June 12, 2011

Turkey’s Bosniak Communities Uphold Their Heritage, Traditions

Bosnian communities in Istanbul continue to cling to the roots of their ancestors decades after first migrating to Turkey. Emerging at the end of the 19th and the start of the 20th century, Bosnian Muslims settled in large numbers, predominantly in the northwestern region of Marmara.

Today, thousands curiously are keeping their old Bosniak traditions alive.

Walking through the streets of Bayrampaşa, it is not unusual to hear Bosnian being spoken. Multiple replicas of the famous Old Bridge of Mostar are spread throughout the town. It is full of constant reminders that one is walking through a Bosniak part of İstanbul.

This particular community also differs from most in Turkey because a large portion of its residents are tall with light skin, eyes and hair. Many say that that is how they are recognized as Bosniaks.

To keep the spirit of the their culture alive even today, the residents of Bayrampaşa have associations and organize events to keep a constant tie with Bosnia, Sandzak, Macedonia and other Balkan regions where there is a large Bosniak population.

Wedding ceremonies are celebrated in a highly traditional manner. Everything from the dancing to the clothing is preserved and done as it was hundreds of years ago.


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