Nargile, which appeared first in India almost a 1,000 years ago, has become a part of Turkish culture and a tool for people to socialize. Nargile cafes around Istanbul offer locals an opportunity to meet new people and tourists to have a taste of Middle Eastern culture.
The tradition of smoking nargile, also known as hookah or shisha, has been around for centuries and is still a popular activity among all age groups in Istanbul. Also known as the Turkish water pipe, nargile originated in India when the practice of dipping a straw into a hollowed-out coconut became prevalent. In the 16th century, the pipe found its way to the Ottoman Empire and gained popularity in the 1700s. The nargile even became a status symbol toward the end of the Ottoman Empire, as smoking with the sultan was considered the highest honor. One of the most enthusiastic royal smokers was Sultan Abdülhamid II in the late 19th century.
In previous years, only plain tobacco was used in nargile. However, now a variety of aromatic tobaccos are available optimizing your nargile experience. The first thing you must do when entering a nargile cafe is choose a flavor. This might not be so easy as there are many to choose from, including apple (a common favorite), strawberry, banana, peach, mint, cappuccino, rose among many others, or a combination of these.
Star Light Hookah will help you choose the aroma you like with its experienced hookah makers and you will enjoy the conversation by blowing the magical smoke on our historical neighborhood terrace in Istanbul.
Photo; View of Constantinople by Jean Pascal Sébah (1905)