Composed of "Tekke" and "Asik,"
works of literary worth, often anonymous and passed down
from generation to generation.These include epics,
legends, folk poems, ballads, elegies, folk songs,
riddles, folk tales anecdotes, proverbs, expressions and
A 13th century humorist and sage from Aksehir. His
witticisms are known throughout Turkey and often appear in
A jester, said to have lived in Bursa in the 14th century
and now immortalized as a shadow puppet. Karagoz is a
rough man of the people who uses his ribald wit to get the
better of his pompous friend, Hacivat. The puppets are
made from gaily painted, translucent animal skins and are
projected onto a white screen.
The 13th century philosopher poet, one of Turkey's
national treasures, promoted basic themes of universal
love, friendship, brotherliness and divine Justice. His
simple and pure writing is relevant and thought-provoking
to this day.
A 15th century folk poet, Koroglu was a role model for his
contemporaries and a hero of his time. His adventures have
been recounted for centuries and perhaps now with more
interest than ever. Koroglu was one of the first people to
pioneer the ideal of unconditional help for the poor and
down trodden. He was also spoke out against government
control and harrassment.
Folk dances have
different characteristics based on region and location and
are generally engaged in during weddings, journeys to the
mountains in the summer, when sending sons off to military
service and during religious and national holidays. The
best known folk dances are:
This Black Sea dance is performed by men only, dressed in
black with silver trimmings. The dancers link arms and
quiver to the vibrations of the kemence, a primitive type
The Spoon Dance is performed from Konya to Silifke and
consists of gaily dressed male and female dancers clicking
out the dance rhythm with a pair of wooden spoons in each
The Sword and Shield Dance of Bursa represents the Ottoman
conquest of the city. It is performed by men only, dressed
in early Ottoman battle dress, who dance to the sound of
clashing swords and shields withoout music.
In this Aegean dance, colorfully dressed male dancers,
called 'efe', symbolize courage and heroism.
whirling dervishes performance
The lively Turkish folk
music, which originated on the steppes of Asia, is in
complete contrast to the refined Turkish classical music
of the Ottoman court. Until recently, folk music was not
written down, and the traditions have been kept alive by
the 'asiklar', or Turkish troubadours. Distinct from
Turkish folk music is Ottoman military music, now
performed by the 'mehter takimi' (Janissary Band) in
Istanbul, which originated in Central Asia, and is played
with kettle drums, clarinets, cymbals and bells. The
mystical music of the Whirling Dervishes is dominated by
the haunting sound of the reed pipe or 'ney', and can be
heard in Konya during the Mevlana Festival in December.
There are six varieties
of traditional Turkish performing arts:
Plays are put on in accordance with rural traditions on
special days, weddings and holidays.
A kind of one-act dramatic play where the narrator also
imitates the various characters in the play.
Traditional show theatre, where the shadows of human and
animal figures, cut out of leather and colored, are thrown
onto a white curtain using a light source behind it.
In style and theme resembles Karagoz, but is performed by
A mixture of Orta Oyun and western theater.