Turkish Culture
is unique in the world because it has influenced and has been influenced by various civilizations for centuries. Although rich and diverse, its roots are in Middle East, Anatolia and Balkans, the cradle of many civilizations. This culture combines elements of the Ottoman , European, Middle Eastern and Asian traditions. Ottoman Empire was a multiethnic one, and the republic which succeeded it is also a transcontinental country, European and Asian. As Mustafa Kemal Ataturk transformed a religion-driven Ottoman Empire into a modern nation-state with a strong separation of state and religion , a corresponding increase in the methods of artistic expression arose. Because of the different historical factors defining the Turkish identity, the culture of Turkey combines efforts to be "modern" and Western, with a desire to maintain traditional, religious and historical values. It is one of few countries that contain every extreme of Eastern and Western culture together with the fusions between the two.

unlike the cigarette is smoked not to relieve tension but to enjoy good company, to think and to while away time. It will remain popular as long as people are in search of ways to relax amidst the modern day stresses.

(Turkish Bath) The historical Baths built by the Sultans were made of marble. They were fine pieces of rich and ornamental architecture. Today what you find in the cities are more functional Baths, but they are still a great experience. a steamy hot bath.

Turkish coffee
(Turk kahvesi) is not merely a beverage that you have in the midst of a busy day to have your daily caffeine fix. It is a way of life for the Turkish people and quite central to their social customs. Both men and women socialize over coffee in Turkey and coffee houses are a central place for meeting. Coffee houses in Turkey have become social institutions where men gather to meet, talk and exchange views on different topics. It is interesting that you can have your fortune read from the coffee remains in the cup. After finishing the coffee, you should overturn your cup along with the mud. The pattern formed by this remaining ground coffee can tell you much about your future. This fortune reading is called `fal` and is still practiced among women. If you visit any of the coffee houses in Turkey, you may be served the American style coffee so ask for Turkish coffee and specify which way you like it: sade (without sugar), az sekerli (with a little sugar), orta (slightly sweet), or cok sekerli (very sweet).

Turkish Delight
(Lokum) is a delicacy which is a national institution, and tourists made it famous all over the world. It is a flavored sweetmeat or a candy, prepared from starch and sugar, filled with dry fruits or nuts. It has a sticky texture and comes in cubes with powdered sugar on them. It usually accompanies tea or coffee.

Evil Eye
(Nazar Boncugu) is a stone bead worn to protect oneself from evil looks, envious and greedy eyes and it can be worn in a neclace or a bracelet. There is probably no culture in the world, which is free from the superstitions, but in Turkey, this amulet is almost like a national symbol. Some form of this belief is present in every culture of the world. We always talk of cold, mean or cruel eyes. The Nazar Boncugu is blue and the old Anatolian belief is that it is actually the blue color of the stone, which holds the protecting power and absorbs the negative energy.
The evil eye pendant is attached to anything that can attract envy, in front of a house, office or inserted into its foundations, hanging from the neck of newborn child...
What is more, there is no religious bar in the use of the evil eye pendant.

Turkish flag
is red, with a white crescent and a star dominate the foreground. It is referred to as `Ay Yildiz` (moon star). The flag is extremely important and well respected in Turkey, that sometimes it may seen exagerated. You can see it everywhere around and all year long. It is a representation of the national proud and independence.

Turkish cuisine
Bread is the main item in a Turkish meal. Borek is a special pastry where thin sheets of dough are layered with cheese, meat or vegetable mixes, folded or rolled and then baked. Pilav, another main dish, is fine-grained rice cooked in butter with meat or vegetable meals. The typical Turkish meat item is Kebab. The popular varieties are the `sis` kebabs and the `doner` kebabs. Sis kebabs are grilled pieces of skewered meat. Doner kebabs are made by stacking alternate layers of ground meat and sliced leg of lamb and grilling them over a slow fire. The dish served is generally an `Izgara` or a mixed grill dish consisting of lamb chops, `sis kebabs` and `kofte`. `Kofte` is ground meat mixed with spices, eggs and onions, shaped into balls and then fried or boiled. Among vegetables, eggplants are a special favorite. Olive oil is generally used for cooking. A special Turkish food item is `Dolma`. Vegetables are stuffed with rice or spiced meat fillings and cooked in olive oil. `Dolma` is eaten with yogurt sauce. Meze is a starter that accompanies alcoholic drinks. Slices of honeydew lemon, fete cheese with bread, dried and marinated mackerel, savory pastry and cold vegetable dishes are generally served as meze.

