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Turkish Traditions

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In einem typischen Lokanta

"lokantas" are eating places specialized in quite inexpensive regional Turkish food. Try them too.


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Times are over when you had to search in Bodrum for a nice place to wine and dine. Here are some places we tried ourself

The Belly Dance
The belly dance you will watch in Bodrum surely at least one evening, which is called " Turkish Night ". Folklore, and in the end a belly dance is always in the program. Everything the hotels offer, isn't always the *real* thing. Unfortunately in the last years more and more of the dancers have let it degenerate to a tourist animation. Say it clearly, if it did not please you. Only this way can one stop it.
We would like to recommend two restaurants, the " Han " and "Kervansaray" here in Bodrum, which still endeavor to present an authentic atmosphere.
And a real good and authentic belly-dance you can watch in our Bodrum-video.

Originally the belly dance, here called "Oriental Danse", was a fertility ritual, it had its exact meaning in the religious rituals and ceremonies, today Oriental people see the dance as a high point to a social event, and pay the dancer relatively highly. There are different styles and rhythmics. As various as the dance is, is its music. It must be felt, it is in the heart, flowing into the whole body and expressind itself - all dances contain rhytmic movements, copying the moment of birth or the sex act. In pre-Christian time the dance was religion and the religion also referred the sexuality - erotica and sex were not like today separated from each other


Turkish Music
Saz playerTurkish classical music
is based on 24 musical intervals, double the Western 12-note scale, so Turkish music simply has more sounds.
The main instruments essential in Turkish music are the ud and saz, tambur, kemençe, ney and kanun.
SazThese instruments generally accompany the human voice.
In many respects, the development of Turkish music parallels that of music in the West. The style originally derived from folk music, in this case that of central Asia. Music is also an important part of some religious sects, and the Mevlevi (dervish order). The 13th century brought with it the consolidation of Turkish music into a classical form and with the establishment of a sophisticated palace culture, music became a part of secular Iife, patronised by the sultans.

The Ud
The ud, an instrument whose origins can be traced to antiquity, is the most widespread of Eastern instruments and the ancestor of the European lute, which entered Europe from Moorish Spain and took its name from the Arabic al'ud.
With its deep pear-shaped body, thick, short neck and angled head, the Turkish ud is very like those found in Middle Eastern countries. The medieval ud had frets and five strings. The frets have since disappeared and the modern ud has eleven or twelve strings grouped in pairs. The top six strings are made of nylon and the others of metal.

The Tambur
The most important instrument in Turkish classical music is the tambur, a form of long-necked lute with a body shaped like a half gourd. With a status equal to that held by the piano in Western music, the tambur's fingerboard is the reference guide to tonal intervals in Turkish music.
The instrument is strung with seven or eight strings, usually plucked, although a bow can also be used to play it. The tambur's long slender neck, sensitive to temperature and humidity, is made from well-seasoned wood.

The Kanun
the origins of the kanun, a plucked, zither-like instrument are vague. Similar instrument are found in ancient Egypt and Samaria. Today, the kanun has 72 or 75 nylon strings which stretch across a shallow sound box, held on the musician's lap. Tuned in groups of three, the strings give 24-25 notes. The various intermediate notes of the Turkish scale are produced by the mandal board. Until the invention of the mandal board in the nineteenth century, a player had to place his thumb on a string at the same time as he struck it with the plectrum.

The Kemençe
Taking its name from the Farsi for "little violin," the kemence is closely related to violins used in Turkish folk music. The kemence has four strings and is held upright on the left leg with the bow drawn across it like a cello. It is one of the most technically demanding of instruments. The musician raises the pitch of the strings not by pressing down on them with his fingers, but by touching them lightly from the side with his fingernails.

The ney
Because of its rich harmonies and tonal range, the ney has been called the "most perfect wind instrument". Its history goes back at least 2,000 years and it probably descends from a Samarian instrument called the na.
Made from a single, hollow-stemmed, woody reed, the ney has seven holes - six in the front, one at the back - and is fitted with a mouthpiece of horn, ebony or ivory.
The ney is essential in religious music and has assumed an almost sacred status in the rituals of the Mevlevi where its haunting melancholy tone has come to syrnbolize the mystic's yearning to return to God.

