FIRST TURKEY FIRST: WISDOM COUNTRY OF THE “FIRSTS”
* The first known human settlement is in Çatalhöyük, Turkey (7 Millenium B.C.). Mesopotamia has long heen considered as the first home of civilization in the Old World, about the fifth millennium BC, but the so-called neolithic revolution or transition to so-called agricultural society about 10,000 BC probably occurred first in Anatolia. The origin and ethnic derivation of the most ancient inhabitants of Anatolia are not known, but it is certain that they were among the first if not the first, to have built a city. Before that, between 15,000 and 13,000 BC, we know only of nomadic hunters, as at Lascaux. At Çatal Höyük in the middle of the Anatolian plateau, a cluster of the first real houses was discovered on an area of thirteen hectares. They were constructed from clay bricks, the walls were regularly colour-washed on the outside, and certain of them were covered on the inside with wall paintings, similar to cave drawings but fulfllling an aesthetic function. Linked together in tiers, the upper houses opened onto the flat roofs of the ones below. The fourteen levels built up there correspond to a little more than one thousand years of occupation, from 6750 BC to about 5600 BC, that is to say, during the Neolithic period. These first ‘town dwellers’ were primarily farmers. They lived in family groups of five to seven persons, and were already cultivating wheat and vines, raising sheep and goats, and keeping dogs. They grew and wove flax, and possessed weapons of copper and lead, both for hunting and defence. They also traded with distant countries. At Çatal Höyük objects have been found made of volcanic glass and apatites which were unknown locally. We also know that they worshipped a Mother-Goddess, a goddess of fertility, whose terra cotta statuettes decorated their domestic altars.
* The first Neolithic paintings found on man-made walls are in Çatalhöyük, Turkey.
* Çatalhöyük is a center of “firsts” -first ceramic pots, first mirrors, first examples of woven materials, first wooden bowls, first wallpaints, among many other firsts.
* Writing was first used by people in ancient Anatolia. The first clay tablets – in the ruins of Assyrian Karum (Merchant Colony – date back to 1950 B.C.)
* The first tin mine was found in Göltepe, 60 miles south of Tarsus, Turkey.
* Excavations at more than 50 sites over the last half-century have established the Fertile Crescent of the Middle East as the homeland of the first farmers. This arc of land, broadly defined, extends from Israel through Lebanon and Syria, then through the plains and hills of Iraq and southern Turkeyand all the way to the head of the Gulf Among its “founder crops ” were wheat, barley, various legumes, grapes, melons, dates pistachios and almonds. The region also produced the first domesticated sheep, goats, pigs and cattle. But guestions persist: Where in the Fertile Crescent were the first wheat and barley crops produced? What conditions favored this region? Why was the transition from hunting and foraging to farming so swift, occurring in only a few centuries? New genetic studies suggest possible answers. They pinpoint the Karacadağ mountains, in southeast Turkeyat the upper fringes of the Fertile Crescent, as the site where einkorn wheat was first domesticated from a wild species around 11,000 years ago. The scientists concluded, this is “very probably the site of einkorn domestication. “
* It was, firstly, the Hittites who gave Anatolia the name ‘Asia’ (Assuwa) around 2000 BC; the word gradually came to mean the whole Asiatic continent. It was during the Byzantine era that the Asian territory of present-day Turkey began to be called Asia Minor, to distinguish it from the rest of Asia.
* Some twenty thousand clay tablets discovered at Hattusas were written in these languages and even included dictionaries. They constitute the first State archives of mankind. The existence of these documents, the writing of which must have demanded a great number of scribes, calls to mind the importance that the Turks have always given to archives. Anatolia is the only country in the world whose official archives cover sixteen hundred years of history eight centuries relating to the Hittitesand an equal number to the Turks
* Hittites were among the first to give life to the rule pacta sunt servanda. At the beginning of the fourteenth century BC, the Pharaoh of Egypt attempted to conquer Syria, but he was successfully repelled by the Hittite King Mursilis. The struggle was begun again by Ramses II, ftve years after his accession to the throne of Egypt. In 1299 BC one of the great battles of antiquity took place atKadesh on the Orontes river, between Mutawallis, the son of Mursilis, and the Pharaoh. It was thefirst historic battle which can be reconstructed in all its details. At stake was the domination of the known world, for the great era of the Babylonians had ended, and that of the Assyrians was in decline. The clash between the armies of the two great Empires of the time, Egyptian and Hittite, was tremendous but politically inconclusive. Both parties proclaimed themselves the victors, although only the Hittites could justifiably claim victory, Mutawallis having pursued the Egyptian army as far as Damascus. A reproduction of this first treaty is a feature of the entrance to the headquarters of the Security Council of the United Nations. It is a sign that present-day civilization acknowledges its debt to the Hittites and to Anatolia. The Kadesh Peace Agreement was drawn up between the Hittites, the oldest civilization on Anatolian soil, and the Egyptians and signed by Hattusili III and Ramses II. This is the first written example of a political agreement and is the world’s oldest known peace treaty.
