The silhouettes of villages,
accentuated by slim minarets, dot the hillsides of the highways. Villages
reflect the climate and character of the region.
Mediterranean villages on the coast
are made from stone that takes on the colour of the sky when the sun is low on
the horizon; timber starts to be integrated as you reach higher altitudes. Wood
frame and log construction in the temperate zone gives way to wattle and daub
and eventually sun-dried brick in the southeast. You may notice interesting
structures such as earth ovens, round outhouses, or dome-shaped cisterns.
Houses in the mountain villages
close to the Black Sea are scattered. Villagers communicate by sing-song yells
and yodels which echo in the valleys. The Toros (Taurus) Mountains in the South
was the traditional habitat of nomadic Turks who, in search of moderate
temperatures, spent the summer in the mountains, the spring on the plateau, and
the winter down on the delta plain.
A real treat for the history buff
is a visit to one of the villages just outside Bursa, such as Cumalikizik handed
down almost intact from the 13th century. Here one can see the origins of the
typical Turkish house with its window overhangs, functional spaces relating to
the courtyard and the arrangement of rooms on the second stories, as well as the
settlement layout with its intricate pattern of narrow streets.
Typical villages are built around a
central square with the mosque, the school, the general store, and of course the
centre of male life, the coffee house. The coffeehouse is the men's domain where
important issues such as politics, crop prices and local gossip are discussed.
The village fountain, inner courtyards and doorways are the women's domain.
Exchanging information about goods and items related to health, child rearing
and daily sustenance happens there. You will also see villagers on their way to
and from the fields or orchards on donkeys and tractors.
Villages preserve the traditional
dances, customs, weaving, puppet shows and plays in their original forms. The
folk dramas and dances, which are still performed, carry traces of the
shamanistic rituals of the Ural-Altaic region, Anatolian festivals honouring gods
such as Dionosos or Osiris, and Egyptian mysteries.
Every region in Turkey, in fact
every village, has its own folkdances with a total variety of more than 1500.
Dramatizing the exaltation of nature, animals, everyday life, courtship and
combat, folkdances continue to occupy an important role village life. The
exquisite choreography and the universal meaning contain a vast resource of