Straddling both Europe and Asia, Turkey is rich in culture, history and art. Its capital, Istanbul, has many modern festivities that contrast with the more traditional ones that can be found in the interior of the country. Turkey is a largely Muslim country, so many of its festivities are governed by the Islamic calendar.
Although these festivals can be seen in other parts of the country, they are especially famous in Selcuk, 3 kilometres from Ephesus. More than 2,000 years old, this festival is one of the most traditional in the country. Camels, called tülüs, fight among themselves for the female. The fight is governed by rules, so there is a referee. The winner is the camel who does not fall to the ground.
Kirkpinar is a traditional Turkish fight in which two men compete, hand-to-hand, smeared with olive oil. A sight worth seeing that, since 2010, is inscribed on the list of the intangible cultural heritage of humanity. This festival is open to all kinds of men to participate, regardless of their religion.
It is said that in this region of Turkey was where Saint Nicholas, also known as Santa Claus, was born. For this reason, at the beginning of December, a festival is celebrated where the saint is honoured, with several religious events and parades.
For fifteen days the city of Istanbul is full of performances, concerts and events where the main theme is music. There is room for all kinds of styles: classical, pop, rock, the most traditional music of the country and contemporary. In addition, talks and workshops are organized.
During this 15 day festival, films from Turkey are shown, as well as new generations of world cinema. It is a good opportunity to soak up the cinephile culture of this fascinating country.
Konya is the city of the Seljuk Dervishes. In fact, this is where Mevlana Rumi Jelaleddin, the master of this dancing art, was buried. During these dates, several events are held in the city that commemorate his order and is honoured through typical Turkish dance. This is the best place and time to see the Dervishes in all their glory.
The national holiday of Turkey. The beginning of the republic is celebrated and the first president of the Republic of Turkey, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk is honoured. The first meeting of the Republican Parliament in 1920 is also celebrated and coincides with Children's Day. Although celebrated throughout the country, the best place to enjoy its commemorations is its capital, Ankara.
This festival is one of the most popular in the region. Different dance, music and other scenic arts are organized. There are also sports championships and the streets are filled with colour and ornaments. It lasts around five days and it commemorates the discovery of Troy.