* The fact that the Amazons were horse riders is further evidence of Hittite influence, for it was the Hittites who first used the horse as a means of transport. It is true that this achievemeni is sometimes attributed to the Mittanis, but the credit for the training of horses and their widespread use to this day really belongs to the Hittites. When Homer described the Amazons on horseback, he was referring to the time of ‘TroyVII, whereas on a tablet dating from 1500 BC, discovered at Hattusas, the breeding and training of horses are explained in detail. It is a fact that, wherever mankind has set foot and spread knowledge and culture since those ancient times, he has been accompanied by the horse.
* The Hittites used horses to pull chariots, which were firstly invented by themselves. They were vehicles with two six-spoked wheels, which carried into battle a driver and a warrior armed with a lance. The intervention at Kadesh of fourteen hundred chariots constituted a veritable revolution in military technology which enabled the Hittites to destroy the Egyptian army in a few hours. It is said that the unexpected speed of the result encouraged the Hittites to start looting, thus allowing the fleeing Egyptian forces to turn bout for a surprise counter-attack. The battle thus never reached a decisive conclusion.
* The production of iron was another Hittite contribution to human civilization. At the beginning of the second millennium BC, iron was more valuable than gold. Thanks to simple and efficient techniques evolved by the Hittites, it could be produced at a cost lower even than that of silver. Since then, cheap iron has been used both far the manufacture of weapons and for agricultural and industrial tools, and has allowed enormous development in these two areas. Thus Anatolia reached the iron Age well before other countries. By a curious chance of History, Chinese documents reveal to us that the T’ou Kioue, ancestors of the Turks, were also a people who were very knowledgeable in the processing of iron. The familiarity of the Turks with the technology of iron is illustrated by the legend of Ergenekon: the Turks escaped from imprisonment in the heart of the mountains by melting them down with the aid of bellows they had invented
* Herodotus, the father of history, wrote about a stream, the “Pachtolos that runs from Tmolos through the very center of the Sardis agora and carriesgold flakes. ” The Lydians who lived along this river derived great might and fame from the gold they panned from this stream and they were then thefirst known civilization mint gold and silver coins. Historians described the concept of the wealthy by saying “As rich as Croesus” to describe”Golden Sardes,” the capital city of the Lydian KingCroesus (575-546 B.C.).
* The name of Lydia evokes commerce and money. It was the Lydians who first linked Europe to Asia and Africa by an overland route. They controlled the traffic on the commercial routes of Anatolia, and ran the lodging centres which served them. Commercial activity continued in this region until the middle of the faurth century BC. The Lydian caravans brought lapis-lazuli from the Far East, silver, lead, and timber from the Taurus mountains, and tin from other regions. This trade in raw materials, luxury goods, and finally manufactured products not only encouraged the development of craftsmanship and agriculture but it equally facilitated the intermingling and amalgamating of different Anatolian and surrounding cultures. Towns became cosmopolitan. The wealth created by trade and the production of goods nourished intellectual, scientific, and artistic endeavor.
* The Lydians built the first puhlic parks and opened the first houses of prostitution. It can also be accepted that they were the first to establish a system of lodging.
* The Lydians contributed much to the history of mankind with their implemenlation of the use of coins. The Lydians invented money between 800 and 650 BC, although the fact that the innovation took place in Lydia was probably more the result of the importance of commercial activity in the region than of Lydian genius. The circulation of money in turn gave an exceptional boost to commerce.Consequently one should not overlook the important part which the commercial and economic developments in Lydia played in the birth of the neighboring Ionian civilization. Babylon used a system of weights, but the adaptation of this system to money is a Lydian contribution to civilization. The first coins were in electrum (an alloy of silver and gold) and carried the images of a bull and a lion, emblems which were associated with the Hittites. Herodotus wrot e:” At this time, there was not in Asia Minor a people more courageous or more powerful than the Lydians. They made war on horseback, carried long lances, and were excellent horsemen.”
* The Lydians claim that the Olympic Games, now held among themselves and among the Greeks, were their invention. . . They say that they originated them at the lime that they were colonizing Tyrrhenia. According to Herodotus, it was the Lydian migrants to Italy round 900 BC who became the Etruscans. These were probably sailors attracted to Italy by deposits of metal-bearing ores.
