Turkish lifestyle is a vivid mosaic; juxtaposing the West and the East, the modern and the ancient
Life in Turkey is a rich variety of cultures and traditions, some dating back centuries and others or more recent heritage. Any visitor to Turkey will find a great deal that is exotic, and much that is reassuringly familiar. The intriguing blend of East and West makes up the Turkish lifestyle.
The official language of the country is Turkish. It is spoken by 220 million people and is the world's fifth most widely spoken language.
Turkish is written with the Latin alphabet with the addition of six different characters. Turkish is completely phonetic - each letter of the alphabet has only one sound-, so each word sounds exactly how it is written.
Turkey is the only secular country in the Islamic world. Secularism is enshrined in the constitution that religion has no place whatsoever in governing of the country. The constitution secures freedom of belief and worshiping. During the time of the Ottoman Empire, people of many different faiths lived together in peace, and since then this diversity has been preserved. Today there are 236 churches and 34 synagogues open for worship in Turkey.
Visitors to Turkey are often pleasantly surprised by the friendliness of the Turkish people, who will go out of their way to assist and happily spend time chatting. Hospitality is a cornerstone of Turkish culture, and Turks believe that visitors should be treated as “Guests sent by God”. This attitude has survived to the 21st century and does not appear to have been diminished by mass tourism.
Turkish cuisine is renowned as one of the world's best. It is considered to be one of the three main cuisines of the world because of the variety of its recipes, its use of natural ingredients, its flavors and tastes that appeal to all palates and its influence throughout Europe, Asia, the Middle East and Africa. The cuisine originated in central Asia, the first home of the Turks, and then evolved with the contributions of the inland and Mediterranean cultures with which Turks interacted after their arrival in Anatolia.
Turkish cuisine is in a sense a bridge between far-Eastern and Mediterranean cuisines, with the accent always on enhancing the natural taste and flavor of the ingredients.