Turkish Culture

Turkish culture

Turkish Culture

Turkey’s unbelievable cultural éclat will get under your skin the moment you set foot in the legendary Istanbul. From there, embark on a journey through time, experiencing the best of rich Turkish culture.

Turkey can easily be considered at the forefront of the world’s cultural diversity scene. Western shapes and sounds blend with expressions of the Anatolian spirit, giving rise to a culture that almost anyone can relate to. You will find chaos, beauty, dynamism, and a deeply felt morale hidden in the fabric of everyday life in Turkey. The major contributed to its unbelievably diverse cultural heritage are the Republican, Ottoman, and older Byzantine traditions. Based on values of unity and family, Turkey has a wide eye on the Western world nowadays, bringing in any element that will make it all the more fascinating.

Find joy in the beautiful mix of Istanbul’s multi-ethnic palette, and move on to the more serene Cappadocia for tales even older than the Ottoman. From there, head to the dazzling Mediterranean, where influences from the southern part of the continent will warm your heart. You will see that everything slows down here, and everyday hustle leaves its place to laid-back vibes.

Turkish culture

Eating & Drinking

“There is no shortage of resplendence in the world-famous Turkish cuisine—smoking kebabs, myriad olive-oil dishes, and heart-stopping sherbet desserts await.”

Food is one of the cornerstones of Turkish culture, with every region from the Mediterranean to Anatolia bringing its own unique touch to the table. The result is evocative, mouth-watering, and utterly irresistible. Every meal is a ritual that will make your tastebuds go mad. The essentials in every Turkish kitchen are local and Middle Eastern spices, olive oil fresh from the age-old groves of the Aegean, and meat from the local livestock. Turkish people do love meat dishes but don’t worry, vegetable dishes are also dinner staples.

If you wish to eat like a local, start your meal with a hearty soup, which often delivers the best of Turkish legumes. The main dish is usually some form of meat, accompanied by grains like pilaff or bulghur. Salads and yogurt are essentials and generally come as compliments the of house. There is always bread on the table and the Turkish are actually proud of their bread. You will find countless varieties across the country. Traditional Turkish breakfast is a must-try. Local varieties of cheese, tantalizing breakfast dishes including the appetizing Turkish pasty, and the heart-warming Turkish tea… You will have an unforgettable culinary experience.

Street food is not Turkey’s best game. Simit, or Turkish bagel, is the main event, and you will find more teahouses and breweries than food stalls in the bustling streets. They are truly the heart of Turkish culture, where families and friends come together to exchange a few words. The tea is astounding, but beyond that, these are the best places for some people-watching.

Turkish culture

Unique Crafts & Shopping

Istanbul alone is at the vanguard of the global shopping culture, with bustling bazaars and colorful marketplaces appealing to every taste. But beyond the irresistible charm of the City of the World’s Desire, you will find hidden nuggets of excellent stores and stalls in every destination you are visiting in Turkey. The main essence of the crafts and shopping in Turkish culture is all about the artistry that has been brewed on the rich lands of Anatolia for centuries.

When in Istanbul, the must-visit place for the ultimate crafts scene is the Grand Bazaar. It works whether your shopping style is luxury or on the more bohemian side. Most of what you will see in jam-packed quaint little shops are manufactured, but their origins go back to the most valued hand-crafted items in Turkish history. Ottoman fashion finds soul in the intricate jewelry, while older traditions come in glittery lamps, rustic antiques, and dazzling rugs. You can find these more authentic items in the local shops of Cappadocia, as well. The highest quality Turkish kilims weaved rugs meet customers at great deals.

Don’t spend all your money on fashion and home decor. Turkey’s edible delights pop out at every corner and give travelers a sensory overload. The most iconic ones are Turkish delight, the bitter and aromatic Turkish coffee, organic olive oil from the fertile Aegean region, and some ready-to-go desserts such as baklava. For spices, head to the exotic Spice Market, also known as the Egyptian Bazaar. The best spices of the Middle East and Levant end up here. A visit to the modern shops of Balat and Galata are also very rewarding to get a taste of Istanbul’s contemporary artistry scene.