* Lycia is situated at the south-western tip of Anatolia, to the south of Caria. The Hellenes gave it this name at the time of Homer. It is thought that its people were those referred to as “Lukka” in the Hittite documents, and that they were probably influenced by the Luvians. Homer wrote that they were descended from a Hellene, Glaukos, and a Lycian princess, so as to be able in part to attribute the oriğin of the Lycians to the Hellenes. Herodotus himself states that the Lycians were the result of a fusion of an indigenous population with Cretan immigrants brought there by Sarpedon, and regards this version of their origin as a tradition inherited from Crete and Caria. Ephorus, the author (in the fourth century BC) of the first universal history, states also that the immigrant Cretans, after having founded Miletus in Caria, spread towards the interior and the south of Anatolia. It is possible that Herodotus, who was interested in the relationship of the Lycians with Crete, allowed himself to be influenced by Cretan emigrants of his own times. It is more probable that things happened the other way round, and that it was Crete which was influenced by Anatolian emigrants. The Lycian language, which has not yet been deciphered, would also have been an indigenous language, not Indo-European. Philologists are generally in agreement on the Anatolian origin of this language, from which Greek later borrowed part of its vocabulary.
* We observe a particular enthusiasm among West Europeans about the sources of their civilization. Each new discovery has led them to find a yet earlier date for their point of departure in history. Nowadays we see attempts being made to move this point of depariure from Mesopotamia io the Neolithic Anatolia. In the early nineteenth century Western cultural roots were considered io be found in Greece, and Greece only, but as the important influence of Minoan Crete over the Aegean basin became better understood, the claim was later made that it was the Minoans who formed the basis of Western civilization. However, the Minoan civilization in Crete, one of the most remarkable cultures of antiquity, was created by Anatolians. Between 2200 and 1750 BC, which was the middle Minoan period, the first palaces were built, and numerous advances in technology and the arts were achieved. An early hieroglyphic writing came into use in the eastern basin of the Mediterranean. Between 1750 and 1580 BC towns razed by an earth-quake were rebuilt. Colonnades appeared, as did the art of fresco-painting and a new writing, Linear A. Minoan colonies were formed on nearby islands, and trading posts were maintained on distant Cyprus and at old Ugarit on the coast of Syria. The sacred symbols of the bull and the double axe (of Anatolian origin) were extensively revered in the Aegean during this period..
* Phrygians were the inventors of such musical instruments as the flute and cymbals. Many of the animal stories that today’s children love to listen to originated in Phrygia.
* An Anatolian king who has mesmerized the world with his power and wealth was the Phrygian King Midas (725-695 B.C.). The grave of King Midas, whose very touch, according to the legend, could turn everything to gold.
* The influence of Anatolia on the Mediterranean Basin in the Post-Minoan Era: it is known that the Phrygians of Phocaea founded Massalia (present-day Marseilles) at the beginning of the first millennium BC. The French Revolution chose a Phrygian’ bonnet for the head of Marianne. The French word frise, whence the English frieze comes from the Latin Phrygium, ‘Phrygian (work)’ it stands as a memorial to the craftsmen whose traditions were taken up and continued by the Turks.The double knot characteristic of Turkish weaving is called ‘the Gordian knot, from Gordium, capital of Phrygia.
* The Hellenes of the classical period were the first to designate as Pelasgi or Seafarers those who were already living in the region when they arrived, and who had come there by sea. These people probably did not use the name for themselves, though modern historians have continued to refer to them by this title. The Pelasgians, described as being of medium height, brown-haired and swarthy, were neither Semites nor Indo-Europeans. They are generally considered, in spite of their heterogeneity, to be ‘Mediterranean race’. It is also accepted that the Pelasgians were mainly Anatolians who, while keeping Anatolia as their base, were the first civilizers of all the lands of the Aegean basin, including the islands, Crete, and the rest of Greece. This fact enables us to understand the close relatlonship of Crete and the Peloponnese with the Aegean shores of Anatolia, with Troy to the north and Miletus to the south. It is known, for example, that Miletus was founded by the Minoans of Crete, who had retumed to their Anatolian ancestral cradle. Further, it is evident that the Mycenaeans and the Pelasgians/Minoans merged, as did the Hittiteswith the Hattians. If one refers to Herodotus, who defines the Athenians as ‘Pelasgians who learned the new language (Greek) one can understand more fully the significance of their expansion. Unlike their Babylonian and Egyptian contemporaries, the Minoans left little written history – and the writing they did leave is largely indecipherable. Herodotus also states that the Hellenes took their gods from this people.
