Big City in Turkey


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The three largest cities are Turkeys foci. Istanbul, Ankara, or Izmir have become major urban centres by history as well as design. Following the foundation of the Turkish Republic after World War I, these cities became the focus for social and business life. Industry and business clustered in the established commercial centres of Istanbul and Izmir while the apparatus of the government built itself a new capital inland in Ankara. These cities contain the country's most respected universities, conservatories, theatres, and concert halls. Jewish and Christian communities, and immigrants from different parts of the Ottoman Empire add diversity to the cities, contributing to the human mosaic so characteristic of Anatolia.

Artists, actors, poets and journalists hang out in pubs and taverns. Present day Young Turks plot alternative futures for the country in coffeehouses and reading rooms. The harried working class intellectuals from the 1960s lament what might have been over wine and vodka in familiar restaurants. Young urbanites consume the fruits of modernity in glittering shopping malls and discos. The typical Turkish intellectual urbanite men and women have many commonalities with their kind elsewhere in the world and they can be easy going, fun loving companions in your expeditions. They are well travelled, bilingual, have a high degree of tolerance for differences, yet are ready to voice opinions on issues. However, you should also know that deep down, they share values common to all the Turkish people, such as belief in the integrity of the family, loyalty and obligations to country and community, hospitality, compassion and fairness in dealing with other fellow beings, and respect for tradition.

For visitors, the big city 'offers an abundance of museums and famous historic sites, night clubs, taverns, and bazaars filled with silver and copper objects, carpets, and gold jewellery. Istanbul, of course, is in a category of its own. A separate introduction is needed to its own unique landscape.

The big cities also allow ample opportunity to sample Turkish cuisine at good, well-established restaurants. Eating is not taken lightly in Turkey. Dinner in a good restaurant may take four, five hours in the company of friends and family, sipping drinks and savouring the endless procession of hot and cold dishes while engaging in conversations that begin with light-hearted humour, often turning into recitations of mystic poetry and reminiscences of the past. Turkish cuisine is next only to French and Chinese cooking in its variety, healthiness and exquisiteness.

Most visitors want to experience the old city. According to tradition, each alley or courtyard of the bazaar specialized in a craft or trade corresponding to the old guilds. From Belgrade to Damascus, the cities of the Ottoman Empire were organized in communities formed along religious fines. These were integrated with the rest of the city and the larger society via networks of locally controlled services such as fire protection, security and schools. The old city centre with its places of worship, government, trade, and entertainment, was where the citizens mingled, enjoying the benefits of the security and bounty of the State while maintaining their culture and way of life. The churches, the synagogues, and mosques, the medrese and the mission schools are still found side by side in the old city centre.

The new city centre revolves around high rise international style office buildings, Luxury Villas, well-appointed restaurants and bars, and fashionable shopping districts. Modernization brought apartment life into the cities, replacing the traditional fabric which consisted of one to three story houses overlooking cobblestone streets and cool courtyards. Neighbourhood and neighbourliness are of great importance in the Turkish way of life. The introduction of apartment buildings where a dozen or so families have joint ownership of the property presented city dwellers with new challenges and shifted the focus of their control over the environment from the neighbourhood to the apartment budding with its myriad of issues such as heating and maintenance. In three decades, a highly complex and uniquely Turkish management pattern evolved with laws, regulations and administrative structure. The apartment life, which has been the subject of numerous skits and humorous television series, is the hub of neighbourly interaction. The old Turkish adage, "Don't buy a house, buy a neighbour" is a more true than ever.

Almost all neighbourhoods have weekly farmers' markets in addition to small grocery stores, fruit and vegetable stands, butchers, charcuteries, bakeries and florists. If you happen to see a farmer's market, stop, explore and taste some of the fruits and vegetables. This is how they were meant to taste before civilization came up with genetic engineering!

Settlements on the outskirts of the big cities are the first stop of recent immigrants from the countryside. Migration from rural to urban areas has been a fact of life in Turkey since the 1960s. These settlements often referred to as "gecekondu" or "thrown up overnight" house hard-working extended families. Although the communities lack some city services, most have electricity, and almost all rooftops are adorned with TV antennas.

Turkish cities, despite their size, are remarkably safe. The low crime rate makes it safe to be out after dark and many neighbourhoods are alive well into the late hours of the night.



Idyll Villas
Zeybek Sokak No : 8  P.K.78 Yalikavak Bodrum TURKIYE
Phone : +90 252 385 55 90     Fax : +90 252 385 55 89


For further information, please contact :


Mr. Sonad PELIT - Bodrum (+90 542 213 81 04)

Mrs. Amanda CHESTER - London (+44 797 636 3906)

E-mail :