There aren’t too many bars or cafes in and around Fethiye, where you will fail to spot a Turkish water pipe or nargile, sometimes also referred to as a hookah, hubble-bubble or sheesha.
The nargile has been around for centuries and, contrary to popular belief, it is not an instrument for smoking hashish but rather an instrument for smoking Turkish tobacco.
Although the nargile is a recognised feature of Turkish culture, it actually originated in India. It found its way to the Ottoman Empire in the 16th century and, at the height of the Empire’s prosperity, it was considered the highest honour to smoke the nargile with the reigning sultan.
However, with World War II and the dawn of the Turkish Republic, the nargile lost its popularity in favour of smoking cigarettes.
The late 1990s marked it’s revival and it is now a common sight to see both young men and women alike enjoying the soothing vapours of the nargile; it is seen as a great way to relax and put a brake on life for a while.
Historically, only plain tobacco was used however, nowadays you are spoilt for choice, with a variety of fragrant tobaccos available, such as strawberry (çilek), banana (muz), peach (şeftali) and mint (nane).
A nargile consists of four parts:
– The body (gövde) is made of decorative glass or ceramic material.
– The tube (marpuç) fits tightly into the neck of gövde, forming an airtight seal.
– The top bowl (lüle) is where the tobacco is placed with a hot piece of charcoal to light the tobacco. The unfiltered smoke flows from the lüle to the water cooled pipe in the gövde, where it is naturally-filtered.
– The mouth piece is called an ağızlık.
Here is a beginners guide that shows you how to set up a nargile, if you ever decide to bring one home with you!