* Working in gold was one of the arts at which the Etruscans excelled. In the Museum of Etruscan Art at the Villa Giulia in Rome one can see gold filigree bracelets almost identical to those made and sold even now in the historic Grand Bazaar in Istanbul, which are typically Anatolian. The role of the Etruscans in the civilization of Rome has long been just as misunderstood as the contribution made by the Pelasgians to Greek civilization, though Dante did lay claim to having had Etruscan ancestors.
* The ethnocentrism interpretation of history, the tendency to consider the Indo-European Hellenesas the one and only starting point for Western civilization, is in reality merely an expression of cultural weakness. The Greeks formed one ancient society which owed much to the others. Their successes must be measured against the achievements of other peoples, principally those of the Pelasgians. The debt which the Hellenes owe to them has to be recognized.
* The Pelasgians similarly have links with the Maeonians or Lydians. These people emigrated, at a date somewhere between 1000 and 800 BC, towards Umbria or Etruria where they becarne theEtruscans, as Herodotus records. Neither Indo-Europeans nor Semites, they can be numbered among the peoples who, a thousand years before, became the Pelasgians. The Etruscan language, related to that of the Lycians and Lydians, has not yet been deciphered.
* The Maeonians had attained a high degree of civilization long before they emigrated. They brought from Asla the douhle-headed axe-an emblem of royalty, which subsequently became the symbol of State used by high-ranking Roman magistrates. During the eighth century BC the Etruscans formed a large and powerful state in the centre of the Italian peninsula. They built fortified towns, worked in metal, extracted minerals in Sardinia and Corsica, and devoted themselves to a prosperous economy. Women had a high status in their society. Having annexed Rome at the beginning of the sixth century, the Etruscans provided it with three kings, of whom the first and the third were called Tarauin. Tarkhon is the name of an Anatolian god who was worshipped by the Etruscans. It wasTarquin the Old who ordered the construction of Rome’s first drains (the Cloaca Maxima) which are still in use to this day. Urban drainage was a practice that the Anatolians learned from the Sumerians.
* It was in Western Anatolia that man first began his process of intellectual discovery that was to take him out of the darkness of ignorance into the light of critical thought. The science based on a determination of natural laws sprang from observations of natural phenomenon in Miletus in the sixth century B.C.
* Mankind passed from the darkness of dogmas to the sunshine of science with the aid of critical thinking far the first time in western Anatolia. The Milesian pioneers of science recognized that Nature had its own laws and they thus liberated the interpretation of natural phenomena from religious straight jackets and began to reevaluate it with a free and critical contemplation, thus laying the foundations of the natural science that form the basis of the present human civilization. History knows these first Ionian scientists as the Milesian School The light created by the Milesians led to the blooming of an Ionian school during the pre-Socratic period and other Ionian cities also produced thinkers, who have illuminated mankind like the rising sun. Anatolia, “the place where the sun rises,” indeed earned this appellation for the first time with its Ionian pioneers of science.
* The pioneer of the Milesian scientists, Thales, who was both a mathematician and a natural scientist, is famous because the tradition ascribes to him the prediction of the eclipse o n28th May 585 B.C. (Herodotus, I 74). He was among the first to observe the attraction exercised on iron by certain ores in Magnesia, in ancient Lydia. Certain theorems of elementary geometry carry his name. Tradition also has celebrated him as an able engineer far his alleged feat of diverting the course of the river Halys to carry the army of the Lydia king Croesus across it. The foundations of western civilization, whose dominant component is the natural sciences, and especially of the most important source of this civilization, the Greek philosophy, were laid in western Anatolia, in lonia and especially in the home of science, Miletus.
* With the first rational criticism he made, the first rational cosmology he developed, the first world map (pinax) he drew, the first theory of organic evolution he conceived, and the first prose book he wrote on natural sciences, Anaximander, who the tradition says was some fifteen years younger than Thales, appears not only as the rule founder of natural sciences, but as the greatest architect of the civilization of free-thinking humans, who are ready to question everything and everybody, including themselves. Ascription to him of the invention of the gnomon was probably a result of his interest in astronomy. This modest Anatolian, who created a monumental tradition of thought that changed the destiny of mankind, was also the first person who stated that the earth is suspended in void. That this conclusion, which was not based on any observation but was purely a deduction from a local analysis of his friend Thales’ hypothesis, later appeared in the Book of Job (XXVI, 7) in the Bible, testifies to the range of the rays of the sun that had risen in Miletus.
* Anatolia, which means “the place where the sun rises” also gained significance as the place where science was first born thanks to early Ionic scientists, Thales, Anaximander, and Heraclitus.
