Ramadan in Istanbul

Updated: Oct 14, 2021

About the interviewee

Hello, I am Betul. I live in Turkey and I am a student at Middle East Technical University. I like to travel just like all of you.

Betul Gokbel

1. Tell us a little bit about how Muslims in Istanbul prepare for Ramadan? Is there anything they do specifically before the first day of Ramadan?

Ramadan is a very special month for Muslims so people start to prepare their food and do the shopping for this period. They also do shopping for some people who need help so this is the Ramadan spirit.

2. How would you describe the overall Ramadan spirit in Istanbul? Does it have a different feeling on the streets when you go out in Ramadan?

I think that the Ramadan spirit brings us more solidarity. People are more generous, happier, and peaceful. If you go to the common area, you probably find bright shops and lots of people who are with their family and friends. For example, if you are in Sultanahmet Mosque, you can probably see a festival which has lots of shop and people visits them or watch them because they show us their abilities in their work which comes from ancient time.

3. How does a typical iftar would look like?

Before COVID-19, people would invite their friends, families, and neighbors to eat iftar together. They share their food with people who need help. Householder prepare food and drinks, we have especially Ramadan sherbet, and they all wait for the azan. People think that they should eat less food in Ramadan because the Ramadan spirit is to understand other people who need help and who do not have enough to it.

4. How does a typical suhur (suhoor) would look like?

Suhoor is another special time, people prefer food that would keep them full all day. Some people eat soup some people prefer to have breakfast. There should be tea, this is a prerequisite for suhoor. However, suhoor is more silent because everyone is usually sleepy, so they eat fast, pray, and after that, they fall asleep.

5. Is there any food or drink that is specifically consumed in Ramadan? Yes, please tell us about the deserts.

Yes, we have a drink, this is called Ramadan sherbet. Sherbet is made from the fruits or extracts of flowers. It is so sugary, but you can only have it in the Ramadan period, you cannot find it other times.

6. How do people celebrate Eid al-Fitr?

They all wait for that time because all family goes their relatives to celebrate Eid al-Fitr. People who are not on speaking terms get a chance to make it up. This is so special for us. All cousins meet and enjoy the time.

7. What makes Istanbul special in Ramadan? Tell us about any activities, festivals, bazaars, etc..

Sultanahmet Mosque is so important for Muslims in Turkey. People come to Sultanahmet from other countries and break their fast at Sultanahmet. Sultanahmet is so crowded during the Ramadan and there is usually free food distributed for iftar.

8. What should travelers expect to experience if they visit Istanbul in Ramadan?

Travelers should break their fast at public iftar tents. They should get an ice-cream then they should walk from Sultanahmet to Eminonu.

9. If I was visiting Istanbul in Ramadan, where would be the best place to have iftar?

Of course, the place which is the best place to break their fast is Sultanahmet. Another place is Camlica Hill. They can watch the Bosphorus Bridge, which connects two continents, from Camlica Hill while they are breaking their fast.

RAMADAN 2020 PROJECT: Fellow sisters and brothers around the world joined Halal Travel Experts to spread the joy and knowledge of Ramadan. To become a part of this exciting project, email us at blog@halaltravels.com. It is just 10 simple questions but the answers go beyond the oceans.


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