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Turkey – Leisure and Entertainment

Turkey is a country rich in history and culture, with a wide variety of leisure and entertainment options for locals and visitors alike. From historical landmarks to natural wonders, Turkey has something to offer for everyone. In this article, we will explore the major cultural attractions in Turkey, how people typically socialize, the main leisure activities, and popular sports. We will also take a look at the expat social scene and the different clubs, societies, and organizations available for expats in Turkey.

Major Cultural Attractions in Turkey

Turkey is home to many historic landmarks and cultural attractions that draw visitors from around the world. Here are some of the most popular:

  • Hagia Sophia: Originally built as a church in 537 AD, this iconic building in Istanbul was later converted into a mosque and is now a museum. Its stunning architecture and historical significance make it a must-see for visitors to Turkey.

  • Topkapi Palace: This historic palace in Istanbul was once the residence of the Ottoman sultans. It now serves as a museum, showcasing the opulent lifestyle of the Ottoman rulers.

  • Ephesus: Located in western Turkey, Ephesus is one of the best-preserved ancient Roman cities in the world. Visitors can explore the ruins of the city, including the Library of Celsus and the Great Theater.

  • Pamukkale: This natural wonder in southwestern Turkey is famous for its stunning white terraces formed by mineral-rich hot springs. Visitors can bathe in the warm waters and take in the beautiful views of the surrounding landscape.

  • Cappadocia: This region in central Turkey is known for its unique rock formations and underground cities. Visitors can take hot air balloon rides over the area and explore the ancient cave dwellings.

Socializing and Leisure Activities in Turkey

Socializing in Turkey often revolves around family and community. Turkish people are known for their hospitality and love of food, and sharing meals with friends and family is a common way to socialize. Tea houses, or çay bahçesi, are also popular gathering places where people can relax and chat over a cup of tea.

In terms of leisure activities, Turkey has a wide variety to offer. The beaches along the Mediterranean and Aegean coasts are popular destinations for swimming, sunbathing, and water sports like jet skiing and windsurfing. Turkey is also home to many beautiful natural parks and forests, such as the Yedigoller National Park and the Sapanca Lake.

Another popular leisure activity in Turkey is shopping. The Grand Bazaar in Istanbul is one of the largest and oldest covered markets in the world, with over 4,000 shops selling everything from jewelry to textiles to spices.

Popular Sports in Turkey

Football, or soccer, is by far the most popular sport in Turkey. The Turkish Football Federation oversees the country’s professional football leagues, and the national team has had some success on the international stage. Basketball is also a popular sport in Turkey, with many professional teams and a dedicated fan base.

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Wrestling, particularly oil wrestling, is a traditional Turkish sport that dates back centuries. Oil wrestling involves wrestlers wearing leather pants and covering their bodies in olive oil before grappling with each other. The Kirkpinar Oil Wrestling Festival is an annual event that draws thousands of spectators from around the world.

Expat Social Scene in Turkey

Turkey has a significant expat community, particularly in major cities like Istanbul and Ankara. Expats can find several social clubs, societies, and organizations to connect with like-minded people and enjoy their leisure time.

The American Women’s Association (AWA) is a popular expat organization in Istanbul, catering to American women living in the city. It offers a wide range of activities, including cultural outings, social events, and community service projects.

The British Residents Society (BRS) is another well-established expat organization that provides support and social events for British expats living in Turkey. The BRS organizes regular events such as quizzes, barbecues, and charity fundraisers.

In addition, the International Women of Istanbul (IWI) is an organization that brings together expat women from around the world, promoting cultural exchange, community service, and social activities. The group organizes events like cooking classes, book clubs, and language exchanges.

Expats interested in sports can join the Istanbul Rugby Football Club (IRFC), which is the oldest rugby club in Turkey, founded in 1966. The club offers opportunities to play rugby, participate in social events and tournaments, and connect with the local rugby community.

Finally, there are several online expat forums and social media groups, such as InterNations and Facebook groups, where expats can connect and exchange information and experiences. These platforms can be a great way to meet new people, find recommendations for activities and events, and get advice on living in Turkey.

In conclusion, Turkey has a rich cultural heritage and a vibrant social scene, with plenty of opportunities for leisure and entertainment. From exploring historic sites and museums to enjoying outdoor activities and joining expat clubs and organizations, there is something for everyone in Turkey.