Latin empire and the Ottoman Empire. Yet today, Ankara is the capital of Turkey.

# 6.

Four bronze horses which are decorating the San Marco Cathedral in Venice today were taken from the city by the Crusaders in the 13th century.

# 5.

The first church built by man (St. Peter’s Church) is in Antioch (Antakya), Turkey. The Seven Churches of Apocalypse are all situated in the Aegean region of Anatolia; Ephesus, Smyrna (Izmir), Pergamum, Thyatira (Nazilli), Sardis, Philadelphia (Alasehir) and Laodicea.

# 4.

St. Nicholas, also known as Santa Claus, was born in Patara and became the bishop of Demre, on Turkey’s Mediterranean coast.

# 3.

Sultan Beyazit II dispatched the Ottoman Navy to bring the Jewish people who were expelled from Spain in 1492 and they were brought safely to the Ottoman lands.

# 2.

Noah’s Ark landed on Mount Ararat (Agri Dagi) in Eastern Turkey. The last meal on Noah’s Ark, a pudding that is sweet and sour (asure), is still served throughout Turkey.

# 1.

The Turks introduced coffee to Europe. They also gave the Dutch their famous tulips.

Picture of Hagia Sophia church in Istanbul under snow by