Things to do in Turkey

Adesua Emmanuel 15 December

You should watch men wrestle in oil (Yagli Gures)

 

You probably haven't heard of this before now. Yagli Gures popularly known as oil wrestling or grease wrestling is probably the most interesting event you will see in all of western Asia. Being the Turkish national sport, the wrestling matches forms an intrinsic part of the national Turkish culture. These matches serve as a means for the indigenous people to come together and celebrate their culture and history.

 

During these wrestling matches, wrestlers douse themselves in oil or grease, wear a type of hand-stitched leather trousers called the kisbet, and unlike all other wrestling matches you have seen, the Yagli Gures is won when a wrestler manages to grab an effective hold of his opponent’s kisbet. The winner of the match receives a lot of applause and praise from the crowd.  

 

You also have the opportunity to interact with locals during and after these matches. And if you are lucky enough you can take a picture with one of the wrestlers.

 

Explore Turkey’s Jewish History  

 

Though Turkey is predominantly a Muslim country today, the region was once a major Jewish city. Around 1492 after Jews are expelled from Spain and its surrounding regions, the Ottoman Empire welcomed them and allowed Jews to settle in Constantinople (now Istanbul) the ancient capital of the Ottoman empire.

 

Even now, you can take Jewish heritage tours to explore the remains of the ancient Jewish communities and how these communities were organized. There is also a Jewish museum that displays some of the fascinating contributions Jews made to the history and culture of Turkey.

 

Take a visit to Miniaturk

 

Do you know what miniature parks are? I bet you don’t. Miniature parks are parks that contain beautiful displays structures, buildings, and other structural models specially designed for recreational and tourist attractions. They are fast becoming a major aspect of tourism, and luckily, Turkey has one of the largest miniature parks in the world.  

 

The park covers a fascinating area of about 15 acres with over 100 wonderful models in Istanbul for tourists to see including the Hagia Eirene, Mostar Bridge, Obelisk of Theodosius, and so on. So, if you ever find yourself in Turkey, this is one of the places you must visit.  

 

Watch Local Fishermen on the Galata Bridge  

 

Every morning, local men in Karakoy in the district of Istanbul come in their dozens to fish and interact on the Galata Bridge. The interesting thing about this activity is that it allows tourists to meet locals and interact with them. You can even join them to fish!

 

There is also a fish market nearby where you can taste freshly prepared aquatic meals that will definitely leave you asking for more.

 

Witness the Whirling Sufi Dervishes  

 

The Sufi Whirling Dervishes is another unpopular event you do not want to miss. This unique dance, began around the 13th century when a Sufi master invented the dance as a means for people to attain a closer relationship with God. Since then, the whirling dance though not originally intended for tourism has attracted tourists all over the world.  

 

This dance is a great way for you to tap into the delightful Sufi spiritualism and feel for yourself what the ancient Sufi dancers felt.

 

Take a Traditional Turkish Bath

 

The traditional Turkish bath also known as Hamam is not like any regular bath you have taken. The bath has been an important part of the Turkish culture for centuries and is still popularly practiced all over Turkey today. The warm steamy bath which includes washing, body scrubbing, and a massage helps to achieve deep cleansing of both the mind and body.  

 

Visitors, guests, and tourists are allowed to undergo a modern version of the bath which does not require you to strip totally. However, to enjoy the full experience, you can decide to undergo the original traditional bath.

 

For those willing to embrace the Turkish cleansing tradition to the fullest, you can visit famous traditional bath places in Istanbul such as Ayasofya Hurrem, Sultam Humam, etc.

 

Visit the Temple of Artemis  

 

This is another site that tells the story of Turkey. The temple of Artemis was erected by Greeks that occupied Turkey long before the Ottoman Empire came into existence. It was dedicated to the Goddess of the hunt, forests, hills moons, and archery Artemis.

 

Tourists that travel to this site can see the remains as well as the model with which the temple was built. Also round the temple are local shops and restaurants where tourists can obtain traditionally made items. This is thus, one of the locations you should visit as you travel to this wonderful country.  

 

Visit the Ancient Temple of Troy  

 

You might have probably heard the popular story of the city of the ancient city of Troy. What you might not have heard is that this city is located in Turkey. Although the story has been told over and over again for thousands of years, it was not until the year 2000 that the actual location of the city was discovered. Before then the story was regarded as a myth since there was no concrete evidence to back up the story.

 

Since the discovery of the ancient city of Troy, tourists have traveled from all over the world to see the legendary city. Following the discovery, many more excavations have been done on the site and the discoveries have been endless. Some of the artifacts that were excavated from the site are displayed in many museums nearby and these are open for you to admire.