FIRSTS AND MORE
* The first use evidence of use of glassware in the eastern Meditarranean region was found in the cargo section of a sunken merchant ship as early as 2000 BC, near a southwestern town of Turkey, namely, Kaş. Merchandise included ingots of blue glass formed by pouring molten glass into moulds.
* The first church built by man (Si. Peter’s Church) is in Antioch (Antakya), Turkey. The first church of Christianity was carved in a cave in Antioch and called St. Peter’s Grotto.
* The believers of Christ were called “Christian” for the first time in Antakya. Followers of Jesus were first called “Christians” in Antioch-on-the-Orontes.
* St Paul preached his first recorded sermon in Pisidian Antioch.
* The First Ecumenical Council was held in Nicae (iznik), Turkey. The first eight of the Counsil meetings which have been held 19 times until now, were held in Turkey. Especially, holding of the first and seventh meetings in İznik established the tradition of holding these meetings regularly.
* Virgin Mary spent the last days of her life in Ephesus. The ftrst church dedicated to her is also in Ephesus.
* For many centuries the manufacturing of silk had remained a closely guarded secret in China and the export of silkworms was punishable by death. First in history, in 552 CE, two Nestorian monks succeeded in smuggling silkworm from China to Istanbul and by the early seventh century sericulture was well established in Asia Minor. Silk produciion has developed to excellent levels in the Turkish city of Bursa, one of the Ottoman capitals. The basis of that development was an earlier tradition.
* Coffee introduced to Europe firstly by Turks.
* Cherry was first introduced to Europe from Giresun (Northern Turkey)
* First known inhabitants – the Hattians, the Louvites, the Hurrians. As far as we know, the Hattians (3000BC) were the first distinct race of people tol ive in Anatolia. They left us no written testimony, and our knowledge of the Hattian language comes to us from Hittite or Assyrian sources. According to the indications these provide, Hattian was an indigenous language, different from all other known languages. From its language, its religion,and its art, the Hattian civilization appears to have been one of the most advanced of its time, because the whole of Anatolia was named Hatti. TheHittites, successors of the Hattis, were to inherit their capital, Hattusas, and numerous linguistic and cultural legacies. Before the coming of the Hittites, another civilizing population apperared in the south-west of the peninsula. These people were known as the Luvians, and they lived side by side with the Hattians. If certain hieroglyphic texts found at Hattusas are indeed in Luvian, it can be claimed that their language was Indo-European, belonging, like Hittite, to the Anatolian group. Place names deriving from Luvian are encountered not only in Anatolia, but in Crete, the Aegean islands, mainland Greece, and as far away as Italy, Sicily and the Balkans. Thus, long before the Hellenes, the Luvians appear as the first invaders who, by their influence on the indigenous populations of Anatolia, may have stimulated the flowering of a new culture. Around 2000 BC, the east and the south-east of Anatolia were occupied by the Hurrians, who were neither Indo-Europeans nor Semites. Their civilisation reached its peak about 1700 BC, at which period Aryan warriors established a State called Mitanni. They maintained and radiated the Sumeric-Babylonian cultural heritage for much longer than they kept their political independence. Their language, which was agglutinative, does not fall into any known group. Their principal influence on the Hittites was in transmitting to them some of their religious beliefs. The Hurrian mythology influenced Hesiod and Homer through the late Hittites and the Phoenicians. The Gilgamesh epic, which was found in Hattusha, is a Hurrian interpretation.
The Hittite Empire ultimately encompassed all the population groups of Anatolia, and represented ane of the first civilized societies of its time. It was organized as a confederation, a structure which enabled it first to establish, and then to maintain for eight centuries, the unity of Anatolia, and to protect it from barbarian invasion. In fact, the usual waves of invasions were absent during the Hittite period. It was during this time, therefore, that the territory first appeared as a geopolitical unity on the world scene. For the first time political unity was superimposed on the geographical unity of the peninsula, creating in people’s minds the idea of belonging to Anatolia. I see in this an essential contribution by the Hittites to the history of Anatolia-the establishment and maintenance of itsterritorial unity.
* It is important here to note that populations remote from each other and speaking different languages, such as the Mysians (Pergamum region), the Dardanians (Çanakkale), and the Cilicians (south-east of Anatolia, facing Cyprus), took part in the Kadesh combat alongside the Hittites-a clear sign of Anatolian unity. The Trojan war, which occurred later but which dates from the same century, seems to present certain similarities with the battle of Kadesh. The peace treaty drawn up ten years later undoubtedly has more significance for us than the result of the battle itself. The Egyptian text of this treaty was discovered in Egypt, and a version written in cuniform characters in the Akkadian language, which the Hittites ıısed in international relations, was found in the ruins of Hattusas. Other tablets relating to other agreements show that the Hittites attached a sacred character to these treaties..
