Besides delectable local cuisine, intricate and beautiful architecture, important historical monuments and majestic sights, Turkey can be experienced through the many different festivals and celebrations held across the cities throughout the year. Travellers who are visiting Turkey in July will be able to enjoy the vast array of events taking place that celebrate arts, sports, tradition and more.

“Turkey is truly the ‘Home of Celebrations’ as we celebrate the people, the food, the culture, the places and not forgetting the many exciting events that occur every month. There are a variety of happenings dedicated to different interests such as arts, music, dance, sports and even traditional custom for the locals and visitors to enjoy,” said Kaan Yilmaz, Attaché in Turkey Embassy Tourism and Information Office, Malaysia.

This July, fellow jazz aficionados are in for a treat as the 22nd Istanbul Jazz Festival will be held for almost a month from 27th June to 15th July 2015. Organised by the Istanbul Foundation for Culture and Arts (İKSV), the festival will once again be home to renowned jazz icons and popular figures of contemporary music in the largest city of Turkey.

The 22nd Istanbul Jazz Festival will be held in July 2015

The 22nd Istanbul Jazz Festival will be held in July 2015

Istanbul will be immersed in jazzy vibes and booming with over 35 concerts featuring more than 250 local and international musicians. The line-up of musicians include the festival’s Lifetime Achievement Award recipient Emin Fındıkoğlu and soulful performers such as Joan Baez, Jools Holland, Marcus Miller and many more. The 22nd instalment is set to take place at over 15 different venues with the notable ‘Jazz at Parks’ event that will be held at the Asian side of the city at the Fenerbahçe Park.

The city will also see thousands swimming across continents from Asia to Europe through the Bosphorus at the 27th Samsung Bosphorus Cross-Continental Swimming Race. The one-of-a-kind race, organised by the National Olympic Committee of Turkey, will greet athletes across the world to gather and challenge their limits by swimming or rowing across the pearl of Istanbul.

The 27th Samsung Bosphorus Cross-Continental Swimming Race is also held in July

The 27th Samsung Bosphorus Cross-Continental Swimming Race is also held in July

A jubilation to sports and fitness, the 6.5km race will kick off from one the famous stops of the Bosphorus in Kanlıca towards Kuruçeşme on Istanbul’s European side. People of all ages and backgrounds are welcomed to witness the unique affair and cheer the participants in this thrilling rendezvous happening on 26th July.

As the Ramadan season draws to a close, the illuminated mosques during the holy period will continue as locals celebrate Eid al-Fitr or in Turkish, Şeker Bayramı. It is also sweetly known as the Sugar Feast as sweet food are usually served to visitors during the festive season. The Sugar Feast is a traditional three-day nationwide celebration which follows after a month long of fasting for the Muslims.

The atmosphere in Turkey transforms with excitement buzzing around on the eve of the holiday where locals will clean the houses, prepare their bayramlık (newly purchased holiday outfits) and traditional pastries as well as shop for candies and chocolates. On the first day of the Sugar Feast, charity (Sadaqat-ul-fitr) to the less fortunate are carried out along with Eid prayers at mosques and some will also visit to pay respect to the deceased at graveyards.

Sweet treats during Seker Bayram, also known as Sugar Feast

Sweet treats during Seker Bayram, also known as Sugar Feast

An important part of the celebration, the younger generation will visit and honour the elderly by kissing their right hand and placing it on the forehead as a sign of respect. The streets will also be busy as children will go around the neighbourhood with warm bayram wishes as part of the tradition. In return, they will receive sweets of all kinds such as candies and chocolates or even a little sum of money.

With the many events held throughout the year, there is more than meets the eye as you explore the different cities. Turkey welcomes you to immerse your senses in the exciting sights, sounds, smells and tastes of the country through the various festivals and occasions that contribute to the heartbeat of Turkey.

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