Around the World – Turkey

Since September came and went without a visit to a new country, we’ll visit two in October. The first is Turkey – a country that straddles two continents.

 

The Bosphorus Bridge links the Asian and European parts of Istanbul.

 

Turkey, as a country, has  only existed politically since 1923, after the Ottoman Empire collapsed at the end of World War I. But the region, because of its strategic location, has a much longer history, going back to the city-state of Troy and beyond. Here are a few more interesting facts about the country:

  • The city of Byzantium, became New Rome, then Constantinople, then Istanbul. (And is the inspiration of the goofy song “Istanbul” – my favorite version is by They Might Be Giants).
  • Although the country’s religious make-up is almost 99% Islam, the country does not have an official state-recognized religion.
  • Turkey is one of the founding member of the United Nations and is a close ally to the U.S.

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BOOKS:

The Armenians in the Late Ottoman Period

Constantinople: City of the World’s Desire, 1453-1924 by Philip Mansel

Crescent and Star: Turkey Between Two Worlds by Stephen Kinzer

The Goddess and the Bull by Michael Balter

The Grand Turk: Sultan Mehmet II, Conqueror of Constantinople and Master of an Empire by John Freely

A Guide to Biblical Sites in Greece and Turkey by Clyde E. Fant

Hagia Sophia: A History of Constantinople by Patrick Balfour Kinross

The Lost and Found: The 9,000 Treasures of Troy: Heinrich Schliemann and the Gold that Got Away by Caroline Moorehead

The New Turkey: The Quiet Revolution on the Edge of Europe by Chris Morris

Osman’s Dream: The Story of the Ottoman Empire, 1300-1923 by Caroline Finkel

Paradise Lost: Smyrna 1922: The Destruction of a Christian City in the Islamic World by Giles Milton

Reset: Iran, Turkey, and America’s Future by Stephen Kinzer

A Traveller’s History of Turkey

The Turks Today by Andrew Mango

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Or, check out a work of fiction by the noted Turkish author (and winner of the 2006 Nobel Prize for Literature), Orhan Pamuk.

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WEBSITES:

BBC News Profile: Turkey

CIA World Factbook: Turkey

Go Turkey Travel & Tourism

History of Constantinople

Troy

Wikipedia: Turkey

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