* After a further earthquake in 1580 BC, the Minoans began to spread their civilization to the Peloponnese. Until then, little of any significance had been happening in Greece. It was not until about 1600 BC that the first wave of Indo-Europeans, the Achaeans, invaded from the north and created a new centre of civilization at Mycenae, on the plain of Argos, and remained under the Cretan thalas-socracy. It is clear that towards 1400 BC the Mycenaeans, having become rivals of the Cretans,conquered them and occupied their island: their last writing, Linear B, is in Greek. It is possible that they burned Knossos, the Cretan capital. In any case, the Mycenaeans became the sole power in the Peloponnese. These were the people whom the Hittites of the fourteenth century BC called the Ahhiyawa and whom the Iliad designates as the Achaeans. Their expedition against Troy probably marks the zenith of their expansion. A little later, towards 1200 BC, they were in their turn overwhelmed by new invasions of Hellenes coming from the north-the Dorians. The basic difference between the Minoans and the Mycenaeans is that the former left little evidence of violence in their art, while the latter took it as a major theme. Add to that an oral history of death and devastation passed down throughHomer, and a people emerge forever girded for baitle. The Mycenaean Empire crumbled af ter the Trojan war, and three centuries of dark ages bury Greece’s heroic age in myth.
* The influence of the Hittite deities on the Greek gods is quite clear. It was in Crete and Anatolia that the anthropomorphic development of the gods reached its conclusion’s. The cult of the Mother-Goddess, with a dying and resurrected god as consort and son, is very important inCrete. This cult, which was born in Anatolia, spread throughout the Middle East and the West right up until the corning of Christianity. Like so many things Minoan, the cult of the bull symbol -representing strength and fertility – probably came originally from the East. This ‘East’ impliesAnatolia more particularly Neolithic Çatalhöyük, for sanctuaries in Cretan palaces, like those in Çatalhöyük, have bull-horns everywhere frescoes display bulls, and the doors of burial places are filled in with bull skulls.
* The Hellenes inherited from the Anatolian peoples many other important cultural elements such as architecture, metallurgy, fresco painting, etc. I do not believe I am detracting from the Hellenic civilization by observing that, like all other civilizations, it owed much to those which went before. No civilization flowers in a void. It was a piece of historical good fortune that placed at the disposal of the Hellenes the inestimable heritage of the advanced civilizations of Anatolian origin. Those who attempt today to explain civilizations must not display less objectivity than the historians of antiguity, such as Herodotus for example. To do that would be to show a lack of respect both for the rationalist thought left to us by Greece, and for the cultural heritage formed since.
* The flow of migration from Anatolia towards the west has involved other peoples in a similar way. The Sardians colonized Sardinia, and the Sicels settled in Sicily. As to the legend that the Romans were descendants of the Trojans, that could possibly be explained by migrations of Lydian origin.
* One of the Seven Wonders of the World is the monumental tomb built in the sixth century B.C. in today’s Bodrum by the Carian King, Mausolos, for his wife, Artemisia. Mausolos, was an important Anatolian historical character who lived during the time of the Persian Rule. At his death, the ancient world acquired one of its Seven Wonders. According to Pliny,the monumental tomb (the Mausoleum) erected for him by his sister and widow Artemisia in 353 B.C. Due to impact of this colossal structure on the ancient world, the world “Mausoleum” became an architectural term that represents monumental tombs.
* Homer, the father of the classical and Anatolian Archeological works, has immortalized the nearly 50-day period of the 10-year long Trojan War in the Iliad. His renowned works of art, the Iliad and theOdyssey, are the most ancient epics of the history of civilization.
* The oldest and yet most advanced examples of multi-chambered rock hewn burial chamberswere those built by the Urartu civilization.
* Heraclitus, a prominent representative of the great Ionian natura! scientists, was born to the royal family in Ephesus. His statements that “one cannot step into the same river twice ” and that ileverything is in constant flux” have made him famous through the ages.
* Hellenistic civilization developed and thrived on Anatolian soil and left a firm foundation of its culture on these lands. The remnants of the Anatolian-Ionic synthesis which deeply affect the world even to this day permitted the birth and advancement of a civilization which was to come af ter it.
