LIFESTYLE IN TURKEY
Turkish lifestyle is a vivid mosaic, juxtaposing the West and the East, the modern and the ancient. Also life in Turkey is a rich variety of cultures and traditions, some dating back centuries and others or more recent heritage. Any visitor to Turkey will find a great deal that is exotic, and much that is reassuringly familiar. The surprising blend of East and West makes up the Turkish lifestyle.
RELIGION IN TURKEY
MODERN AND TRADITIONAL CLOTHING
Belief system in Turkey
LIFESTYLE TURKEY 2019
The Turkish lifestyle is a colorful mosaic connecting the modern and ancient worlds of Eastern and Western cultures and traditions. It is a place where you feel you are constantly walking through history, following in the footsteps of Ottoman Sultans and historical legends such as Alexander, Constantine and Genghis Khan. In the vibrant and beautiful city of Istanbul, once known of course, as Constantinople, you are one moment at the cutting edge of modernity, glamour and fine dining, the next in the shadow of the Blue Mosque or wandering through palace gardens. There is truly nowhere like it in the world.
Turkey is the only secular country in the Islamic world. Secularism is enshrined in the constitution which states that religion has no place in governing political affairs. For many centuries, people of different faiths lived together in peace and harmony, and this diversity has been preserved through the modern, ever evolving, laws of today. People wear modern dress as in any other western country: from the ubiquitous jeans and t-shirt, to hip-hop inspired urban streetwear. You will see punks and Goths, side by side with traditional country folk in their colorful head scarves and caps. But you will also see the high society and jet set in their evening dress and designer clothes, worn with a panache and elegance, even on the beach.
Visitors are mostly surprised by the friendliness, warmth and hospitality of the Turkish people. Also most Turks enjoy meeting foreign visitors, learning about different ways of life and practicing their language skills. Hospitality is the cornerstone of Turkish culture.
In this beautiful country you can enjoy four distinct seasons, all of which provide their own outdoor sporting possibilities, ranging from swimming (scuba diving and snorkeling), white water rafting, and sailing to skiing. Football, basketball, volleyball and of course cycling and jogging, as well as yoga and Thai-chi, are all part of the vast array of sports and recreational activities you can enjoy.
Social Life in Turkey
In Turkey, the most important behavioral factors to be aware of are in respect to dining. According to Islamic dietary restrictions pork should not be consumed and alcohol is forbidden. In Turkey the restriction on pork is generally adhered to. For the locals, alcohol is now a part of life and today it forms a part of the culture for some people. However, most Turks do abstain from alcohol, especially those living in more rural areas.
In addition to following the dress restrictions mentioned below and following the local dining etiquette (see our Turkey Dining & Food Page), the most important behavioral restrictions tend to be common sense. Avoid sensitive conversation topics, such as politics, finances, religion, and business unless initiated by your local counterpart. Also try to avoid being loud, rude, showing off wealth, or getting noticeably drunk in public.
The traditional dress in Turkey is diverse and was ever-changing. The land is quite diverse today and in the past, which means there were a number of traditional dresses that existed. Plus, as the lands changed hands from Christians to Muslims, then back and forth for some time, the dress restrictions and traditions have varied by region and time. Into the late 1800s and early 1900s the dress changed to conform to Islamic laws, which required conservative dress. Men tended to wear loose-fitting clothes that were somewhat modeled after European styles, with distinct pants and shirts as well as a hat. Women also wore loose-fitting clothes, generally in a more western-styled loose-fitting dress and a covering for their hair. However, most conservative Muslims tended to wear even more conservative clothes as clothing more traditionally found in Arabia became commonplace among many people.
With the separation of mosque and state in the early 1900s the dress changed and the new government actually outlawed veils (or niqab) on women (although this law is rarely enforced). Since this time the clothing of the Turks has become significantly European, especially in the larger cities and in the western parts of the country. However, many more conservative Muslims still wear tradition dress, or more commonly wear full-length, loose-fitting clothing that is more common in Arabia.
As a visitor to Turkey the dress restrictions vary based upon where you are. In Istanbul there seems to be no requirements, but mosques (including the Blue Mosque) require long-sleeved shirts and pants so the elbows and knees are covered; women are also expected to cover their hair when visiting mosques. This dress code is no different further east and in smaller communities in Turkey as restrictions are absent, but modesty is appreciated. However, if sun bathing on the eastern and southern beaches is on the agenda, swimsuits are common and acceptable so long as they stay on the beach. However, sunbathing naked or women sunbathing topless is not permitted in most places so always be sure to know where this is allowed before doing so.
This is the place to get the inside track on Turkey. A place for friendly and spirited people to share experiences, pick up tips, ask questions and get insider advice on all the best places to visit in Turkey.
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