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10 Things To Do in Turkey

6/17/2010

10 Things To Do in Turkey

Enjoy a Turkish Bath, spend the night in a cave, watch belly dancing and be awed by the Grand Bazaar... there’s so much to do in Turkey! Here we pick out our 10 favorite activities...

 

Take a Turkish Bath!

A Turkish Bath, or Hamam, is a traditional and unique Turkish experience not to be missed. Borne out of the Muslim’s fetish for cleanliness combined with their respect for water, the Hamams have played an important role in Turkish society for decades, customarily enjoyed for every important milestone in a person’s life. Your holiday wouldn’t be complete without one either!Basically a steam bath or a wet sauna, a good Turkish Bath comes with a good hard scrub and a massage. To truly enjoy your visit you should put aside two hours or more.  A word of warning – you may find the massage and wash much firmer than you are used to!

Almost all baths have different times for men and women; those in the more tourist areas may cater for both sexes but the staff is usually male.

People with medical problems such as heart conditions, skin problems, diabetes, blood pressure or pregnancy should avoid Turkish Baths.  Be careful to wear swimwear in the baths at all times as going completely naked is considered rude.

Learn the history of Turkish Baths on our sister website, Turkey For You.

 

Shop in the Grand Bazaar

Set in the heart of Istanbul, the Grand Bazaar is Turkey’s largest enclosed market and, indeed, one of the largest markets in the world. You can spend all day walking around the sixty-plus lanes of shops and stalls, each one crammed and bursting with everything under the sun.  The atmosphere is electric, awash with color, with peddlers shouting their wares and customers bargaining. It’s a disciplined shopper who doesn’t fall under its spell – and why wouldn’t you want to!

Learn more about the Grand Bazaar from our sister website, Turkey For You. 

 

See the Whirling Dervishes!

The whirling dance of the dervishes (also known as sufi whirling) is the practice of the Mevlevi Order in Turkey, part of the Sufi tradition of Islam. Their world-famous dance is their way of becoming closer to Allah and if you’re lucky enough to see it, it will take your breath away.

Whirling Dervishes perform near the Mevlevi Museum in Konya in the annual Mevlana festival - the largest festival in Turkey – and if you’re visiting Turkey, don’t forget to visit the museum/shrine. It not only houses the tombs of prominent dervishes but you can also see the live act performing near it.  It will be the experience of a lifetime.

More about the Whirling Dervishes from our sister website, Turkey For You.

 

Drink tea with the locals

Tea is a great tradition in Turkey and is drunk all day in tea houses, restaurants and even shops wherever you go. It’s a social occasion and the Turks love nothing more than to offer tea and hospitality. If you can play backgammon, even better! It’s a great past-time. Even if you don’t partake of the brew, you can spend hours watching the Turks drink, socialize and play.

 

Try to talk Turkish

Give it a try with the handy words and phrases on this website! The Turks will be thrilled that you’re even attempting to speak the language; they’ll welcome it with open arms. And the first time you can make yourself understood – even if it’s just asking for a loaf of bread – you’ll feel really proud of yourself!

Useful Turkish Words and Phrases

 

Boat trip on the Bosphorus

How romantic! Take a ferry tour ride along the Bosphorus and cross continents! The Bosphorus, or the Istanbul Strait, is the strait separating the European part of Turkey from its Asian part and is one of the most beautiful stretches of scenery in Turkey. Lined with ruins, gardens, villages, fortresses, Ottoman domes and more, it’s the perfect way to spend a few hours. Pop off at any point and enjoy the Turkish welcome and excellent seafood.

 

Walk on a magic carpet!

Ok, we can’t guarantee they’re really magic, but after seeing them you’ll be miraculously eager to part with your money! Turkey is known for the quality of its intricate and beautiful carpets – there’s a reason they are the number one purchase for holidaymakers. A Turkish carpet is a rare piece of art that will decorate your home, as well as bring a slice of Anatolian tradition into your drawing room.

 

Watch the belly dancing

Belly dancing is very popular in Turkey, usually seen in nightclubs, but also hired for special events such as weddings and parties. It’s not just a tourist gimmick either – belly dancing (or Gobek dans as it is called in Turkey) is a very old art form appreciated by Turks of all ages. The belly dancer is a woman with exceptionally trained stomach muscles, able to perform all sorts of tricks. Neither are all belly dancers female! At any event, you’ll no doubt see at least one man jump up and throw a few moves of his own. Men, however, remain fully clothed!

 

Spend a night in a cave

Spend the night in one of the underground cities of Cappadocia! These caves extend seven or eight levels into the earth, with homes built thousands of years ago from soft, volcanic earth. A great place to hide in wartime, the cave homes are warm in winter and cool in summer. Some cave walls have monuments or inscriptions and religious imagery; in the Byzantine period, churches and monasteries were also built underground here. Some of these cave homes have since been transformed into hotels and self-catering apartments and are surely a unique holiday experience.

 

Go skiing

Yes, that’s right, we said skiing! Hard to picture when you’re visiting Turkey in the height of summer, but the country is also fast getting known for its winter skiing as well. In fact, skiing has been consciously developed in Turkey as a winter sport mainly to attract tourists. There are several ski resorts in Turkey, which offer skiing facilities from November to May on mountains of moderate height, catering for all levels. The most popular ski resort in Turkey is the Uldag resort in Bursa, a charming town just one-and-a-half hours from Istanbul. The skiing season here is from December to April.

All about skiing in Turkey on our sister website Turkey For You.





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