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Turkey celebrates 500 years of Turkish coffee at the Topkapi Palace Museum

Istanbul’s Topkapı Palace Museum is hosting a new exhibition, featuring the 500-year history of Turkish coffee.

Istanbul’s Topkapı Palace Museum is hosting a new exhibition, featuring the 500-year history of Turkish coffee.

Kuala Lumpur, 21 April 2015 – Istanbul’s Topkapı Palace Museum is hosting a new exhibition, featuring the 500-year history of Turkish coffee. Organised in collaboration with the Turkish Coffee Culture and Research Association, the exhibition, titled “A Drop of Pleasure: 500 years of Turkish Coffee” can be visited until June 15th 2015 at the museum.

Celebrating this fine heritage, the Topkapi Palace Museum has put together the most comprehensive display of Turkish coffee kit in the country, including many pieces from the palace collection and from private collectors. These encompass both relics directly connected to coffee consumption, such as cups and grinders, as well as artefacts from the social milieu that coffee fuelled, as various ethnicities, classes, and professions would mingle in the coffee houses of Istanbul.

Also read: Oh My Turkey!

Turkish coffee is an integral part of every facet of life in Turkey. Earlier, coffee making was quite an elaborate ceremony in Turkish courts. Coffee makers with the help of about 40 helpers ceremoniously prepared the coffee to be served to the Sultan.

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Turkish coffee being brewed in traditional way

Turkish coffee being brewed in traditional way

Another interesting aspect of drinking Turkish coffee is to have your fortune read from the remains in the cup. After finishing the coffee, you should overturn your cup along with the mud. The pattern formed by this remaining ground coffee can tell you much about your future. This form of fortune reading is called `fal` and is still practiced, mostly by women. The Ottoman Empire, which was dominant on the trade routes between the east and west, spread coffee and helped it to be loved by Europeans during diplomatic relations.

Drawing a resemblance to Turkey, coffee in Malaysian culture is shifting from a mere beverage to a hobby. Kopi (Coffee) is making headway beyond the kopitiams (coffee shops). Kopi has soon entered the everyday life of Malaysians and has become a part of social circle. It used to be a harmonic scene where all races gathered in a kopitiam talking to each other and enjoying the same Kopi. The Kopi culture gradually started to mushroom and made its appearance in city cafes and became the in-thing of the younger generations.

Turkish coffee culture is dated back to the 16th century and it had particular importance in the Ottoman Empire, both in the palace and daily life, as socio-cultural event. Beyond being a drink, coffee exists in the centre of a big cultural structure and also has a very important place in daily life. We are extremely pleased to share the rich history about the Turkish coffee culture and tradition among Malaysians in recognition to this landmark event in Turkey. We believe that Turkey’s deeply-rooted coffee culture and tradition will add to the incomparable travelling experience of Malaysians,” said Kaan YILMAZ, Attache in Turkey Embassy Tourism and Information Office, Malaysia.

UNESCO added Turkish coffee and its tradition to its List of Intangible Cultural Heritage in 2013. In this way, for the first time the culture and tradition of a drink was added to that list.

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Curated by Ersu Pekin, the exhibition is the most comprehensive one related to coffee in Turkey.

Most of the pieces in the exhibition are being displayed for the first time. It brings together historical, cultural and social elements of coffee, its botanic features and cooking methods in the world between the 16th and 20th centuries.

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