EAST MEETS WEST IN TURKEY
Always hospitable, the people of Turkey are as diverse as their country’s landscapes. Bridging two civilizations as east meets west, a person’s culture depends on their ethnic background and the place where they were born or where they live.But one constant, wherever you go in Turkey, is that you’re guaranteed many encounters with Turkish people, mostly Muslim, who will go out of their way to share what they have with you, whether a glass of tea or food off their table. And, be prepared to be taken by the hand if you ask for directions.
Turkish people who live in the resorts, large towns and cities have a similar culture to us, so visitors have no problem feeling at home. And, in major cities like Istanbul you’ll find exclusive clubs and designer shops selling the latest fashions alongside traditional bazaars where it’s fun to haggle for a bargain or two.And, you don’t have to worry about missing that important football game because it’s bound to be showing live on TV at one of the bars in your nearest resort.Meanwhile, life in Turkey’s rural communities continues as it has for centuries, almost untouched by developments in the western world. Here family is very important, it’s not unusual to find 3 generations of a family living together and age old traditions and religion influences how people live their lives.
SHARED PASSIONS: MUSIC & FOOTBALL
Turkish people are passionate about their pastimes, whether an opera, ballet or rock concert or an awesome Champion’s League cup final at the Ataturk Olympic Stadium in Istanbul – they know how to appreciate the important things in life.
Among other cultural pursuits you may come across from time to time are:
Oil Wrestling – best seen during Edime’s Kirkpinar Festival
Camel Wrestling – seasonal bouts between two male camels draws the crowds across the Aegean area
Haggling – traditional and always expected in markets and bazaars
Whirling dervishes – religious driven twirling by members of a sect founded by Sufi mystic, Mevana
Turkish baths – sensual comforts of Turkey
Tea drinking – everywhere