  • Takeaway: The way to the Turkish vendor’s heart is through a heartfelt smaltalk and overall kindness. Be yourself, have a chat, and don’t push things in a serious manner while bargaining. It is an essential part of Turkish culture, so you have chance to have yourself a remarkable discount.
Turkish culture

Religion & Etiquette

Turkey is called the cradle of civilizations for a reason. Nestled within its borders is the heritage of countless cultures and religions. From the Greek Orthodox to the Assyrian Jacobites, a number of religions still live on these lands, but the main religion of Turkey is Islam. Muslim people belong to different doctrines under Islam, each having its own reflections in Turkish culture. Since before the Ottoman times, Islam has shaped Turkish culture to a great extent, from house manners to social etiquette. Respect towards the elderly is key, and hospitality is considered the core of Turkish society. No matter where you are coming from, you will always find help and kindness if you ask for it.

Turkey’s immense spirit manifests itself best during the holy month of Ramadan, and the Eid el-Fitr following it. During Ramadan, Muslim Turkish people fast from dawn to dusk and celebrate their patience with a jaw-dropping feast called “iftar”. You may find that the opening times of some restaurants shift during this month, but if you come prepared Ramadan is one of the best times to experience Turkish culture.

A great number of Muslims in Turkey are conservative, which means you may want to practice caution when visiting sacred sites, most importantly, mosques. Excessive displays of affection in public between any gender are frowned upon in most parts of Turkey. However, you will be comfortable in the tourist destinations that you are visiting, such as Istanbul and Cappadocia. Avoid commentary on religion if you don’t wish to offend anyone. Other than that, Turkish people are quite tolerant and sociable towards foreign travelers.

Turkish culture

Festivals & Events

“Turkey has a great selection of annual and seasonal festivals that will fill your insides with warm feelings—it all depends on your taste and when you are traveling.”

Thanks to the contemporary evolutions in Turkish culture, there is a joyous event happening on every corner all the time, especially on the Mediterranean coast and in Istanbul. These are great for making your night memorable. As for annual festivals, they are the driving force of Turkish culture. Eid el-Fitr, or the Sugar Feast as Turkish people call it, is a time of giving back and celebrating life. Children are not the only ones to receive sweets! You will have enough Turkish baklava and delights for one life. The Persian New Year, Newruz, is similar to this in size and spirit. If you are traveling on March 21, celebrate the coming of spring and experience Turkey’s Central Asian heritage.

One of the cultural events that are tourist-pleasers is Istanbul Tulip Festival which will make the Dutch jealous. These tulips are of some of the highest quality in the world. Tulips have had cultural significance for Turkey since the Ottoman Empire. Take away what you can from the cultural background of this refreshing event and enjoy the bewitching odor in the lovely Emirgan Park. Another event taking hails Turkey’s natural beauty is Cappadocia Balloon Festival, which takes travelers on a magical journey in the air in July. Hot air balloons float over the mystical fairy chimneys of Goreme for a few days.

When it comes to modern arts, music, and theater, there is no place in Turkey that does it better than Istanbul. You can fill a free evening with stunning jazz or classical music shows, or masterful plays brought to the stage by Turkey’s most talented. There is always room for spontaneity in this electrifying city.

Turkish food

Turkey Food Guide

Check out our Turkey Food Guide for the tasty local dishes and drinks you must try.

the best places to visit in Turkey

Turkey Travel Advice

Everything you need to know about traveling to Turkey is in our Turkey Travel Advice guide.

Solo Travels

Are you traveling alone? Check out our Solo Travels page for detail.

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Why Book With Travel Talk

At Travel Talk our passion is providing unforgettable adventures and unique experiences for, and with, avid travellers like you. That’s why we only run tours to the most breath-taking destinations which we specialise in. Each tour is designed to take you to the heart of a new authentic culture.The wellbeing and safety of our passengers, staff and communities visited have always been our utmost priority. We are committed to ensuring your peace of mind with our enhanced Safe Travels protocols and Special Flexible Conditions, so that you can book and travel with confidence.

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