Cosmopolitan Istanbul, on the Bosphorus Strait, is home to the iconic Hagia Sophia mosque (pictured above), with its soaring dome and Christian mosaics, the massive 17th-century Blue Mosque and the circa-1460 Topkapi Palace, former home of sultans.(Unsplash)
Turkey is a nation straddling Eastern Europe and western Asia with cultural connections to ancient Greek, Persian, Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman empires. Cosmopolitan Istanbul, on the Bosphorus Strait, is home to the iconic Hagia Sophia mosque, with its soaring dome and Christian mosaics, the massive 17th-century Blue Mosque and the circa-1460 Topkapi Palace, former home of sultans.
Here is a list of the five quirkiest things you can experience in Turkey:
The traditional Turkish Bath, Hammam
The word, ‘Hamam’, originating from the Arabic Hamam (means ‘heating up’), means a steam bath and is based on the heating of cold water. Baths served at health centers among the ancient Greeks and have been an important part of daily life in Istanbul since Roman and Byzantine times. Under the Romans, Byzantine baths were more than places to wash, but social clubs where people met their friends and conversed or argued over politics. Although the Turkish bath employed the same kind of heating system as the earlier Roman one, it is dissimilar in many ways.
The Turkish bath consists of three sections: the cool room (sogukluk), the tepidity room (iliklik), and the hottest room (sicaklik or Harare). Double Turkish baths had separate sections for men and women, whereas single baths would accommodate women on certain days and hours.
Kirkipinar (Oil Wrestling)
Oil wrestling is one of the most popular sports in Turkey. Historical oil wrestling, also called grease wrestling, is the Turkish national sport. It is so-called because the wrestlers douse themselves with olive oil. The local name for the oily wrestling is kirkpinar and it is known as one of the popular sport branches in Turkey. In the contests, the wrestlers are anointed with oil from foot to head them wear pair of leather shorts called ‘Kispet’ made of buffalo. Turkish Oil Wrestling (Kirkpinar) 2019 going to be held in Edrime’s stadium, Edirne, Turkey.
Every December, thousands of people make a pilgrimage to the central Turkish city of Konya for 10 days of ceremonies and events commemorating the death of the 13th-century Islamic scholar, poet, and Sufi mystic Jalaluddin Rumi. Among the most visually stunning of these is a mesmerizing ceremony by the whirling dervishes entering a state of trance in remembrance of their Sufi master Rumi. An annual highlight is the ‘Sema’ performance in Konya that draws pilgrims and tourists from far and wide.
Hot Air Ballooning
Cappadocia is a landscape that one has never witnessed before in a lifetime. This makes it one of the most popular sports in the world to go up in a Hot Air Balloon. As you take off for sunrise you will start to be hypnotized by the spectacular and surreal landscape that lies below you. You will gently drift over the fairy chimneys, through valleys scattered with pigeon houses, over orchards and vineyards. The different colours of the diversified landscape will leave you breathless. This is an activity not to be missed. Pamukkale is such an unusual landscape and a place that you will never have seen before in your lifetime. It is one of the hottest destinations in Turkey and a popular area for Hot Air Ballooning. Don’t forget to witness the beautiful landscape here.
Gobeklitepe, a UNESCO World Heritage site in Southeastern Turkey and believed to be the First Temple of the World. What makes Gobeklitepe unique in its class is the date it was built, which is roughly twelve thousand years ago, circa 10,000 BC.
(This story has been published from a wire agency feed without modifications to the text. Only the headline has been changed.)
First Published: Sep 16, 2019 08:28 IST