Turkish cuisine is considered to be one of the three main cuisines of the world due to its variety of recipes and its distinctive tastes. Olive oil is one of the most frequently used ingredients. Dolma (stuffed) dishes are the queen of Turkish dishes which are olive-oil based. Vegetables such as vine leaves, green peppers, tomatoes and aubergines are stuffed with rice and spices and served cold. Green beans, leeks and artichokes cooked in olive oil are served as main od side dishes.
Cheese is a popular menu staple especially at breakfast. There are a great many regional cheeses, with white cheese and kasar being the most popular. Turkish breakfasts can be delicious or mundane, depending on the freshness and variety of the ingredients. The best breakfasts consist of warm fresh bread, creamy white cheese, butter, honey and home-made preserves, home-cured black and green olives, garden fresh sliced tomatoes and and a farm-fresh boiled egge. Tea is the traditional breakfast bevarage. Other options for breakfasts are simit (a chewy doughnut-shaped sesame bread), menemen (a scrambled mixture of eggs, tomatoes and chilly peppers) or a börek (cheese or minced filled flaky pastry.)
The variety of snacks can be plentiful and provide a welcome alternative to the hamburgers and pizza offered in tourist cafes. Lahmacun, a thin round bread with spicy minced meat topping, can be tasty, and in seaside resorts, midye tava (deep-fried mussels) can be found. More than 100 types of fish inhabit the seas surrounding three sides of tha Anatolian peninsula. Having ascertained the day's catch, samples of which may be presented to you, you can proceed to grilled (izgara) or panfried (tava) fish, served with lemon wedges, or sometimes cooked in liquid (bugulama), flavoured with tomatoes and onions. In Turkey, sauces served with fish are not very common.
A perfect dish is always accompanied by a green salad and a glass of raki.
Raki, the main alcoholic drink of Turkey, is made from grapes and anise and is best when comsumed along side a leisurely meal of mezes (appetizers). These 'starters' are served on small plates and include fresh salads, white cheese, lakerda (pickled tuna), Arnavut Cigeri or deep fried liver served with fresh onion rings, mussels stuffed with rice, çiroz (sun-dried fish), dolmas, pickles, sigara böregi (long thin cheese pastry) and many more. Börek is a flaky Turkish pastry stuffed with cheese, vegetables or meat. It comes in countless varieties, depanding on the region. Su böregi and talas böregi are among the choicest options in this category.
Turkish coffee, drunk after each meal and on every possible occassion, is unique in its preparation and taste (the coffee is stirred in cold water in a cezve -a pot with a hadle and boiled until it produces a foam. The foam is poured into the cup and the remaining part is boiled once more.) Some Turkish culinary specialities have a world-wide reputation. Lokum-Turkish delight is one of them. This is starch boiled in sugar syrup to which hazelnut or pistachio is added. Almond and pistachio fundants are some of the rich Turkish treats that are exported throughout the world.
ARTS & CULTURE
Culture is the foundation of the Turkish Republic
Mustafa Kemal Ataturk – Founder of the Turkish Republic
Through the centuries, Turkish artist and artisans have developed styles of art that are uniquely Turkish.
Forbidden by Islam to portray human and animal forms in art, early Turkish artists turned their creative talents to architecture, music, poetry, weaving, wood and metal working, ceramics, glassblowing, jewelry, manuscript illumination and calligraphy.Today a new flouring of Turkish art and culture is taking place in Turkey.
Ballet in both Ankara and Istanbul has, for decades, performed many world classics. Several new foreign and Turkish productions have been introduced into the repertory over the years and a number of modern dance companies have begun to give performances throughout the country.