     Camel fight
In the mild winter on the Aegean coast you can watch camel fights. This is a bloodless sport, it is a contest of strength to see which camel can hold his opponent down the longest. Brilliant shots in the Bodrum-video
This process can take hours therefore the handlers intervene and pull them apart

Hamam, that’s the word for the Turkish bath - surely an unforgettable part of your holiday and the massage is the best part. On the marble slab the guest will receive a pummeling from head to toe. After that you can relax with a Çay (Turkish tea) and you feel reborn



The lively Turkish folkmusic, which originated on the steppes of Asia, is in complete contrast to the refined Turkish classical music of the Ottoman court. Until recently, folkmusic was not written down, and the traditions have been kept alive by the "asiklar" (troubadours). Distinct from folkmusic is Ottoman military music, now performed by the "mehter takimi" (Janissary Band or Ottoman Army Band) in Istanbul, which originated in Central Asia, and is played with kettle drums, clarinets, cymbals, and bells. The mystical music of the Whirling Dervishes ("Mevleviler") is dominated by the haunting sound of the reed pipe or "ney", and can be heard in Konya during the Mevlana Festival in December.


Each region in Turkey has its own special folkdance and costume, and the best known of these are listed below:

a) "Horon" - This Black Sea dance is performed by men only, dressed in black with silver trimmings. The dancers link arms and quiver to the vibrations of the "kemence" (a primitive kind of violin).
b) "Kasik Oyunu" - The Spoon Dance is performed from Konya to Silifke and consists of gaily dressed male and female dancers '”clicking” out the dance rhythm with a pair of wooden spoons in each hand.
c) "Kilic Kalkan" - The Sword and Shield Dance of Bursa represents the Ottoman conquest of the city. It is performed by men only, dressed in early Ottoman battle dress who dance to the sound of clashing swords and shields, without music.
d) "Zeybek" - In this Aegean dance, colorfully dressed male dancers, called "efe," symbolize courage and heroism.

Folk Heroes

a) Nasrettin Hoca - A 13th-century humorist and sage from Aksehir. His witticisms are known throughout Turkey and are often used to make a point.
b) Karagöz - Another jester, said to have lived in Bursa in the 14th century and now immortalized as a shadow puppet. Karagoz is a rough man of the people, who uses his ribald wit to get the better of his pompous friend, Hacivat. The puppets are made from gaily painted, translucent animal skin and safe projected onto a white screen.
c) Yunus Emre - The 13th-century philosopher-poet is one of Turkey's national treasures. His basic themes were universal love, friendship, brotherhood and divine justice. His simple and pure writing brings out a deep meaning for his readers and although he lived over 700 years ago, his work is still timely and thought provoking.
d) Köroglu - A 15th-century folk poet, K6roglu was a role model for his contemporaries and a hero of his time. His adventures have been recounted for centuries with prestige and vigor and perhaps now with more interest than ever. Koroglu was one of the first people to pioneer the ideal of unconditional help for the poor and down-trodden. He was also a great champion against the confines of government control and harassment.

Traditional sports

a) Yagli Güres" Greasy Wrestling" is the Turkish national sport and every year, in July, wrestling championships are held in Kirkpinar, outside Edime. The contest is made more difficult by the fact that the wrestlers smear themselves with oil.
b) Cilrit Oyunu - The "javelin game" of daredevil horsemanship is a sport where wooden javelins are thrown at horsemen of opposing teams to gain points. The game is played mainly in Eastern Turkey. Also, in Selcuk, in the Aegean Region you can watch camel fights (in January), but if for some reason, weather does not permit, don't despair, camel fights are held in many small towns throughout the springtime. At Artvin Kafkasor, a different type of bullfight is held (in June).


Hospitality: Hospitality is one of the cornerstones of the Turkish way of life. Following Koranic tenets and naturally friendly instincts, the Turk is a most gracious and generous host. Even the poorest peasant feels bound to honor his guest ("misafir") in the best possible manner. Hospitality is taken to such lengths that a foreigner often feels he is suffering from an overdose of it after being plied with food and drinks for hours and being unable to refuse anything, lest he hurt his host's feelings. In addition to ensuring a guest's material well-being, the Turk makes every effort to converse, no matter what linguistic barriers might exist. While most middle-class urban-dwelling Turks speak at least one European language, even the uneducated bravely struggle to make themselves understood, with remarkable success.

Turkish coffee houses: Even the smallest Turkish village has its coffee-house or "kahvehane", where men can talk, sip coffee, and play the national game of backgammon ("tavla"). In Istanbul especially, men can still be seen smoking their hubble bubble pipes ("nargile") in these coffee houses. Turkish baths: Owing to the emphasis placed on cleanliness in Turkish society, there have been public bath-houses ('hamam") in Turkey since medieval times. There are separate baths for men and women, or, when there is only one bath house in the town, different days or times of day are allocated for men and women. After entering the "hamam" and leaving one's clothes in a cubicle, one proceeds, wrapped in a towel ("pestemal") to the "gobek tasi", a large heated stone where one perspires and is rubbed down by a bath attendant. If the heat proves too much, one can retire to a cooler room for a while. This method of bathing is most refreshing and many of the old marble baths are very interesting, architecturally.

