Warm Winter’s Drink: SALEP

With the coming of cold winter days, Turkey’s cake and pudding shops begin serving salep in place of ice cream. On the ferryboats which ply their way between the European and Asian shores of Istanbul with smoke trailing from their funnels and chased by flocks of seagulls, many of the passengers order steaming cups of…

Simit, Traditional Sesame Rings of Istanbul

The most common street food in Istanbul is the simit, a favourite snack of people from all walks of life. This crispy bread ring strewn with sesame seeds has been sold in Istanbul for generations. Simit are also made in other cities, but that of Istanbul is reckoned to be the best. In the street,…

Baklava

Of all Turkey’s delicious sweet confections, the most famous is baklava. This exquisite flavored pastry has been made in Anatolia for long centuries, and its ancestor may be a dish made by the Assyrians consisting of dried fruit sandwiched between two layers of pastry and baked in the oven. The earliest record of baklava as…

Revival of Iznik Tiles after 300 years

İznik is located on the banks of the lake of the same name in the province of Bursa in the northwestern part of Anatolia. In antiquity it lay within the borders of the Bithynian region. One legend says that the town was established on the return of the God Dionysus from India. According to another legend,…

Camel Wrestling

The camel wrestling organized traditionally in our country was firstly made in Hıdırbeyi village, İncirliova, Aydın. However, A.Munis Armağan, in his book Batı Anadolu Tarihinde İlginç Olaylar (Interesting Events in Western Anatolia History). Under the section titled “End of the Camels” states that camel wrestling organisations were held during reign of Mahmut II in Tire…

Lokum – Turkish Delight

When I walked into Haci Bekir’s shop on Hamidiye Street near Istanbul’s Golden Horn, it was like entering a child’s dream. Wherever I looked, there were containers brimming with enticing confectionery… dozen jars with polished brass lids stood on only counter packed with a kaleidoscope of bon bon, red, yellow, cinnamon and stripy ones. Nowhere…

Olive And Olive Oil

“A camel driver an ass string of eight or nine camels! The monotonous tinkling of the bells bung around the camels’ necks herald the caravan’s arrival… For years this sound rang through the streets of Ayvalık during November, December and January, the months when the black juice produced as waste during the oil extraction process…

Raki

Alcohol has been drunk in Turkey for thousands of years, which perhaps explains why the Turks have a more relaxed attitude to it’s consumption than people in some other Moslem countries. By the 17th century there were 100 distilleries in Istanbul alone. Rakı is the national drink of Turkey, where today more than 61 million…

Turkish Bath

The Turkish bath or hamam is an atmospheric world all its own in the midst of the modern bustling city. Everyone who sets foot in here surrenders to the water in a voluntary form of captivity, for the process of purification of not just the body but also the soul. Upon entering the door you…

Turkey’s Rare Orchids

The delicate beauty of orchids fires enthusiasts, and as one of the largest families of flowering plants in the world, searching out its vast number of species is an endless journey of discovery and delight. The orchid comes in many strange and lovely forms, particularly in the tropics where it is widespread, and varies greatly…