12 Things About Living in Turkey You Won’t Learn From a Travel Show

Turkey has everything you need for a good rest: the hot sun, the beautiful sea, and the amazing beaches. And also, the people in Turkey are really hospitable, which is why tourists love coming back to Turkey over and over again.

We at Bright Side took a whole notebook to write down all the facts we’ve learned about Turkey. And at the end of the article, there is a bonus for you — stories from people that have visited Turkey and not just gotten a souvenir, but a cool story.

1. When guests come to a home, they leave their shoes outside.

  • Shoes are taken off before coming into the apartment. People leave them outside. This is why it’s important to know if you are visiting someone. There would be a few pairs of slippers for guests in a Turkish home, but you could also arrive there with your own slippers and nobody would be surprised. © turetskiy.yazik / Facebook
  • Like all Turks, I started taking my shoes off at the front door to keep the house clean. And a good host sneaks out while their guests are drinking tea and turns the guests’ shoes with the tips pointing away from the door to make it easier for them to put their shoes on when leaving. © osfery / Livejournal

2. All women are considered beautiful, just in different ways.

  • In Turkey, women are very elegant. Some of them wear boots in any type of weather. It’s really easy to recognize Turkish women in Europe by just looking at their boots. © haydamak / Livejournal

  • If you have light skin, light eyes, and a small, straight nose, you are beautiful. If you have dark skin and eyes, you are a Turkish beauty. In both cases, men in Turkey will adore you. It’s easy to be beautiful in Turkey. © nedorazumenie / Livejournal

3. Turkish men are really impulsive and they are big sports fans.

  • A Turkish man needs one meet-up to tell you how serious his plans are: he might say he wants to try dating, propose marriage, or just suggest going to his place. And 99% of the time, Turkish men are serious about what they say. At least when they are in the moment. Maybe, it’s an instinct they have to try and be first at everything. © SHKAPYNETA / Livejournal
  • If your husband comes home and his voice is hoarse, he looks all red, and he flips you upside down, it’s probably because his favorite soccer team has just won. © inesa_baronessa / Livejournal

4. Turkish people are really hospitable.

  • My biggest culture shock was the friendliness and compassion of the people. I asked one man how to get to a Turkish bath I had found in a brochure. He told me to not go there and that it was a tourist trap. He said he would take me to a REAL Turkish bath. He spoke Turkish to the proprietors, translated the price lists for me, and left me to have a great experience at lower rates than the tourist trap had advertised. © Bunny Paine-Clemes / Quora
  • In Turkey, it’s easy to feel like you are an interesting person because they are incredibly polite. They will just sit and talk to you about anything in the world while smiling. And then they might say something about you that you can’t disagree with. This is just what people are like here. © osfery / Livejournal
  • Wherever we went, people would greet my kids warmly and cheerfully and give them something — a bar of chocolate, a piece of candy, and even a pack of paper tissues when they couldn’t find something nicer to offer. That touched our hearts deeply. My now 7-year-old daughter keeps asking me to take her back there where the people are “sweet and generous” toward kids. We have never experienced anything similar in any other country we have been to. © Shaban Rashed / Quora

5. They have a weird attitude toward driving laws.

“In Turkey, they have introduced new cool blue roads! Some cyclists use that road too, but we honked at them and pushed them off the road. Problem solved.”

  • Driving in Turkey is very unusual. There are driving laws, of course, but not everyone follows them. The Istanbul traffic is more like the Brownian motion in 3D because of the landscape of the city. I was the only person in the city that used a turn signal! © unclejosef / Livejournal

6. People love cats in Turkey.

A man brushes a street cat in Turkey.

  • It’s great to be a cat in Istanbul. It’s probably the most animal-friendly city in the world. In many of its parts, there are entire houses for them. Turks love feeding their little friends. © rederika / Livejournal
  • The cats that live in 5-star all-inclusive hotels have the best lives. A brochure in my hotel room said, “Our hotel has a special cat house. The cats that live there get to eat special cat food so we kindly ask you not to feed them with the restaurant food.” © igor_salnikov / Livejournal

