Turkey has long been a popular holiday destination for tourists. The Mediterranean coast here is full of big hotels where people come for an “all-inclusive” vacation and enjoy the hot sun, free cocktails, and beach parties. However, this is not the real Turkey. You can see a completely different picture in the northern part of the country by the Black Sea. Here, people are more living according to the old traditions and Islamic customs. It is really recommended to visit this part of the country and get to know the amazing culture. However, it is very important to respect the lifestyle of the local people, so you need to know a few important rules.
Do Not Forget to Take Off Shoes
You must take off your shoes and leave them behind the door, not only when entering every mosque, but also at the Turkish house. Do not be afraid, no one will steal your shoes. Some Turkish families do not leave their shoes behind the door. You can understand how to behave by seeing a pile of shoes at the door or just politely ask the owners of a house.
Etiquette in Mosques
Mosques are not allowed to be entered with shorts for men, and with tight pants, short skirts, or deep necklines for women. In addition, women must always cover their heads. If you have nothing to cover up, the staff of the prayer house will offer scarves and long skirts. By the way, sometimes you will find special slippers near the mosque, but they are used only after removing the shoes. Also, never walk in front of people who are praying while you are visiting a mosque. Muslims believe that if someone passes in front of a praying person, the prayer will not be heard.
Do Not Ignore Ramadan
Ramadan is a month-long traditional celebration when Muslims neither eat nor drink from the sunrise until the sundown. If you are traveling to non-touristic places, respect the feelings of locals and do not eat or drink in public places. Ramadan is at a different time each year, so it would be helpful to look at the calendar of Muslim holidays before traveling.
Follow the Dress Code
Although you will meet a lot of half-naked people in tourist areas, choose more closed clothes when you are visiting other parts of the country. In tourist cities, the locals will not tell you anything. However, the further you travel to the east, the more closed your clothes should be. Women should hide their legs and arms, it would be beneficial to have a scarf, men should not wear shorts and sleeveless shirts. No one is going to ask you to fully cover yourself, but you are the foreigner, and it is your duty to respect the local traditions.
Genders and Etiquette
If woman is travelling with a man, it is normal that the locals will talk about everything to that man. Do not get it wrong. It is common for men to talk only with other men. It does not mean that women are ignored. It is just a matter of respect as other men try to protect the reputation of any woman.