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The Culture of Turkey

The Culture of Turkey

The Republic of Turkey is a country that has been shaped by its position as a bridge between Europe and Asia, with the majority of its population living in its central Anatolia region. The culture of Turkey reflects this diverse heritage, with influences from its Greek, Persian, and Armenian neighbours all evident. These same factors have also had an impact on the history of Turkey, both modern and ancient. Persecution under the Ottoman Empire led to the displacement of many Christians who now live in other parts of the world. In addition to this, there are few remaining traces of the once ubiquitous Byzantine Empire due to widespread destruction during the conquest.

The Culture of Turkey

Turks have a strong cultural identity and it is not uncommon for non-Turks to be mistaken for Turks. This cultural identity can be traced back to a nomadic Turkic tribe called the Seljuks, who rose to power in Anatolia after the decline of the Byzantine Empire. The Seljuk Empire adopted many cultural influences from the Persians, including the use of extensive Persian-derived vocabulary in the Turkish language. The Ottoman Empire was established in the Anatolian city of Bursa in 1326 and subsequently conquered much of the Middle East, North Africa, and parts of Central Europe. Following the decline of the Ottoman Empire in the early 20th century, modern Turkey was founded in 1923 as a secular republic with a constitution that separated state and religion. The Turkish language is spoken by around 80 million people worldwide and is the official language of Turkey and Northern Cyprus.

Art and Architecture in Turkey

Art in Turkey dates back to prehistoric times and has a rich history, with influences from the Sumerian and Hittite civilizations. The first pieces of Turkish art were found at the archaeological site of Göbekli Tepe around 10,000 years ago, with large-scale statues representing a variety of animals. The first painting found in the region is a wall painting found in the Akrotiri Royal Villa in the Aegean city of Santorini and dates back to the 14th century BC. The architecture of Turkey is one of the oldest in the world, with many examples of architectural styles including Turkish, Ottoman, Seljuk, and Byzantine. These architectural styles can be found in the many mosques, palaces, and churches across Turkey.

The People of Turkey

The Turkish people are a distinct ethnolinguistic group with a predominantly Indo-European ancestry, sharing a similar ancestry to Iranians, Armenians, and Caucasian peoples. The modern Turkish people are largely descended from Turkic tribes who migrated westward from Central Asia during the early Middle Ages. There are also minorities of other ethnolinguistic groups living in Turkey, including a large Armenian community and smaller numbers of Kurdish, Arab, Assyrian, and Georgian people.

Food and Dining in Turkey

The diverse population of Turkey has led to a variety of cuisines, with each region having its distinct culinary tradition. The cuisine of the coastal regions is heavily influenced by the Mediterranean diet, with olive oil being a major part of the diet. The cuisine of the Central Anatolia region is heavily influenced by Turkic nomadic traditions, with meat being a large part of the diet. The cuisine of the Southeastern Anatolia region is predominantly Kurdish and includes a large number of kebabs. The cuisine of the Black Sea region is heavily influenced by neighbouring countries such as Georgia and Russia. One of the most popular dishes in Turkey is the doner kebab, which consists of pieces of lamb or chicken roasted on a rotating spit. Other popular Turkish dishes include kebabs, köfte (meatballs), dolma (stuffed vegetables), pide (Turkish-style pizza), and baklava.

Travelling in Turkey

One of the most important things to keep in mind when travelling in Turkey is that the country has a strong Muslim culture and many people adhere to conservative Islamic principles. While a majority of Turks are peaceful and open-minded, it is important to be respectful of local customs and to avoid situations that may offend. It is advisable to dress modestly when visiting mosques and other religious sites, with women being advised to cover their knees and shoulders. Alcohol is served in bars and restaurants across Turkey, but public consumption of alcohol is prohibited between 11 pm and 6 am. 

The Cultures and History of Turkey are varied, with a strong history and diverse population. From the earliest art found at Göbekli Tepe to the modern day, Turkish culture has had a rich impact on the world and continues to do so today.

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