7. There’s no such thing as central heating.

  • The biggest surprise in Turkey is for people that are used to central heating. A lot of locals have laughed at me — “I’m from Siberia, so how can I get cold in Turkey?” Turkish people themselves wear some pretty thin coats in winter and almost don’t wear hats. They wear hats more for the style than to keep warm. Also, there are 2 kinds of blankets in Turkish houses. One is for winter and the other one is for cold winter nights. © osfery / Livejournal
  • The parts of Turkey that are really cold (near the Black Sea and the Sea of Marmara) have central gas heating. Many apartments can control how warm they want it. Of course, you need to know that the bills for this are really high. © irina_calish / Livejournal

8. They don’t celebrate birthdays.

  • Since I moved to Turkey, I haven’t felt that we have any holidays (Christmas, Easter, New Year). Even on birthdays, almost none of my Turkish relatives congratulate me. And I’ve kinda gotten used to it. © alaturka_vik / Livejournal

9. They are generous but not thrifty.

A restaurant owner in Turkey gathered street vendors’ children and prepared a feast for them.

  • There is a belief in Turkish culture that the more you give, the more you get. In other words, God blesses those who give to others. © Mel Burslan / Quora

  • A Turkish bride and groom chose to serve food to 4,000 refugees for their wedding banquet instead of throwing a lavish reception party for their guests. © mdjunaid2495 / Reddit

  • People in Turkey spend money easily without even thinking about tomorrow. For example, in the tourist business, they know that they can earn money only in the high season, and there’s almost no work in small tourist towns. But instead of saving money for the colder times, they just spend it. © irina_calish / Livejournal

10. They drink a lot of tea.

  • Tea is not just a drink but an excuse for us to get together to celebrate our moments with our loved ones, or just simply to show how we care about the ones we have a cup of tea with. © Sophie Demirturk / Quora

  • Turks don’t plan their lives, they live in the here and now. We’re here, it’s nice, the tea is hot, and it’s all good. Why would we need plans? If something changes in an hour, someone calls us, or it starts raining, we’ll do something about it. Why plan anything ahead? © irina_calish / Livejournal

  • What still annoys me about Turkey are really long tea parties. We talk about stuff: about neighbors, relatives, and politics. There have been times when people hung out with us for 5-6 hours. © IRINA_CALISH/ Livejournal

11. At Turkish weddings, they don’t use flowers.

  • In Turkey, they don’t use flowers at weddings. Well, there are flowers, but not in bouquets. They are wreaths that look kind of scary. On the wreaths, there are the names of the people who brought them. We had these things at our wedding, but fortunately, they were at the entrance only. © osfery / Livejournal
  • Turkish weddings are crowded. It might seem like most guests have absolutely nothing to do with the celebration. And it’s true. For example, my sister’s friend came to the wedding with her husband and her mother! Because young girls can’t go to celebrations of this nature without company. And there were some people we didn’t know at all! © osfery / Livejournal
  • In Turkey, people give flowers on other occasions. But for weddings and funerals, they bring wreaths. It could be quite shocking when you see them for the first time. © turkeyonair / Livejournal

12. They love children in Turkey.

  • I’ve lived in Turkey for a long time but I’m still shocked to see women’s attitudes toward someone else’s children. I was in a hospital. A woman next to me was showing a photo of a newborn baby of her distant relative to a friend. The friend didn’t even know the mother of the child. I wouldn’t like the idea of someone showing other people the photo of my child. And it’s a very popular thing to take photos of newborns. I’m constantly shown pictures of someone else’s kids. They expect me to be all happy. And the same thing happens when someone with a child comes to someone’s place. All Turkish women start kissing the child and then give me a suspicious look as if they’re wondering why I’m not doing the same. I just can’t make myself hug and kiss a child I don’t know. © MsFrost / turkeyforfriends.com

Bonus: User stories

  • This is how much shampoo we saw in our room at a Turkish hotel after we left $3 as a tip. © Coy0te / Pikabu

  • My friend and I were in Turkey. Every evening, we went dancing where a man was selling roses. So he kept bringing my friend roses from different guys. Sometimes just one rose, sometimes big bouquets. I got nothing during our entire stay there. On the last day, the man came up to us and my friend reached for the rose but he gave it to me. When I asked him who it was from, he said proudly, “From me.” He felt sorry for me. © Podslushano / Ideer

What facts do you know about Turkey that you can’t find in a travel book?

Preview photo credit Podslushano / Ideer
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