Turkish culture is closely connected with the Turkish history, namely the glorious Ottoman Empire. This strong state, with the capital in magnificent Istanbul (former Costantinople, which used to be the capital of the Byzantine Empire), had dominated the European continent for centuries. Formed under the Ottoman Empire, where the sultans strived to modernize and westernize the country, and further modernized under the republic of Ataturk, Turkish culture and traditions are a unique mix of the Western and Eastern culture.
The Turkish architecture is most closely associated with beautiful Istanbul mosques. Yet, it was the Christian temple of St. Sophia (now referred to as Hagia Sophia) that became an architectural example and long-term inspiration for the Turkish architecture. These days, many Turkish mosques are still inspired by the style and proportions of the Hagia Sophia. On many buildings, one can see hand painted tiles of floral or abstract design – this is a traditional Turkish pottery. The tradition of hand painted pottery in a variety of bright colors and patterns emerged centuries back. Turkish pottery is now one of the symbols of the Turkish culture. Tourists from all over the world bring Turkish bowls, plates and cups, adding the touch of the Ottoman culture to their homes with traditional pottery.
Traditional Turkish cuisine consists of eggplant, tomatoes, peppers, grilled kebabs and yogurt sauces, all generously topped with Turkish spices. In the seaside regions of the country, fish and seafood are widely popular. The Turkish love good food, so you will be delighted at the good-size portions served with lots of fresh and marinated vegetables. Like other branches of Mediterranean cuisine, Turkish cuisine is largely based on marinated vegetables and olives, as well as wide variety of cheese. Olives and cheese are often served for breakfast, accompanied with fruits, vegetables and traditional Turkish coffee or tea.
With Istanbul being one of the top tourism destinations of 2014, Turkey is a very open and welcoming country, easy to get around and travel. It boasts a very modern transportation system, and a wide range of affordable accommodation options. Learning Turkish will help you gain better understanding of Turkey and its exotic culture.