Every year when Thanksgiving rolls around, there’s one thing on people’s minds: turkey. Yes, that tasty bird — and all its trimmings — occupies our minds until it’s time to eat.
But what about that other Turkey? You know the one. The Turkey with a capital “T.” What are we talking about? The country Turkey, of course!
What better time to learn about Turkey than around Thanksgiving? Do you know much about Turkey? For starters, check out this map of the world with Turkey highlighted to get an idea of exactly where it’s located.
Known officially as the Republic of Turkey, Turkey is a very interesting place from a geographic standpoint. Located both in Western Asia and Southeastern Europe, it is bordered by eight countries: Bulgaria, Greece, Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Iran, Iraq and Syria.
By land area, it is the 37th largest country in the world. It is also surrounded by several prominent bodies of water, including the Mediterranean Sea, the Aegean Sea and the Black Sea. The Turkish Straits (made up of the Straits of Bosphorus and the Dardanelles) and the Sea of Marmara also mark the border between the continents of Europe and Asia. Most of Turkey (97%) is located in Asia.
Most of the people in Turkey are Muslims, and the country’s official language is Turkish. The Turks first migrated to the area in the 11th century. The name “Turkey” comes from the Medieval Latin word Turchia, which means “Land of the Turks.”
Beginning in the 13th century, the entire area was part of the vast Ottoman Empire, which finally collapsed after being defeated in World War I. Occupied for a while by the victorious Allies, the modern Republic of Turkey was established in 1923 under Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, who led a successful resistance to the Allies.
Today, Turkey is a popular tourist destination, given its location, natural beauty and historical and archeological sites. With access to seas and beaches and long summers, Turkey makes a great destination for those looking to relax.
Mountain climbers, hikers and skiers can also find plenty of places to enjoy amongst Turkey’s mountain ranges. Religious visitors often come to see sites connected to the many world religions that intersect in Turkey, particularly Islam and Christianity. For example, Turkey’s highest peak — Mount Ararat — is believed to have been the resting place of Noah’s Ark.