Tea Houses of Turkey
The origin of tea drinking in Turkey was from the Arabian coffee houses, which were made popular by the Syrians in the 16th century. Along with having coffee, started the rage of the tobacco hookah. In 1633, when the smokers often caused fires due to the hookah and the Sultan in a fit of rage ordered all the coffee shops to be closed. Since then the people switched over to drinking tea. Today tea has become the national beverage of Turkey and tea drinking the most popular pastime.
Today, wherever you go in Turkey, you will find small teahouses or tea gardens. Teahouses are found in every park, village, town square, seaside, hilltops and any conceivable place with a view. Some of the typical tea gardens in Istanbul are the Emigran on the European side, Camlyca on the Anatolia side, the Pierre Loti cafe and the one in Uskudar.
The teahouses of Turkey are like social clubs where men gather in the evening to play backgammon while being served steaming hot Turkish tea.