Social and cultural life in Turkey

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Social and Cultural Life in Turkey

Turkish Music

Turkey has a unique culture embodied with various ancient cultures that make up the history of the geographical location of Turkish landscape. This pattern of diversity is also observable in its music. We can brand it into three major groups of music type. Traditional music includes ottoman and folk music arts, classical Turkish music following in footsteps of Western Classical Music and in the last category we have the modern music types that lay a tremendous influence on the last twenty or so years.

Opera and Ballet

In 1930 the very first Opera Society was founded in Istanbul. Following that the first Ballet School was founded in the year 1948. However it moved from Istanbul to the new capital of Turkey, Ankara as the State Conservatory. The Opera Society and the Ballet School were merged together and continued their existence in the structure of State Theatres founded in 1949. But nowadays they are a part of the Culture and Tourism Ministry. The State Halls of the Opera and Ballet Society are mostly in the major cities like Ankara, Istanbul, Izmir, Mersin and Antalya. Even though Television had an huge Impact on the popularity of many fine arts everywhere in the globe, the Opera and Ballet in Turkey were barely effected and continued its influence over its followers and fans.


Darülbedayi-I Osmaniye the very first theatre in the history of Turkey was founded in 1914 in Istanbul. So naturally we can say that Turkey’s history has a very old theatre culture. The modern take on the Turkish theatre culture was, however, brought together with the efforts of Muhsin Ertugrul in the Darülbedayi in the year 1927. With the establishment of İstanbul City Theatres in 1934, State Opera and Ballet in 1949, State Theatre Directorate attached to the Culture and Tourism Ministry in 1970 and other privately founded theatre organisations and buildings the theatre culture in turkey became a 60 year old pillar in the artistic side of the Turkish culture. Today in 13 cities, 43 stages and with the help of the many touring organisations the heavy curtains of art are being lifted every day for the Theatre lovers that want to throw a glimpse into the heart of Turkey’s fine art. The gorgeous repertory of the State Theatre gives performance throughout Turkey every year. In total the annual stage count of the State Theatre reaches up to 500 plays inside country and abroad. And the international Theatre festivals organized by the State Theatre proves it regard in the eyes of the world.


In the year 1914 the Turkish cinema was born with the help of Fuat Uzkınay. Muhsin Ertugrul was a highly respectable actor in the Turkish cinema until 1922 when he did his debut. The Turkish cinema has reached its golden time in its history from the year 1950 to 1980’s by making very popular and creative productions many of which are being watched even today.

Fine Arts

The Turkish fine arts are labeled as Turkish decorative arts, painting, sculpting, ceramics, photography, cartooning, Turkish handcrafts and other similar arts. İbrahim Çallı, Bedri Rahmi Eyüboğlu and Fikret Mualla are most recognized names in the field of painting, however the name Zühtü Müridoğlu is surpassing all competition in the field of sculptor, the same goes for Füreyya Koral in ceramics, Cemal Nadir in cartoon and Ara Güler in photography. In the recent years the intrigue towards Turkey’s unique art forms has risen substantially as in proliferating galleries, handicraft exports, dying arts, chinaware etc.


Osman Hamdi Bey a famous painter founded the first museum in the history of Turkey in the second half of 19th century. After the collapse of the Ottoman Empire and the birth of the Republic the museums flourished with the names like Dolmabahçe Palace, Kariye Mosque, Fethiye and İmrahor Mosques in İstanbul, Yeşil Mosque and Muradiye Külliyesi in Bursa. Just like that other historical monuments were converted to the museums too. Among these the most widely appreciated museum are the Ethnographic Museum and The Anatolian Civilizations Museum in Ankara. The total number of museums existing in Turkey is 94 all of which are being managed by the Culture and Tourism Ministry.

Religious Life

A big majority of the population is Muslim in Turkey, the religious freedom is however unquestioned. Thanks to the newly established Turkish Republic, we have a secular governing system. Turkey has in this regard a unique aspect to it, the worship building of three major religions coexist in many locations throughout Turkey side by side. There are 236 churches, 34 synagogues and thousands mosques. All the affairs of religion are overseen by the Department of Religious Affairs.