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Istanbul / Turkey

Enjoy Turkish cuisine and raki after watching football games

Nobuaki Goto, Marubeni Corporation Istanbul Office

Entering into accession negotiations with the European Union from 2005, Turkey can be quoted with the greatest buzz as a country with the economy that has the potential to follow in the footsteps of the BRICs. Istanbul, the economic and commercial center, is a city full of rich heritage from Roman Empire, Byzantine Empire, and Ottoman Empire and also has been playing an important role as the junction of Western and Eastern culture and the terminus of the Silk Road. During a sightseeing tour of Topkapi Palace and the Dolmaçe Palace, it would be nice to take a coffee break at a neighboring café, sipping Turkish coffee and savoring Turkish ice cream while enjoying the magnificent views of the Bosporus. In addition to Istanbul, Turkey has an abundance of tourist spots such as Troy, which is famous for the Trojan War and the wooden horse, and once-flourishing Cappadocia, an ancient Hittite city. 

As for sports, the modern Turk places football above all else. Football matches in Turkey are getting more and more exciting and has attracted the interest of Japanese football fans because Zico, the former coach of Japan's national soccer team, was employed as a coach of the Fenerbahce, the most popular football team in Turkey. Moreover, the player Junichi Inamoto transferred to Galatasaray, a distinguished team with a history of championship wins in the Turkcell Super League.    

After the match, I recommend that you try some Turkish cuisine, one of the three most famous cuisines in the world, which has a wide variety of dishes from kebabs and other meat to fish dishes. I also recommend that you try raki, an alcoholic beverage unique to Turkey, which, like shochu in Japan, is popular with ordinary Turks. It has a strange feature that when the water is added, the mixture turns a whitish color. Raki has a very strong alcohol content of around 40%, and it is said that when you drink raki, you will suddenly became a brave man with the lion heart of the intoxicated. Because of its strong power and color, raki is popularly called "lion milk."

Istiklal Avenue, located in the Takshim district, the heart of downtown, is a major shopping and leisure street, visited by huge numbers of people, who, during the daytime, enjoy shopping or playing backgammon with friends at a café and at night, have a good time in traditional clubs where you can listen to Turkish music, or else at new and trendy bars or discos. 

Turkey (especially, Istanbul), is rich in historical heritage, reflecting the fact that it was once the flourishing junction of West and East cultures and is a unique melting pot of international cultures even now. Why not visit this unique country?

Marubeni Group magazine "M-SPIRIT" VOL.38 (March, 2007)

  • The Bosporus at sundown
  • Akmelkels Shopping Mall
  • People on Istiklal Avenue
  • Magnificent scenery in Cappadocia

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