Every Turk has heard this question for certain and it’s often the beginning of a conversation with a stranger. Depending on the answer, the reaction is often a cliché about the mentioned home city. If, however, it turns out that both persons’ families come from the same place, a familiarity sets in immediately and people can talk for hours about the uniqueness of their home city. That’s just what happened to our authors Gözde and Şeyda, and so here are a small selection of clichés about the places people come from.
We start with the city of Eskişehir, in English “Old City.” Why? It’s easy: Gözde and Şeyda are genuine Eskişehirlis!
“Eskişehir’de çirkin kız yoktur! Varsa da gelin gelmiştir. Eskişehirlilerle alakası yoktur.”
In English: “There are no ugly girls in Eskişehir. And if there are, then they came as brides. They have nothing to do with the real people of Eskişehir.”
Eskişehir’s license plate number is 26 and lies in West Anatolia between Istanbul and Ankara. It is especially loved by students due to its European flair. They stroll along the Porsuk River, sit in one of the many bars and cafes on the promenade and enjoy the many cultural events.
“Trakyalı olsun, çamurdan olsun.”
In English: “Most importantly he/she is from Trace, then he/she can be made of mud.”
The city of Edirne lies on the most western tip of Turkey and on the border to Greece, which is why the people are called “Trakyalılar” (engl. Thracians – ed.) Because they are genuine and honest, a mother would give her daughter to a Thracian, even if he were made of mud.
The Thracians are often accused of drinking (too) much rakı.
“Sivas’ın yollarına, çıkayım dağlarına.”
In English: “I’ll climb the road and mountains of Sivas.”
This saying goes back to a true incident, when a son wanted to return to his family in Sivas after years of not seeing them, but is caught in a snowstorm on the way and dies.
“Ana gibi yar, Sivas gibi diyar olmaz.”
In English: „There’s nothing better than a loving mother and a home like Sivas.“
Sivas lies in Central Anatolia and played a key role in 1919 during the War of Independence because important resolutions (Sivas Kongresi) were negotiated there.
“Fındık dibine vardım, Toplarım gazelleri, Horonu güzel oynar, Giresun güzelleri.”
In English: “I collected all the hazelnuts with their fine leaves, they dance the horon so well, the beauties of Giresun.”
Horon dance, beautiful girls and tons of hazelnuts. You can quickly count the pros of this city on the Black Sea!
“En yakışıklı erkekler Mardin’den gelir ve en misafirperver Mardinlilerdir.”
In English: “The most handsome men come from Mardin and the most hospitable people are the people of Mardin.”
Mardin lies in the southeast of Turkey on the border to Syria. Above all, the city has stood for peaceful coexistence between different cultures and religions for centuries. A manifestation of that can be seen in the rows of numerous churches and mosques in the old city, which blend in picturesquely with the light-coloured limestone of the Mesopotamian lowlands.
This was a small selection of sayings – which other city clichés do you know?