What Should You Know About Turkish Culture?

Turkey’s culture is a mix of elements from the Oghuz Turkic and Anatolian, Ottoman (which was itself a continuation of both Greco-Roman and Islamic civilizations), and Western culture and customs, which began with the Ottoman Empire’s Westernization and continues today. 

Turkey has been hosting a large number of ex-pats and foreigners from different countries. Whether you are a tourist or live here, you need to know interesting facts about Turkish culture.

What are the Prominent Cultural Features in Turkey?

Here you can see the prominent cultural features in Turkey.

  1. Turkish Cuisine Culture
  2. Hammam Culture
  3. Turkish Faith Culture
  4. Sports Culture
  5. Turkish Rugs and Carpets Culture
  6. Turkish Hospitality Culture
  7. Circumcision Culture
  8. Turkish Architecture

1. Turkish Cuisine Culture

Turkish breakfast culture, whose reputation has crossed the borders of the country, is perhaps the favorite one for ex-pats. In addition to the diversified and delicious Turkish breakfast tables, they are full of friendly conversation. Turkish people like to have breakfast. Most importantly, the Sunday breakfasts that last almost until the afternoon…

The place of tea takes a great part in traditional Turkish culture. It is the crown of breakfast. Tea has no limits. It can be served anywhere; it is the first thing that comes to mind if you want to drink something in Turkey. It is possible to hear this everywhere: “What do you drink?” “I’ll have tea.”

Turkish coffee culture includes other remarkable information about Turkish culture and tradition: Turkish coffee! Just like tea, coffee is the best company for conversations. After breakfast, in the afternoon, after dinner. There is also a coffee fortune-teller. You cover upside-down the coffee cup on a plate, wait for it to cool, and then you learn what awaits you in the future!

If we talk about Turkish kitchen culture, we can not skip Turkish raki culture! Raki is a type of alcoholic beverage, the most common main ingredient is grapes in Turkey and is usually flavored with anise. Raki started to be produced in the last period of the Ottoman Empire and over time it has become the most popular alcoholic drink since then.

2. Turkish Bath Culture

Baths (Hamam in Turkish) are not only a place for cleaning and bathing in the life of Turkish people but also a place to go to be healthy while hosting cultural and social activities. The use of water is inevitable for life and health. This has led people to establish centers such as baths and spas.

This is a tradition from the Ottoman Empire. Just as the Finns have saunas, we have hammams. There are also bath attendants (tellak in Turkish) to rub guests with a coarse bath glove. The hammam, which you enter while wrapped in a loincloth, is quite hot, just like the saunas. By filling the bowls with water, you can wash with the accompaniment of a warm conversation.

3. Turkish Faith Culture

Before the collective acceptance of Islam, Turks had accepted various religions such as Buddhism, Manichaeism, Zoroastrianism, and Christianity. Today, the Republic of Turkey is a secular but predominantly Muslim country. Every baby born is automatically recorded as ‘Muslim’ in the population system unless stated otherwise. The Turkish Constitution officially recognizes Sunni Islam, Christianity (some Catholic and Orthodox denominations), and Judaism.

4. Turkish Sports Culture

Turkish people are a nation of warriors and high courage throughout history. The biggest factor in winning the wars is undoubtedly the sports done for the preparation of wars. These sports helped the Turks to get ready for the war both physically and spiritually.

In the beginning, the most popular sport among the Turks is wrestling. It is known as a Turkish ancestral sport and has its origins in the Turks. In addition to wrestling, archery and horse riding are among the most popular sports in Turkish culture and customs. Besides, one of the most popular sports in Turkey is football.

5. Turkish Rugs and Carpets Culture

Turkish ancestors have been dealing with agriculture and animal husbandry in Anatolian geography from the past to today. They have provided a large part of their livelihood with animal husbandry. They protected themselves from the cold by making various clothes and ropes from animal wool, processed plant fibers, and animal skins, and started weaving rugs and carpets. Over time, the culture of rug and carpet weaving has progressed and the woven carpets and rugs trade both have contributed to the economy and maintained the culture.

Carpets and rugs have a very important place in Anatolian Culture. Because every motif and design of carpets and rugs means something. For instance; evil eye Turkish culture is also dominant in carpets. Today, in many museums, there are numerous carpets and rugs as a part of ancient Turkish culture. In order not to forget, we have masters who try to continue the profession of hand-weaving in Isparta and other surrounding cities.