Turkish music evolved from the original folk form into classical through the emergence of a Palace culture. It attained its highest point in the 16th century through the composer known as Itri. Great names in Turkish classical music include Dede Efendi, Haci Arif Bey and Tamburi Cemal Bey. It is a form that continues to be professionally performed and one that attracts large audiences. Turkish popular music is a variation of the national musical tradition, played with instruments such as the tambur, kanun, ney and ud. Folk music has developed gradually over the centuries in the rural areas of Turkey. It is highly diversified with many different rhythms and themes. Musical archives contain almost 10,000 such folk songs. Turkish religious music, mostly in the form of songs, is centuries old and rich in tradition, embodied at its most perfect by Mevlevi music. The Turks were introduced to western classical music through orchestras which were invited to the Sultan's Palace to celebrate occasions such as weddings. The great Italian composer, Donizetti, conducted the Palace orchestra for many years. The first military band was founded in the 19th century.
During the Republican era, the Presidential Symphony Orchestra, founded in 1924, and the Orchestra of the Istanbul Municipality Conservatory, played a leading role in introducing and popularizing classical music in Turkey. Turkish composers drew their inspiration from Turkish folk songs and classical Turkish music. Today, conductors such as Hikmet Simsek and Gürer Aykal, pianists like Idil Biret and the Güher and Süher Pekinel sisters, and violinists like Suna Kan are internationally recognized virtuosos. Leyla Gencer is one of the leading sopranos of La Scala Opera, wildly acclaimed whenever she performs in her native Istanbul.
Theater & Cinema
Turkish theater is thought to have originated from the popular Karagöz shadow plays, a cross between moralistic Punch and Judy and the slapstick Laurel and Hardy. It then developed along an oral tradition, with plays performed in public places, such as coffee houses and gardens, exclusively by male actors. Atatürk gave great importance to the arts, and actively encouraged theater, music and ballet, prompting the foundation of many state institutions. Turkey today boasts a thriving arts scene, with highly professional theater, opera and ballet companies, as well as a flourishing film industry. The country enjoys numerous arts festivals throughout the year, the most prestigious of which is the Istanbul Film Festival.
Until the18th century, painting in Turkey was mainly in the for of miniatures, usually linked to books in the form of manuscript illustration. In the 18th century, trends shifted towards oil painting, beginning with murals. Thereafter, under European inspiration, painting courses were introduced in military schools. The first Turkish painters were therefore military people who, respecting the Islamic tradition which bars representation of the human face, focused at first on landscapes. The modernization of Turkish painting, including representation of the human figure, started with the founding of the Academy of Arts under the direction of Osman Hamdi Bey, one of the great names in Turkish painting. In 1923, followed by many other such schools. Art exhibitions in Turkey's cities multiplied, more people started to acquire paintings and banks and companies began investing in art.
Literature has long been an important component of Turkish cultural life, reflecting the history of the people, their legends, their mysticism, and the political and social changes that affected this land throughout its long history. The oldest literary legacy of the pre-Islamic period are the Orhon inscriptions in northern Mongolia, written in 735 on two large stones in honor of a Turkish king and his brother. During the Ottoman period, the prevailing literary form was poetry, the dominant dialect was Anatolian or Ottoman, and the main subject beauty and romance. The Ottoman Divan literature was highly influenced by Persian culture and written in a dialect which combined Arabic, Persian and Turkish. Separate from the aristocratic Divan literature, folk literature continued to dominate Anatolia where troubadour-like poets celebrated nature, love and God in simple Turkish language. Towards the 20th century, the language of Turkish literature became simpler and more political and social in substance. The great and politically controversial poet, Nazim Hikmet, inspired by the Russian poet Mayakowski, introduced free verse in the late 1930s.
Nowadays, the irrefutable master of the Turkish popular novel is Yasar Kemal, with his authentic, colorful and forceful description of Anatolian life. Young Turkish writers tend to go beyond the usual social issues, preferring to tackle problems such as feminism and aspects of the East-West dichotomy which continues to fascinate Turkish intellectuals. Some of the rising stars of contemporary Turkish literature are: Orhan Pamuk, Nedim Gursel, Ahmet Altan and Pinar Kur. Source: www.letsgoturkey.com
ARTISTIC EXPERIENCES IN TURKEY
ACTIVITIES IN FETHIYE