Nargile Equipment

Nargile in Persian means coconut. That is how this water pipe got its name, for the original Nargile that came from India was made of coconut shells. Later this primitive Nargile was modified into glass and ceramic bottles and found its way through Persia and Arab to Anatolia in the 17th century. The Turkish craftsmen used the Nargile to display their skills and engraved beautiful designs on it making it ornamental and an object of art. All parts of the Nargile were made by specialized craftsmen and so popular was this craft that even today the areas where these craftsmen worked are identified by their trade.

The typical Nargile consists four parts, the body or Govde, the bowl or Lule, the tube or Marpuc and the mouthpiece or Aoyzlyk. The bottles or Govdes were usually manufactured in Beykoz. In this bottle, the bowl filled with water is placed to cleanse the filth made by burning tobacco. It also served as a filter to absorb the nicotine and to cool the smoke. Some Nargile smokers inserted sour cherries or grapes in their Govde, just to enjoy the motion of the water as they smoked. The Govde was made of glass, porcelaine, silver or crystal and very elegantly embellished with floral motifs.

Lules were generally made in Tophane by Lule makers. This is the portion where the tobacco is placed and lit. The Nargile smokers used only a form of dark tobacco that was imported from Iran. This is an extremely strong tobacco and had to be washed several times before it could be used. A plug of this tobacco is placed in the Lule and covered with a conical cap pierced on top. A piece of oak charcoal was placed on top of the Tombeki or tobacco to generate the smoke.

The Marpuc is a long flexibile hose, which carries the smoke from the bowl to the mouthpiece. Even today, the area where the craftsmen made Marpuc is called Marpaccular. The Marpuc was decorated with embroidery or beadwork and other weaves adding to the beauty of the Nargile. Sometimes more than one pipe is attached to the bowl so that two or more people can enjoy a smoke together.

Finally, the Nargile has a mouthpiece or Agizlik at the end of the pipe to inhale the smoke. This was carved out of amber as amber was supposed to be a non -carrier of germs.