Turkey Culture

By | September 24, 2021

The first cultural evidence in today’s area of ​​Turkey are relics from the Stone Age, which were discovered in the 1960s near Şanliurfa in the east of the country. All over the country archaeological excavations are uncovering entire cities from antiquity that are being restored, for example in Ephesus. From the 4th century, people dug churches, monasteries and cities, e.g. the cave churches of Göreme, in the soft tuff of the Cappadocia region.

Turkey – underground cities in Cappadocia

Underground cities in Cappadocia

Wind and water have created a bizarre landscape in the Anatolian highlands around Göreme: a valley basin surrounded by a chain of hills with dozens of individual rock cones in it. The rock cones are made of tuff, created from volcanic ejecta.

An early reference to the Cappadocia Caves comes from Xenophon, who lived in the 4th century BC. Chr. In his work »Anabasis« reports that the people of Anatolia dug their houses and streets into the earth. When and why these underground cities came into being, however, can only be guessed. One theory suggests that the spaces directly below the surface of the earth were originally only used to store supplies. This is supported by the fact that food could be stored in this way at a constant room temperature of 10 ° C. According to another hypothesis, the corridors, which could be closed at the side by large pebbles, were dug by the Hittites in order to be able to carry out tactical maneuvers unnoticed by the enemy. However, the finds, which mainly from the period after the 5th century AD, speak against this. Fore more information about Turkey and Middle East, please visit Calculatorinc.

The largest facility of this type is located under the city of Derinkuyu, where eight floors have been developed to a depth of 40 m since 1963. An underground passage leads to the village of Kaymaklı, 8 km away.

Near the village of Göreme, the former Avcılar, is the museum park with its numerous cave churches from Byzantine times. The facility is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The churches and chapels dug into the tuff are predominantly cross-domed churches; some of the supporting columns have broken away so that the domes seem to float above the ground. The Çarıklı Kilise from the 12th / 13th centuries is famous. Century because of a sandal print allegedly from the Prophet Mohammed on the floor of the southern arm of the cross. The Karanlık Kilise (between the middle of the 11th and 12th centuries), which belongs to a monastery complex with several rooms connected by a courtyard and is one of the most important examples of Cappadocian monastic culture, has high-quality paintings.

The most important cave church in the Göreme Valley is the Tokalı Kilise, which was probably built in the late 10th and early 11th centuries. It actually consists of three churches: One is in the basement, above are the so-called Old Tokalı Kilise and the New Tokalı Kilise, which cuts its apse. The old church has a barrel vault, the new one is a wide-space church with three apses, which are preceded by a cross passage with arcades. The frescoes, which, among other things, depict scenes from the Gospels, are particularly attractive.

One of the most famous buildings in Turkey is the Hagia Sophia from the 6th century in Istanbul, first a cathedral, later a mosque, finally a museum and, since 2020, a mosque again. It is considered a masterpiece of Byzantine architecture. The Topkapı Palace in Istanbul (15th – 19th centuries), where the sultans lived, and many mosques, e. B. the Blue Mosque (1616) or the Süleymanıye Mosque (1557) in Istanbul are examples of Ottoman architecture. As in literature, music and art , the influence of politically and culturally dominant Europe began to take hold in architecture from the 19th century onwards. Ottoman floor plans were given baroque or Art Nouveau facades, such as the Dolmabahçe Palace in Istanbul.

The poet N. Hikmet was hushed up during his lifetime as a communist, posthumously he is venerated as a national poet and innovator of Turkish poetry. The French novel was formative for contemporary literature. Modern literature tells of social changes and their consequences in many layers. An important representative is the 2006 Nobel Prize for Literature, O. Pamuk .

For centuries, folk music, which originated from songs, has also been danced in round dances. From the 1940s, the arabesque, which is often referred to as belly dance music and is used in numerous current pop songs, became popular. From the 1960s onwards, western-style pop music with Turkish texts came up. Ajda Pekkan (* 1946) is the grande dame of Turkish pop, Bariş Manço (* 1943, † 1999) was known worldwide with more than 200 compositions in different musical styles, Ahmet Kaya (* 1957, † 2000) sang with his deep voice often political texts, also in Kurdish.

The Turkish film is present with successful productions. Film art is created by the director and photographer Nuri Bilge Ceylan (* 1959), he received awards at the Cannes Film Festival for “Winter Sleep” (2014) and the atmospheric shots in the film drama “Once Upon A Time in Anatolia” (2011). Blockbusters such as the action series “Valley of the Wolves” (2005 ff.) Have been the subject of controversy, especially abroad.

The most popular sport in Turkey is soccer. The top division, the Süper Lig, is dominated by the Istanbul clubs Galatasaray, Fenerbahçe and Beşiktaş. Basketball and volleyball are also popular. The most important traditional sport is wrestling, especially oil wrestling, in which the body of the wrestler is oiled.

World Heritage Sites in Turkey

World Heritage Sites (K) and World Natural Heritage (N)

  • Historic districts of Istanbul (K; 1985)
  • Goreme National Park and Cappadocia Rock Monuments (K / N; 1985)
  • Divriği Great Mosque and Hospital (K; 1985)
  • Ruins of Hattusa (K; 1986)
  • Monumental tomb on Nemrut Dağı (K; 1987)
  • Ruins of Xanthos and Letoon (K; 1988)
  • Ancient City of Hierapolis and Pamukkale Lime Sinter Terraces (K / N; 1988)
  • Old town of Safranbolu (K; 1994)
  • Archaeological site of Troy (K; 1998)
  • Selimiye Mosque in Edirne (K; 2011)
  • Neolithic site Çatalhöyük (K; 2012)
  • Bursa and Cumalıkızık (K; 2014)
  • Pergamon (K; 2014)
  • Diyarbakır Fortress (K; 2015)
  • Ancient City of Ephesus (K; 2015)
  • Archaeological site of Ani (K; 2016)
  • Ancient City of Aphrodisias (K; 2017)
  • Prehistoric site Göbekli Tepe (K; 2018)

Turkey Culture