To summarize Turkish culture and traditions in one article is impossible because the diversity of heritage across the country varies and other cultures such as Greek, Armenian, Georgian, and Arabic practises have been woven in throughout history.
Turkey is one of the fastest growing tourism destinations in the world, a truly fascinating country, culturally and historically, a great place to visit. Beautiful beaches, outdoor activities, natural wonders, blue voyage tours, historical places and religious sites, shopping alternatives, entertainment and nightlife, world heritage sites and more. Turkey has so many fantastic things to do and see for visitors.
- The Flag and Founder of Turkey
Turks are extremely proud of their history and heritage. On Turkish public holidays, the Turkish Flag hangs proudly from windows, balconies and between street lamps.
Most shops and offices also permanently display a profile picture of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, who formed The Turkish Republic, In most town centres, his statue has been erected.
- Turkish Tea
Contrary to popular belief, Turks only drink their version of coffee on a few days during the week. Instead, the national drink is tea, served black in tulip-shaped glasses and sweetened with sugar according to the drinker’s preference. A common feature in most villages, towns, and cities are the men only teahouses where they gather to drink tea and play games such as OK. Otherwise, tea gardens are popular for families and females, especially on the weekends.
- Breakfast in Turkey
As the most important meals of the day and an ideal opportunity for friends and family to gather, you may receive an invitation to breakfast rather than dinner. Any visitors will be presented with a feast including eggs, olives, salami, tomatoes, cucumber, fruit, bread and various sweet condiments.
Even if you have had your fair share of food, it is quite certain, that you will be told on more than one occasion to eat more and more. Sharing food with everyone, including strangers is important in Turkish culture.
- Turkish Rugs and Carpets
The Turks are nomadic in origin and weaving carpets and kilims which would furnish their tents has been an important part of the culture for thousands of years. Traditionally a craft learnt by women, each carpet would be unique, its variations reflecting both the character of the maker and the place she was from. Thus each region of Turkey has evolved a style of carpet pattern and colours.
Anatolian carpets and kilims with their lively colors, motifs, patterns and superior quality have a universal reputation. Natural dyes are used,, where many families have kept their knowledge of which leaves, flowers, roots and vegetables would yield the most radiant colors.
Turkish carpets and kilims are in the most valuable collections of museums and collectors in the world. Today, world museums exhibit the carpets woven in Anatolia as their most important and valuable works of art, beginning from the Seljuk period and continuing with the Ottoman Empire.
- The Turkish Hamam
Turkish bath is also known as hammam, one of the most important elements of Turkish culture. Refresh, revive, rejuvenate! No better way to relax than a Turkish bath.
Turkish hammams are considered to be one of the classical bathing traditions that still remain popular. Hammam is a product of a Turkish culture that expanded beyond the borders of religion, hygiene or health treatment.
Turkish bath is called as hammam. In Ottoman times, hammams have been social centers for hundreds of years. There is an incredible environment, architecture, service and everything of absolutely necessary to see.
Every Turkish town still has at least one hamam, and cities have many. Most are simple, functional, and inexpensive, but the historic hamams, especially those built by the sultans to serve their imperial mosques, are beautiful works of Ottoman architecture made of fine marble with rich decoration.
When you come to Turkey, do not forget to go to a hammam.
- Evil Eye
Evil Eye is one of the most popular souvenirs to buy in Turkey, known as the Nazar Boncugu that gives protection and brings luck. An ancient charm protecting people for centuries.
Visitors to Turkey are often pleasantly surprised by the friendliness of the Turkish people, who will go out of their way to assist and happily spend time chatting.
Hospitality is a cornerstone of Turkish culture, and Turkish people believe that visitors should be treated as Guests sent by God. This attitude has survived to the 21st century and does not appear to have been diminished by mass tourism. In fact, quite the reverse, most Turks welcome the opportunity to meet foreign visitors, learn about different cultures and practice their language skills.
- Social Greetings
Turkish people often greet each other with a kiss on each cheek. If a Turkish person is greeting a grandparent or elder, it is customary for them to kiss the right hand of said person and place their head to the hand, as a mark of respect.
They also walk down the street with arms linked or wrapped around each other’s shoulders. This can apply to men as well and is normal social behaviour. If you are in an in-depth conversation with a Turk and they touch your arms or hands, it is just their way of emphasising their thoughts and opinions.