Turkish handicrafts have formed a rich mosaic by merging the cultural heritage of various civilizations dating back to thousands of years in Anatolia, with its own values.

It's possible to divide Turkish handicrafts as follows: Carpet-rug manufacturing, rug weaving, kerchief painting, pottery, porcelain manufacturing, embroidery, needle-work, leather work, musical instrument manufacturing, stone-work, jewelry and gemstone, copper- smith, basket making, packsaddle making, metal-work, felt making, knit-work, wood- work, glassware, etc.

The raw materials of weavings are wool, mohair, cotton, animal hair, hemp and silk.

Weavings are fabric, knitting, upholstery, carpet, kilim, zili, cicim, felt and surcingles which are made of all kinds of raw-materials that can be transformed into thread with spinning technique or any other techniques and which are obtained by way of weaving, knitting or
only by attaching fibbers to each other in different methods.

Weaving is a traditional Anatolian handicraft which has been produced since ancient times and has been a source of life in many regions. Jewelry is also remarkable.

The art of jewelry gained importance with the growth of the Ottoman Empire. Objects used in preparing and drinking Turkish coffee were often made of copper and bronze. Today, the traditional art of metal work is surviving widely in the production of copper kitchen utensils.

Handicrafts produced by using metals other than copper, like bronze, gold and silver are still alive today with their high quality and various designs.

Wood working was developed during the Seljukian period in Anatolia and reached a quality unique to itself. Wooden works of the Ottoman period are mostly architectural elements like pulpits, doors of mosques, cup- board doors which are superior in craftsman-ship. Objects of daily use like small tables, writing equipments, chests, spoons, drawers, thrones, reading-stands, Koran cases and in architectural elements like window, cup- board, joist, console, column, capital, ceiling, pulpit, niche and sarcophagus. Materials used in wood working are mostly walnut, apple, pear, ebony and rose trees. Another branch of art which has developed in connection with architecture is the art of ceramic. Tile making was brought to Anatolia by the Seljukian artists. The new ceramic styles which emerged in Iznik, Kutahya and Canakkale during the 15th and 17th centuries respectively and known by the names of their region, with their specific style, characteristic of color, pattern and form, brought new interpretations to the art of ceramic and tiles during the Ottoman period.

For Turkish people this is second nature and is certainly one of the highlights of Turkish travel. As a rule there is no language barriers as you’ll find out when you are constantly asked by the locals such questions as, are you married, how many children do you have and what Turkish football team do you support. (Choose Galatasaray, Besiktas or Fehnerbahce.)
If you are invited to a Turkish home it is customary to remove your shoes before you enter. As a guest you will be offered everything, where possible do not refuse as this can be taken as an insult.
If the conversation touches such subjects as politics, military activities or religion reserve comment.

Blue Cruise

Bodrum is the ideal starting point for the famous  Blue Cruise


In ancient times - open sea, today a lake, the Bafa Gölü


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Epsilon in a romantic garden

Epsilon - in a romantic garden.


Bodrum castle

the castle of St. Peter is a landmark from all points of view


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A summer evening inTürkbükü

All restaurants on the seeside of Türkbükü have their tables on Pontons

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Turkish Society

Turkey has been looking westwards in terms of political and social reform for over eighty years. In this time it has undergone radical urbanisation and migration movements yet its rich and vibrant society and culture are still very much in evidence. Turkey, "perched on the edge of Europe", has more European elements than many would suspect yet it has understandably amassed an array of traditions from the Middle East, Islam, the Chinese, the Byzantines…. The list of influences on Turkish society is an extensive one, built layer upon layer from conquered civilisations. This has created a dynamic fusion of cultures and traditions into the "Turkish way of life": old and new, East and West, and modern and traditional can all be seen in Turkey today. Turkey, as a bridge between east and west, has meant many civilisations have sought, throughout history, to control the land. This has left Turkey an amazing heritage of archaeological sites dotted throughout the countryside.

Television, cassettes and a growing literacy rate in the country has virtually wiped out the 1000 year old tradition of the Troubadours but the Turkish aren’t prepared to completely forget the tradition – their songs and poetry are still performed and recorded. Theatre of any form remains especially popular in Turkey from village plays to shadow shows. The abrupt turns of events, inexplicable changes of identity and the fantastical so characteristic of the folk literature is also well appreciated in Turkey.

Coffee houses and bath houses remain social institutions with their own unique customs; there are those who will tell your fortune from the coffee grains in your cup! Raki (or Lion’s Milk) traditionally accompanies meze, the more common of these being melon and feta cheese. The traditions of Yaðli güreþ, Cirit Oyunu, the camel fights at Selcuk or the bull fights of Artvin Kafkasor all endure as part of the Turkish culture, underpinning Atatürk’s belief that "Culture is the foundation of the Turkish Republic".