*From the establishment of some of man’s earliest permanent settlements here during the 7th millennium BC, Turkey has long been at the center of developments and trends which have had an impact far beyond Asia Minor. Some of history’s greatest trading routes passed through Turkey: the great arc from Plovdiv to Samarkand and beyond; north-south trade between the lands north of the Black Sea and the Mediterranean.
* The famous Trojan Wars took place in Western Turkey, around the site where the Trojan horse rests today
* Ephesus and Halicarnosus – two of the wonders of the ancient world – are in Turkey.
* Anatolia is the birthplace of historic legends, such as Homer (the poet), KingMidas, Heredotus (the father ofhistory), and St. Paul the Apostle.
* Julius Caesar proclaimed his celebrated words, ” Veni, Vidi, Vici (I came, I saw, I conquered) “in Turkey when he defeated the Pontus, a formidable kingdom in the Black Sea region of Turkey.
* Female goddesses dominated the Central Anatolian pantheon for thousands of years before these supernatural powers were transformed to male gods.
* The Hittites sold Abraham the cave where he buried his wife Sarah, when the Israelites came to Palestine.
* The Sumerian texts constitute man’s oldest known written documents and in the Gilgamesh Epic the term “Garden of the Sun” was used to signify the concept of paradise. As mentioned in the Old Testament, the exact location of this heavenly area was the Anatolian landmass lying between the sources of the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers. “Then the lord God planted a garden in Eden, in the east, and he placed there the man he had formed… A river rises in Eden to water the garden; beyond there it divides and becomes four branches. The name of the third river is the Tigris; it is the one that flows east of Ashur. The fourth river is Euphrates. Old Tesiament. Genesis (2:10-14)” The “Garden of the Lord” mentioned in the Book of Genesis in the Old Testament is called Eden, and is synonymous with “heaven” or “paradise”. In Sumerian sources, the writings of which constitute the world’s oldest written records, this area was called the “Garden of the Sun,” and they believed that this Paradise belonged to the God of the Sun, Shamash. According to the Sumerian Gilgamesh Epic the “garden” was entered by passing between the two summits of Mashu (Probably MountNemrud/Tatvan) which were as high as (the wall of) the sky. The book of Genesis in the Old Testament states very clearly that the land of this paradise lies between the wellsprings of the Tigrisand Euphrates rivers. So the “paradise on earth” is in that area of Anatolia which lies between the sources of these two rivers. During the past several centuries many travelers (e.g. J.P. Tournefort 1656-1708) have come to Anatolia, especially to the area around Mount Ararat, to search for the “Garden of Eden “.
* Patara, the birth place of Santa Claus. St. Nicholas, also known as Santa Clause, was born in Demre, on Turkey’s Mediterranean Coast. St Nicholas or Santa Claus was the sııbstance behind the composite legend, and the source of the gift giving and association with children. St Nicholas was a bishop of Myra in southwest Turkey, and his church still stands just outside the modern town of Demre. He was born in 280 AD in the city of Patara 80 km. away, and died in Myra on 6 December 345. Saint Nicholas was born in Tatara and became bishop in Myra.
* Noah’s Ark landed on Mount Ararat (Agri Dagi) in Eastern Turkey. The last meal on Noah ‘s Ark, a pudding of sweet and sour taste (aşure), is still served throughout Turkey.
* The Apostole St Philip lived in Hierapolis and was martyred there.
* Anatolia is also significant area for Christians and is considered holy
and sacred for many reasons.
* St Paul, one of the 12 apostles of Jesus Christ, devoted himself to the dissemination and expansion of Christianity, was born in Tarsus.
* The Seven Churches of the Apocalypse which were mentioned in Revelations and are located inAnatoüa; Ephesus (Efes), Smyrna (İzmir), Pergamum (Bergama), Thyatria (Akhisar), Sardis (Sart), Philadelphia (Alaşehir), Laodicea (Denizli).
* Saint John lived and died in Ephesus. His grave and the church is in Selçuk, Izmir, nearby Ephesus.
* Turks gave the Dutch their famous tulips.
* Istanbul is the only city in the world built on two continents.
* Tradition in Turkey says that a stranger at one’s doorstep is considered “God’s guest” for at least three days.
* Turkey is noted for having one of the three most famous and distinctive traditional cuisines in the world.