6. Turkish Hospitality Culture

It is a world-known fact that the Turks are a hospitable people. Every foreigner who comes to Turkey feels this culture strongly, especially in Anatolia. It is a great pleasure for Turkish people to host a foreigner at home, to have them eat and drink. Perhaps it is one of the cultural attributes that they are most proud of. It is very pleasing for Turks, especially when foreign guests try to speak with the Turkish words, they have learned from time to time.

7. Circumcision Culture

One of the other traditions of this huge cultural geography is circumcision. Circumcision ceremonies are performed in different ways in different regions of Turkey. Newborns can also be circumcised, but generally, boys between the ages of 7 and 11 are circumcised in clinics. Before the circumcision, the child wears a white suit, and if he is in the village, he is taken for a ride on a horse. The guests who come to the celebration give gold presents to the boy’s family. Besides, during the circumcision celebration, dances are performed and meals are eaten.

9. Turkish Architecture

Turkish architecture is mainly divided into three historical categories.

  • Early Anatolian Turkish architecture: Different structures such as mosques, masjids, tombs, madrasa, cupolas, baths, and caravanserai have determined the characteristic features of the main Turkish architecture, which stemmed from the dominance of Islamic architecture in the region in early Anatolian Turkish architecture.
  • Ottoman architecture: Since the Ottoman Empire was an empire that included quite different cultures, this multiculturalism also affected the architectural forms. The view that Ottoman architecture is essentially a synthesis of Mediterranean and Middle Eastern architectural traditions is dominant in the field of architecture. In Ottoman architecture, forms with inner courtyards, domed and centrally planned structures, and high and magnificent buildings are in the foreground.
  • Republican period Turkish architecture: This architectural process started with the establishment of the Republic of Turkey in 1923 and has continued till today. The most important feature of  Turkish architecture that emerged in this period is that it gives importance to symmetry and has a monumental form.

Is There Tolerance in Turkish Culture?

Yes, tolerance is high in Turkish culture. Turkish people have placed a central value on tolerance, which is one of the main characteristics of Turkish culture, customs, and traditions. Along with people of different cultures and faiths, they have continued their lives in harmony and cooperation within the framework of tolerance. After accepting Islam and making Anatolia their homeland, they blended their basic values ​​such as tolerance, equality, justice, and human love with Islamic beliefs and principles, and partly by adding various cultures and traditions in their new settlements to this process, they formed a unique interpretation and understanding.

Does Turkish Culture Accept Different Beliefs?

Yes, Turkish culture accepts different beliefs. The acceptance of different beliefs, which is one of the basic values ​​of Turkish society due to its historical origin, has gained a characteristic of Turkish people under the influence of various factors. First of all, the understanding of tolerance in the sense of respecting various beliefs, cultures, and lifestyles has also fulfilled an important function in maintaining the existence of society.

Are People Friendly in Turkish Culture?

Yes, they are. In the development of Turkish identity, the geography in which the Turks live, the vast history that forms their memories and the wide socio-cultural environment they experience have a great place. This environment has been the meeting point of great powers, cultures, and civilizations throughout history. This meeting enabled the Turks to become friends over time.

What is Most Valued in Turkish Culture?

Turkey is a country with a deep-rooted history located between the continents of Europe and Asia. Its geographical location between the continents, and the lifestyle of the Turkish society, from the Eastern Mediterranean and Eastern Europe to Central Asia and the Caucasus, has caused them to be shaped by the influences of both Eastern and Western cultures. As a result, Turkish culture has become ethnic, containing a mixture of both traditional and modern traditions. In real terms, Turks value the family the most.

What is a Typical Turkish Family Like?

Family is the most valuable cultural value in Turkey. In a traditional Turkish household, two parents usually live in a nuclear family as unmarried children. However, sometimes there may be married sons with large families. It is common for unmarried children to live with their parents until they can survive on their own. Extended families can sometimes live in a single building, with each floor belonging to a different family member. Throughout Turkey, grandmothers, or other family members play an important role in raising children until they reach the age of going to nursery. It is also common for Turkish families to start by having dinner together at the dinner table in the evenings, then share the events during the day, watch television and drink tea together. Friends and relatives often visit each other to chat over coffee and tea. Although they are traditional, they are somehow present in their modern lifestyle.

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