Top facts about Turkey

There are many things that spring to mind when we think about TurkeyOttoman architecture, colourful bazaars, Turkish delight and stunning beaches. But when you look beneath the cover there are a bunch intriguing discoveries to be made about this culturally-rich country. From wonders of the world to turtle hatching spots and homegrown hazelnuts – lets take a look at what makes this country so special.

1. It's a Eurasian country

We might think of Turkey as European but it’s actually 97% Asian, with the two continents being separated by the Sea of Marmara and two straits called the Dardanelles and Bosphorus.

Istanbul straddles the territorial divide as the world’s only city spanning two continents. You can now cross continents underground on the Marmaray metro line that was opened in 2013, passing under the Bosphorus strait to and from Istanbul.

2. A Silver award in world's best beaches

Ranking second in the world for its number of Blue Flag beaches, Turkey’s shorelines have a lot to be proud of. At last count Turkey had a whopping 444 accredited sand spots plus 21 marinas. Acclaimed for their high water quality, cleanliness and environmental standards, Antalya makes up a big percentage of this total, with this area alone boasting 201 Blue Flag Beaches. One of the most famous is Patara Beach near Fethiye, which has some interesting claims to fame. It’s the longest sand spot in the Mediterranean at 18 kilometres, it’s home to endangered caretta caretta turtles and it’s the birth place of Santa Nicholas – Father Christmas to you and me.

3. The grandest market in the world

The biggest, the oldest and the most visited – Istanbul Grand Bazaar is a world-beating market. With a 31,000-square-metre area containing more than 3,000 shops, you can see how it attracts over 91 million visitors each year. You’ll need plenty of time to get round the shops but fortunately they group similar products together. This way you can head straight for the areas you like, whether that’s clothes, carpets, Turkish Delight, spices or anything else on sale.