* Modern Europe is a venture of civilization that has evolved over three thousand years, and present-day Turkey at its geographical heart Modern Europe was born in the Eastern Mediterranean with roots in Egypt, Syria-Palestine-Asia Minor, Greece and Italy. This civilization has evolved over three thousand years. Present-day Turkey lies at the geographical heart of the region. It was largely in Turkey that belief in a single God came into being and spread, giving rise to the Judeo-Hellenic synthesis that is central to contemporary civilization. Today, Turkey is home to the most magnificent works of the Hellenistic-Roman era, which are daily reminders of this extraordinary heritage. Indeed, it is a synthesis of the legacies of Ancient Egypt, Mesopotamia and Anatolia.. Civilization began in Anatolia around 6000 B.C. with the Neolithic town of Çatal Höyük. This was followed between 2000 and 1170 B.C. with the glories of the Hittite Empire, comprised by peoples from Mesopotamia, the Caucasus and the steppes of southern Russia, thus creating a fascinating blend of cultural and religious traditions. The importance of the Hittites in the history of the Middle East as a whole is steadily becoming more apparent. Later, Ionia, the west coast of Anatolia, was to emerge as the seed bed of classical civilization and philosophy. In the adjacent province of Caria, a synthesis of ancient Iranian and Greek culture blossomed from the sixth century B.C. onwards. The heritage of the Hellenistic period in Anatolia was later passed on to the Roman Empire in its entirety. When theTurks arrived in Asia Minor in the 11 century, they were already thoroughly acquainted with Roman culture and the spirit of the classical empire, whose institutions they inherited. Both the administration of cities and their names remained practically unchanged. The state sysiem persisted, as did the church, along with its architecture, art and material forms of life. Even the name of the state included that of Rome: the Roman Seldjuk State (Rum Selçuklu Devleti). The fbundation of lslamic civilization and learning in the 9th and 10thcenturies was in fact Hellenistic.
* Many experts on the history of Turkey have considered that the achievements of the Greek andRoman civilizations in Anatolia were greater, both in number and sophistication, than those actually in Greece and Italy. Can it, therefore, be claimed that Anatolia contributed in an original and significant way to world civilization, or was it merely the stage upon which the Indo-Europeansplayed their role of civilizes, while the Anatolian was only the spectator or had, at the very most, a walk-on part? Was Anatolia a crucible in which diverse civilizations fused to give an exceptional cultural amalgam, or was it merely the antechamber of a continent ruled, it was believed, by dark and barbarous forces? Was the Aegean Sea simply a strait separating two peninsulas of the northern Mediterranean, or a terrible abyss isolating from each other two different, hostile worlds, the East and the West? Moreover, what is the East, what is the West? Do the categories ‘Asia’ for the barbarians, and Europe far the civilized and civilizing Indo-Europeans, correspond to reality? These questions gave rise, particularly in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, to misconceptions which we come across even now. Have the civilizations which succeeded one another long ago in Anatolia influenced our present culture? Despite the diversity of peoples who have lived in this land, is there a continuityin its culture? In other words, did the civilizations created by these successive peoples have points in common which are still discernible? We cannot disregard, moreover, the contribution made over thousands of years by the succession of cultures in this land where the Turkish nation has dwelt far centuries. It is evident that our present cultural synthesis has evolved throughout this history as a result of the interaction of the cultural heritage of the land, as well as our Islamic and pre-Islamic cultures. Though it is impossible to assess precisely the influence of geography over the making of the culture, it is nonetheless not negligible, A country’s position on the globe, its configuration, its climate, and the nature of its soils, affect the axes of its politics (hence the term ‘geopolitics’), its economy, and its relationships with the rest of the world. The role played by Asia Minor in Western culture was: primarily determined by its geographical position. Whereas all the Mediterranean peninsulas – Iberian, Italian, Greek-extend from north to south, Asia Minor, alone stretching from east to west, forms a unique bridge. It was this which caused the civilizations arising in theEast in general, and on its territory in particular, to orient themselves towards the West, by way of the Aegean islands. The two high mountain ranges, which follow the coastal line of the Black Sea in the north and the Mediterranean in the south, join the eastern highland mass, which virtually separatesAnatolia from Iran and Mesopotamia, thus creating the geographical unity of the peninsula.Inside Anatolia, however, plateaus, mountains, plains, river basins, and lakes create numerous distinct climatic and microclimatic regions, each suitable far the formation of small kingdoms with different cultures, given the difficulty of communication between regions in the past. In other words, it is the physical features of the peninsula which underlie the Anatolian ‘diversity within unity’. Our knowledge of the exact location and date of origin of the earlier civilizations is not as precise as we might wish.
Turgut Özal, Turkey in Europe, Europe in Turkey
Nezih Basgelen, The Garden of the Sun, Istanbul, 1996
Anna G.Edmonds, The Religious Sites of Turkey, Istanbul, 1997
John Noble Wilford, Tracing Origins of Farming, International Herald Tribune 20.11.1997
Pasabahçe A Brief History of Glass