Friday, August 2, 2013


          Walking around our neighborhood, Tophane, where the Bilgi University dorms are located, it is almosot impossible to miss the twenty or so hookah, or nargile in turkish, cafés that light up a signifigant portion of the main street in the area. Every night after Iftar, the breaking of the fast in Ramadan, hundreds of Turks flock to the Turkish equivalent of Adams Morgan to socialize with friends and to smoke nargile. Strangely enough, smoking hookah in pubic places is actually forbidden  by law in Turkey--although this is not made entirely apparent by the clouds of hookah smoke whafting into the street in this area. This type of hookah smoking behavior is not only localized to Tophane. Nargile is widely offered in street-side beverage cafés and even in nargile cafés attached to public parks around the city. Is is undeniable that smoking hookah is a phenomenon in Turkey old enough to have thoroughly assimilated into the cuture, and is a means of public social interaction that the Turks are not willing to give up. For the time being, the Turks have made it clear that their 400 year old tradition of nargile is not something that will change in the near future. 

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