Kebabs are loved here, it's true. Kebapchi eateries serve dozens of varieties of fragrant meat on a spit, the most delicious ones are “kebab jag” made from pieces of marinated lamb or lamb in pita bread with green pepper, minced meat sausages on the grill “Adana” from the city of the same name, coarsely chopped “Iskander” on a flatbread with melted fat, tomato sauce and yogurt, a kebab in a pot from Cappadocia and the famous “döner” that has spread around the world.
The lack of pork is another myth: it is sold everywhere in Antalya, specialized shops and restaurants are open in Istanbul, and Carrefour hypermarkets have separate sections with signs like “Beware of pork!”.
But kebab is just one of the pearls of Turkish cuisine: meze appetizers, appetizing kyufta, stuffed eggplants “baba ganoush”, cutlets with the spicy name “female thigh”, soups made from lentils and a dry vegetable mix “tarkhana” are also good. Desperate gourmets will appreciate strange dishes from the insides (which are stuffed cabbage from offal or sheep intestines), sweet tooth – Turkish delight, baklava and halva melting in their mouths.
Contrary to popular belief, the most popular drink is not coffee at all: the average Turk consumes about 3.5 kg of tea per year, such impressive figures are not found anywhere else in the world. Although coffee is also held in high esteem, and it is brewed in a special way, adding sugar to the Turk during cooking, without stirring the finished drink. Yes, and the attitude towards alcohol is loyal: local beer “bira”, aniseed vodka “raki”, wine “sharap” from Izmir and Thrace – in hotels, bars and restaurants the choice of alcohol is wide, but drinking it in public places is prohibited. Top 10 Weird and Sometimes Disgusting Turkish Foods You've Probably Never Heard Of. 9 Good Reasons to Never Vacation in Turkey | Our arguments:
Sign language is universal
Whatever it is: try giving a local a thumbs up (spoiler alert: don't try it). What “class” means to a European may seem like an offensive allusion to homosexuality to a Turk. To express approval, it is better to raise your fingers folded into a “pinch” (saying “wah!” is not necessary). And turning the head from side to side is interpreted not as a denial, but as a misunderstanding: instead of “no”, they click their tongues funny here.
The language in the country is not Arabic, but Turkish – they even come from different language families. Turkish is much closer to Azeri, Gagauz and Turkmen, interspersed with Persian, Spanish, Greek, Italian and French. To make a good impression, it is worth learning a few common phrases: for example, “merhaba” – “hello” or “teshekkur ederim” – “thank you”.
A harmless fig, she is a figurine – almost an analogue of the middle finger. You need to sit so that the soles of the shoes are not visible (this is disrespect for the interlocutor), and to greet, accept gifts or take cutlery – only with your right hand, because the left is “unclean”.
What “class” means to a European may seem like an insulting allusion to homosexuality to a Turk.
All hotels are the same
When choosing a hotel, one should be guided not only by the number of “stars” on the facade. Some “three” are not much inferior to the “fives”, and, conversely, pretentious-looking hotels in fact turn out to be, to put it mildly, faulty. For example, in Istanbul a lot depends on the area: somewhere in Laleli the quality of housing and service is lower than in the center. On Turkish beaches, you can not only sunbathe, but also be active in every possible way: water skiing, diving, snorkelling, surfing and other entertainments attract fidgets of all ages. It would be good to take care of safety in advance by including a clause on active recreation in the insurance policy.
Different resorts are occupied by different audiences: architecture fans choose the old center of Antalya (there is practically nowhere to swim there), there are many pensioners and families with kids in eastern Lara, and divers and athletes have chosen Beach Park.
The most popular resorts in Turkey have been named the Russians. Our detailed (and very beautiful) review:Even the notorious “all inclusive” is an ambiguous thing: in most “fives” they charge an additional fee for visiting the hammam, jacuzzi and spa, in simpler hotels they make you pay extra for sunbeds or some drinks (only what is impossible to drink is free). In general, before the trip, you need to carefully study the reviews, and only the real opinions of the predecessors will help you navigate the kaleidoscope of options.
- What not to eat in hotels in Turkey: a few valuable observations;
- The most popular Turkish hotels among Russians are named: 11 most popular .
There is nothing to do outside the hotels
Some hotels are built on the outskirts, and there really is nothing around – at most, a village with a seedy market and a couple of nondescript shops. Well, this is also Turkey, but you can’t do without excursions: in a rented car or tourist bus, with experienced guides or a guidebook in your pocket – it’s not so important, the main thing is not to sit still. The most spectacular sights flaunt in Istanbul: magnificent palaces, graceful mosques, powerful fortresses, covered with legends of the Galata and Maiden Towers – one visit will certainly not be enough.
Mysterious caves are interesting in Alanya, in Ankara you can walk around museums for a long time, in Antalya waterfalls and markets like Charshamba with outlandish goods are noisy. Towering over Bodrum is the castle of St. Petra, and multi-colored balloons soar above the underground labyrinths of Cappadocia. The ruins of Izmir and the burning mountains of Kemer, the embankments of Marmaris and the baths of Pamukkale, the canyons of Side and the ghost towns of Fethiye – are there enough routes for the next decade?
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Hospitality can be abused
Many people are sure that the tourist is always right, and they feel almost like owners in Turkey. Yes, literally everything here is designed for visitors: the locals smile (and, by the way, quite sincerely), speak Russian well and are generally ready to fulfill any whim of the guest. But in return it would be better to repay with respect for the traditions of the ancient eastern country. No insults to the first President Ataturk, no disregard for the national flag and other relics – the Turks are reverent about their values. You should not take pictures of local women, and it is customary for men to ask permission. At the entrance to the mosque, it is obligatory to take off your shoes, the dress code for men is closed shoes, trousers or shorts below the knees, a shirt or Swede, for women – a headscarf and clothes covering legs and arms.
A foreigner in an overly revealing outfit is unlikely to be rushed to cover up with a hijab, but most likely they will be considered frivolous and some frivolity will be allowed in her direction. It is permissible to address any requests only to strangers of the same sex, only men shake hands, the manifestation of passionate feelings in public is highly undesirable. In general, nothing complicated and supernatural – politeness, good nature and respect for cultural differences open hearts anywhere in the world.
What else to read:
- What do Russians vacationing in Antalya complain about: the main disadvantages of the resort;
- Bringing cool souvenirs from Turkey: 9 good ideas.