The nargile, or Turkish water pipe, has been for centuries an icon of Eastern cafe culture…
It originated in India by empting a coconut and dipping in a straw. In the 16th century, during the Ottoman empire became part of the Turkish culture. Back then, nargile was used as a status symbol…and smoking with the Sultan was considered the highest honor. It was such an important Turkish custom that even sparked diplomatic crisis with France!
During the WWI, smoking the nargile became less popular, because of the arrival of cigarettes. But the late 1990s marked again its revival!
In the Middle East and Arab world, people smoke waterpipes as part of their culture and traditions! In Istanbul and in other places in Turkey, it’s very common to come across people who relax and chat with friends while smoking nargile and drinking tea or turkish coffee.
In the old days only plain tobacco was used in nargile. However, nowadays a variety of aromatic tobaccos are available. So the first thing you have to do when you visit a nargile coffee shop is to choose a flavor! Apple, strawberry, banana, peach, mint, pomegranate and plenty more…
It takes about 1-1,5 hours to smoke a water pipe and it is nothing like smoking a cigarette! A totaly different experience which you definitely must try…
Some notes while smoking Nargile
–Don’t smoke deep puffs like you do with the cigarette
–Smoke in a well ventilated place because of the carbon monoxide hazard
–Always keep the nargile on the floor, never put it on an elevated level
Where to Smoke
Some famous places are:
Erenler Nargile – This café is located at Çorlulu Alipaşa Medresesi in Çemberlitaş. It can hold up to 200 people and of course has a garden. Besides plain and aromatic nargile, you can also enjoy an array of teas and soft drinks
Nargilem Kafe – This café sits next to Nusretiye Mosque with a nice garden. However, do also check out the inside with its attractive decoration and ceiling engravings. Both plain and aromatic tobaccos are available, as well as various kinds of tea and strong Turkish coffee
Erzurum Nargile – This is one of Istanbul’s oldest nargile cafes, and was previously located under the old Galata Bridge. Just before the turn of the century the bridge needed renovation, so the café moved to Tophane. Like other nargile cafés in Tophane, it is open 24 hours a day. It also provides hookah services to tourist groups
Can Nargile – This Tophane café is relatively new to Istanbul nargile scene. They serve aromatic tobaccos, strong coffee as well as some Turkish snacks. The cafe is open 24 hours a day
But of course your choices do not end here! Nargile coffee shops are all over Istanbul…