Culture of Turkey

history, people, clothing, traditions, women, beliefs, food, customs, family

Highlights some of the distinct characteristics and qualities of Turkish culture, including architecture, music, lifestyles, clothing, and food.

Turkish Culture is unique in the world in that it has influenced and has been influenced in return by cultures and civilizations from China to Vienna and from Russian steps to North Africa for over a millennia. Turkish culture reflects this unparalleled cultural richness and diversity, and remains mostly shaped by its deep roots in Middle East, Anatolia and Balkans, the cradle of many civilizations for at least twelve thousand years.

While it may sound like a tourism brochure cliché, Turkey really is a curious mix of the west and the east—you may swear you were in a Balkan country or in Greece when in northwestern and western parts of the country (except that Byzantine-influenced churches are substituted with Byzantine-influenced mosques), which are indeed partly inhabited by people from Balkan countries, who immigrated during the turmoil before, during, and after WWI, while southeastern reaches of the country exhibit little if any cultural differences from Turkey’s southern and eastern neighbors. Influences from the Caucasus add to the mix in the northeast part of the country. It can be simply put that Turkey is the most oriental of western nations, or, depending on the point of view, the most occidental of eastern nations.

Perhaps one thing common to all of the country is Islam, the faith of the bulk of the population. However, interpretation of it varies vastly across the country: many people in northwestern and western coasts are fairly liberal about the religion (being nominal Muslims sometimes to the point of being irreligious), while folk of the central steppes are far more conservative (don’t expect to find a Saudi Arabia or an Afghanistan even there, though). The rest of the country falls somewhere in between, with the coastal regions being relatively liberal while inland regions are relatively conservative as a general rule. The largest religious minority in the country are the Alevites, who constitute up to 20% of the population and who subscribe to a form of Islam closer to that of the Shiite version of Islam and practice Shamanistic rituals of ancient Turks. Other religious minorities—the Greek Orthodox, Armenian Apostolic, Jews, Syriac Oriental Orthodox, and Roman Catholics, the latter of whom mainly settled in Turkey within the last 500 years from Western European countries—once numerous across the country, are now mostly confined to the large cities of Istanbul and Izmir, or parts of Southeastern Anatolia in the case of the Syriac Oriental Orthodox. Despite its large Muslim majority population, Turkey officially remains a secular country, with no declared state religion.

Turkey History, Language and Culture

History, language and culture guide for Turkey including key historical events, information on the spoken languages, useful phrases, social conventions, religion and cultural diversity.


A Brief Outline of Turkish History
The Republic of Turkey
UNESCO World Heritage in Turkey
UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity in Turkey
Ottoman Sultans

German Academical Formalism and its Influence on the Historiography of Medieval Art and Architecture
Turkey Photo Gallery


Turkish Culture

History, language and culture guide for Turkey including key historical events, information on the spoken languages, useful phrases, social conventions, religion and cultural diversity.
Modern Turkish culture is a synthesis of diverse and heterogeneous elements borrowed from other Anatolian, Mediterranean, European and Mesopotamian civilizations. Hence, Turkey’s cultural uniqueness is the result of centuries of contact and cultural exchange with civilizations ranging from China to Europe and the Russian steppes to the desserts of North Africa. Modern Turkey reflects this unparalleled cultural richness and diversity while situated geographically in an area that has been the cradle of many civilizations for at least the past 12,000 years. 
Turkish culture, however, has undergone profound changes over the last century. Present-day Turkey was founded in 1923 as an offspring of the multiethnic and multilingual Ottoman Empire, governed in part by religious law. After Ottoman rule ended, secularism was established by separating religious and state affairs. The Latin alphabet replaced the Arabic script and women were given the right to vote and be elected as members of parliament. These reforms, as well as many others in all aspects of social life, put Turkey on the track towards becoming a thoroughly modern country.
Yet Turkish culture in many ways represents a continuum that bridges past and present. The Turks have inherited equally from their Eastern and Western past. All these diverse heritages, Eastern or Western, Asian or European intermingle and form what is today modern Turkey. As a result, Turkey embodies both Eastern and Western cultures in one incredibly heterogeneous mix. Its role on the world stage as an arbitrator of cultures has never been more relevant or more promising than before.

Turkey, travel guide, destination guide, Travel information, Travel Advice, Information, Tips, Destination

History, language and culture guide for Turkey including key historical events, information on the spoken languages, useful phrases, social conventions, religion and cultural diversity.

For sheer diversity, Turkey is hard to beat. The country is best measured in multitudes – of people, natural landscapes and cultures. It is a land of vast open spaces and massive mountain ranges, fertile valleys and rugged coastline, fast-growing cities and sleepy villages, seaside resorts and remote beaches.