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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.


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In this short video, we dive into the significant health care updates and changes happening globally in 2024. From Germany's insurance cost adjustments to Cyprus's renewed COVID-19 precautions, we cover the essential news you need to know.

Germany's Health Insurance Update:

Starting in 2024, residents in Germany will see a slight increase in their health insurance costs, with a 0.1% rise to a maximum of 1.7%. This adjustment aims to expand coverage for medical care not currently included in statutory health insurance, such as select dental treatments, IVF, and early cancer screenings.

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With over 3000 new COVID-19 cases, Cyprus is stepping up its game by reintroducing health measures. Requirements now include proof of a negative COVID-19 test for entry into various facilities, emphasizing the importance of vaccination, especially for the elderly, to combat the evolving virus strains.

Free Health Trials in Trieste, Italy:

Trieste launches an initiative for free health screenings, including echocardiograms and blood tests, focusing on preventive care against non-communicable diseases. This move underscores the city's commitment to improving public health through early detection and prevention.

Spain's New Health Advice App:

Madrid introduces a groundbreaking app offering reliable health advice to counteract the widespread misinformation online. This app, part of the 'Madrid Te Cuida' initiative, will guide users to accurate information, from diet tips to medical queries, ensuring the advice is vetted by health professionals.

Expat Satisfaction with Healthcare in Mexico:

A study reveals that expat retirees in Mexico are largely content with the healthcare quality and costs, with many citing significant savings compared to the United States without compromising on care quality. This insight sheds light on the growing trend of healthcare tourism and relocation for medical reasons.

Stay tuned as we unpack these updates, providing you with the insights and implications of these healthcare changes. Whether it's the impact on your wallet or the quality of care you can expect, we've got you covered in this comprehensive overview of health care in 2024. Don't forget to like, share, and subscribe for more health news around the globe!

YouTube Video UCB21b-C4O2aXm7H18_GsXMQ_nC_Fs6gU22U

Expat Focus International Healthcare Update January 2024

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