Links on Turkish Society



Nach dem Bau einer Burg auf der Insel Kos benötigten die Ritter ein Bollwerk auf dem Festland. Die Suche nach einer neuen Wirkungsstätte führte die Johanniter zu einer zwischen zwei geschützten Buchten gelegenen Insel (einst war die Burg nämlich vollkommen von Wasser umgeben). Und etwa um das Jahr 1413 begannen die Johanniter-Ritter von Rhodos mit dem Bau ihrer Burg auf der kleinen Insel, damals Zephyrion genannt.

In diesem Gebiet, in dem seit tausenden von Jahren verschiedene Völker gelebt haben, hat jede neu ankommende Gruppe zurückgelassenes Baumaterial vorheriger Bewohner
gefunden und genutzt. (Der aufmerksame Besucher der durch die Hintergassen Bodrums wandert, wird auch heute viele alte Häuser mit eingemauerten antiken Bausteinen und Säulenteilen entdecken.)

Auch die Ordensritter wiesen ihre Baumeister kein nützliches Baumaterial zu verschenken. Und nur etwa 1 km nördlich lagen die Überreste des von einem Erdbeben zerstörten Mausoleums. Die Johanniter berichten selbst, dass sie das Mausoleum als Steinbruch für ihren Burgbau benutzt haben. Der Baumeister des Kastells, Heinrich Schlegelholt schreibt: "Wir rissen nieder, zertrümmerten und verbrannten!" (... um Kalk zu gewinnen)
Diese Tatsache kann man heute noch konstatieren: viele Säulen-Elemente und Friesstücke sind in die Mauern des Kastells eingebaut. Die vom Fundament des Mausoleums entnommenen grünlichen, sorgfältig behauenen Steinblöcke wurden für die Burgmauern verwendet.

Der Vatikan mass dem Kastellbau grosse Bedeutung bei und entsandte Christen. um dort zu arbeiten. Man erliess ein päpstliches Dekret, welches all denjenigen. die beim Bau behilflich waren eine Aufnahme in den Himmel garantierte.

Der deutsche Architekt Heinrich Schlegelholdt beaufsichtigte den Burgbau und sorgte für dessen neuesten Stil: die Franzosen entwickelten zu der Zeit die Kunst des Kanonengießens, also wurden die Burgmauern oben, besonders jene landeinwärts gelegenen mit Schießscharten versehen. Die Kreuzfahrer hatten eine mächtige Kriegsflotte, sodaß sie vor einem Angriff von Meeresseite her nur wenig Angst hatten (die dem Festland zugewandten Mauern sind wesentlich dicker als die dem Meer zugewandten).

Die Johanniter bauten auch einen Wachturm auf einem Berg gegenüber dem Kastell, die Bucht überblickend; heute erheben sich seine Überreste über einer Ferienanlage der türkischen Armee.

Die Ritter nannten ihre Stadt "Mesy", wohl in Unkenntnis ihres antiken Namens und wahrscheilich auch der Geschichte von Halikarnassos, und die neue Burg von St.Petrus wurde bald die wichtigste Stellung ausserhalb Rhodos. In Verbindung mit dem Kastell in Antimachia auf der Insel Kos hatten sie die damals am meisten befahrene Schiffahtsroute unter Kontrolle.

Nach der Eroberung von Rhodos im Jahre 1523 wurde die Stadt wieder dem Türkisch-Osmanischem Imperium angeschlossen. Im Jahre 1770 beschoß die russische Flotte die Stadt. Während des griechischen Aufstandes im Jahre 1824, wurde die Burg von den Türken als Hauptquartier benutzt. Im ersten Weltkrieg versuchte das französische Kriegsschiff 'Duplex' am 26. Mai 1915 die Stadt zu besetzen, doch gelang es den hiesigen Truppen Widerstand zu leisten. Als jedoch die Türken im ersten Weltkrieg besiegt wurden, besetzten die Italiener am 11. Mai. 1919 die Stadt. Sie benutzten die Festung als Hauptquartier und achteten darauf mit den Einwohnern in friedlich zusammen zu leben. Während des Befreiungskrieges, den Mustafa Kemal Atatürk in Anatolien begonnen hatte und der sich zu Gunsten der Türken entwickelte, wurde die Besetzung am 5. Juli 1921 aufgehoben und die italienischen Truppenzogen sich aus Bodrum zurück.

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auf diesem zeitgenössischem Stich sieht man die in die Mauern eigelassenen Friese des Mausoleums

auf diesem zeitgenössischen Stich sieht man die in die Mauern eigelassenen Friese des Mausoleums

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