• Norway!

    Norway: Sunnylvsfjord. Go Now!

    Known for its natural beauty, Norway is home to isolated villages, fjords, and mountains that create a culture and landscape without compare. Begin Your Journey!

  • Vatican City!

    Vatican City: Vatican Museums. Go Now!

    Vatican City
    The smallest country in the world offers the heart of Catholicism and among the world's finest art collections, including the Sistine Chapel and the Raphael Rooms (ceiling pictured). Go to Vatican City!

  • Macedonia!

    Macedonia: Traditional architecture. Go Now!

    Macedonia is a country still finding its unique identity, but its architecture is already one of a kind. Explore Macedonia!

  • Austria!

    Austria: Belvedere Palace. Go Now!

    Belvedere Palace (pictured) is just one of many palaces found in Vienna. The capital is a good start to Austria, which also features the Alps, the Lakes District, and incredible history & food. Go Now!

  • Spain!

    Spain: Guell Park and Gaudi architecture. Go Now!

    Fusion foods, lively music, historic ruins, and cultural events like the Running of the Bulls and La Tomatina make Spain and Barcelona (pictured) a favorite tourist destination. Explore Spain!

  • Ukraine!

    Ukraine: Traditional Village. Go Now!

    Ukrainian culture is based on village life, particularly that found in the Carpathian Mountains (pictured). Begin Your Journey!

Culture & Identity of Turkey


The way of life in Turkey is incredibly diverse. For some Turks, their dress, religious beliefs, and dietary restrictions are quite liberal, but for others, their Islamic faith demands conservative dress, actions, and more. Although religion is the greatest contributing factor in an individual's way of life, there are other determining factors as well. The country is ethnically diverse; there are great differences from Istanbul and the western part of the country to the eastern part of the country, and more. However, despite the differences, there are also many similarities across the way of life from person to person.

The first significant similarity is that Turkey is heavily urbanized; over 70% of the people live in urban settings. Amongst those people living in more rural areas, many of those working have jobs in the agricultural sector as over a quarter of the Turks work in this sector. In the cities the working people have jobs in numerous fields, including both the industrial and services sectors. While the farmers schedule their day on the sun and weather, the urbanites generally have more regular schedules.

Most employees with a regular job work from about 8:00 am to about 5:00 pm, however entertainment positions, such as work in a restaurant, tend to work later and the many jobs in tourism (in some locations) vary based upon tourist demands, but again often times go into the evening and weekend (Saturday-Sunday) hours. Schools also run on a fairly regular schedule with schools in session from mid-September to mid-June. Many schools though have two "shifts" with some kids attending school in the morning and a second group of children attending in the afternoon to early evening.

Today the weekends in Turkey are Saturday and Sunday, but in Islam the holy day is Friday. Because of this, many places close early on Friday, especially in small towns and more conservative Islamic areas where Friday prayers are an important part of the week. Istanbul also has a huge number of people that attend weekly Friday prayers, but relative to the number of people in the city as a whole, it may not appear that many people actual prayer during this time. In Turkey prayer, both Friday prayer as well as the five daily prayers, are heavily personal as some people never miss a prayer, some only prayer on Fridays, while others simply never attend mosque or only pray from home. Depending on the individual, Islam can have a significant impact on an individual's daily way of life.

The Turks have strong family ties and are very outgoing. Evenings and weekends tend to be times for socialization, socialization with family, with friends, and with random strangers they meet in the streets. Again, every Turk spends his or her free time in differing ways, but it's rare to find a Turk who spends nights and weekends without company.


Turks identify as such and after listening to them tout their friend's carpet shop, they are eager to inform you that they are liberal Muslims who enjoy beer as much as the next European. This Turkish identity is linked to this culture, but also to the language, foods, and ethnicity of the people. Although the culture takes on a substantial part of the Turkish identity, the culture from region to region and from liberal Muslim to conservative Muslim includes huge variations. Due to this, the Turkish identity is first based on the people's similarities across the country, which includes ethnicity, language, food, and their country itself. The identity of being Turkish is then further defined by individuals, some including their liberal stances, others focused on Islam, etc. In this way, what it means to be Turkish is very personalized, but the unifying traits link the people as one before these differences separate them

For many of the ethnic minorities their primary means of identifying is based on their ethnicity, such as the ethnic Kurds. Among these ethnic minorities, many live in the eastern part of the country and are much more conservative Muslims; this strong affiliation to Islam is a very stong identifying feature for many of these people, if not their primary means of identity.

This page was last updated: November, 2013