Turkish tea
Drinking tea is a way of life in Turkey. Black tea can be drunk at any time of the day or night. If you visit a Turkish home, you will surely be offered a cup of tea because it is an integral part of their culture. The Turks always drink their black tea, glass after glass. It is served in small glasses. You can see the color of the tea through the thin glasses. The tea should be crystal clear and of a deep mahogany. Sugar cubes may be added but milk is a strict no. Very strong tea is poured into the glasses and it is then topped up by cutting it with water to make it as strong or light as you choose. You can have `acik cay` light tea or `koyu cay,` the stronger variety. The tea is hot, so make sure you hold the glass by the rim or you may burn your fingers. The sight of cheerful `cayci` or tea-waiters carrying trays of tea is a sight that will greet you everywhere in Turkey. Turkish tea is healthier than most others because no pesticides or chemical additives are used for its production, and it does not contain too much caffeine.

Eau de cologne
(Kolonya) In Turkey, it is an important tradition to offer cologne, usually the lemon one, during guest visits, on bus trips and in restaurants. During holiday family gatherings and on funeral days it has also become something like a ritual. If you have chance to visit a Turkish house, the first thing you will be offered is Cologne and candy. This is meant to refresh a guest who is just off a trip and to help eliminate the outdoor germs from hands. The candy that is offered with the Cologne, represents the Turkish belief that a sweetened mouth will open a sweet conversation.

Kilims and carpets
are a remarkable tradition maintained by women of Anatolia for hundreds of generations. Turkish mothers and daughters maintained this mysterious handicraft for the last thousand years as Turkish tribes settled in Anatolia. The majority of pieces represent geometric and stylized forms, and if you are lucky enough to meet a carpet expert in Turkey, you can hear a lot about the history of carpet and kilim handweaving and the meaning of symbols that appear on them. Foreigners find it very interesting to watch women creating this art in workshops.

Ceramic arts
Hand painted ceramics in Turkey are among the finest quality in the Mediterranean. The rich colors and designs prove great artistic talent. Many craftsmen and women in Turkey have dedicated themselves to a revival of the ancient traditions of Ottoman ceramics and have rediscovered the secrets of materials, glazing and colouring. They are produce great examples of the original designs, hand-painted in individual ateliers following the ancient tradition.The quality of the work is great, the design very free and imaginative, and used colours are bright and dramatic. Figural art is very rich in tiles, adorning both secular and religious reliefs monuments. The subjects include nobility, servants, hunters, trees, birds, lions, sirens and double-headed eagles.

(Sunnet) is among the most significant traditional procedures related to the child in Anatolia, andit represents boy’s passage from childhood into manhood No parents ever wish to break away from this custom. People who have not been circumcised at the socially acceptable age are usually humiliated and criticized. Nowdays, it is more a tradional than religious act, and it is celebrated usually during summer. That day, a boy is dressed and treated like a king and gets presents, usually a gold coin. It is one of the most important days and celebrations in the life of a male in Turkey.

Henna party
(Kına gecesi) is an occasion which ocurres the night before the wedding, usually at bride’s home, and assembles mostly females, bride, her friends and female relatives. Bride wears heavily embroidered dress or costume and her face is covered by red veil. The henna would be brought on a silver tray with two burning candles by the groom's relatives. The bride and her friends, carrying lit candles, approach the guests while coins are scattered over the bride's head as symbols of fertility. Fruits, nuts and candies are given. Special songs are then sung in an attempt to make the bride cry, in belief that it brings good luck. Then, the bride sits on a cushion and her mother-in-law places a gold coin in the palm of her hand, which is a symbol of good luck and abundance. Finally, a woman known to have a happy marriage covers the palms and fingertips of the bride with henna. The bride's unmarried friends also tinge their hands with henna, believing this would help them to get married soon





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