The State Opera and Ballet aims to convey opera, ballet and polyphonic music to all segments of society, to provide these art branches integrate our cultural richness, to organise national and international activities.

Turkish State Opera and Ballet
Notwithstanding the short history of opera in Turkey which only spans 56 years, Turkish State Opera and Ballet counts amongst its members many artists of international fame. The State Opera and Ballet is the national directorate of opera and ballet companies of

Turkey, with venues in Ankara, Istanbul, Izmir, Mersin, Antalya and Samsun. The directorate is bound to the Ministry of Culture and Tourism.

Performing Arts: In the period before the proclamation of the Republic in Turkey; opera, ballet and theatre were mostly centred around Istanbul and Izmir.

The first opera performance at the imperial court was by artists trained by Italian Giuseppe Donizetti (1788-1856) from the Italian opera.

Ahmet Adnan Saygun, Necil Kazim Akses and Cemal Resit Rey were the first composers of opera, operettas and musicals in the Republican era.

Turkish Ballet
In 1947, the famous ballerina and teacher Ninette de Valois was invited to Istanbul and through her efforts, the National Ballet School was set up.

In 1956-1960, the first dancers graduated from Ankara State Conservatory and the State Opera formed a corps de ballet. Cesmebasi which is one of the most important works in Turkish ballet history was first performed in 1965.

Turkish Opera
Adnan Saygun’s first two operas Ozsoy and Tasbebek, Necil Kazim Akses’s Bay Onder staged in Ankara in 1934.

During 1935, Paul Hindemith, a composer, and Carl Ebert, a theatre director, were invited to give lectures at Musiki Muallim Mektebi in Ankara, which was subsequently transformed into the Ankara State Conservatory.

A Mozart musical Bastien und Bastienne staged at the Ankara State Conservatory with pupils playing libretto in Turkish (1936).

The staging of western operas such as Madame Butterfly (1940) and Tosca (1941) and the orchestrations, chorus and solo recitals of 1950-1952 contributed to form a foundation for the establishment of today’s State Opera and Ballet.

Turkey has lots of unique traditional sports to have a good time. Traditional camel wrestling, historical Kirkpinar oil wrestling, Kafkasor bullfighting, Turkish archery and game of jereed are some of them.

Oil Wrestling
Oil wrestling is one of the most popular national sports in Turkey. It is so called because the wrestlers douse themselves with olive oil.

The wrestlers wear tight short leather trousers called as kispet in Turkish, made of water buffalo leather weighing approximately 13 kg, and they cover themselves with olive oil.

Kirkpinar Oil Wrestling: Kirkpinar Oil Wrestling is one of the oldest festivals in the world still being held for over 650 years since the first contests in 1360.

Camel Wrestling
Camel wrestling, which is an ancient village tradition and tournament, is one of the most popular traditional Turkish sports. The origin of this sport dates back to nomadic tribes. It is mostly popular in the Aegean region.

Camel wrestling has certain rules, and is usually held during the winter as a winter festival. Contests are held under strict regulation to protect the welfare of the animals who may only wrestle once per day in a match which lasts for only 10 or 15 minutes.

Game of Jereed
Jereed is a traditional Turkish equestrian team sport played outdoors on horseback in which the objective is to score points by throwing a blunt wooden javelin at opposing team’s horsemen. It is a part of the long tradition of holding horses in high esteem in Turkey.

During the Ottoman period, the jereed was played as a popular war game demonstrating the bravery of its participants.

Kafkasor Bullfights is a local traditional festival, held every year on the high plateau of Kafkasor, 8 km away from Artvin province in the Black Sea region of Turkey.

This type of bullfighting is unique and a defining characteristic of the entire region. In this way, it has an atmosphere of sports and entertainment with their own rules.

The bulls from all parts of Artvin are classified according to the thickness of their necks or weight. Certain rules have been applied since the bullfights first began in order to protect bulls from injury and suffering. When the weaker bull withdraws from the arena, that defeat is accepted and it is taken out of the arena by the people in charge.

Turkish Archery
The importance of archery and especially horse archery in Turks dates back to prehistoric times. After the training of their horses, Turks spread their skills in the use of bows and arrows with their migration from Central Asia. Today it is practiced only as a traditional sport.

A folk hero or national hero is a type of hero, real, fictional or mythological. The single salient characteristic which makes a character a folk hero is the imprinting of the name, personality and deeds of the character in the popular consciousness.

Nasreddin Hodja
Nasreddin Hodja is a 13th century humorist, sage and folk hero who was born in Sivrihisar and lived in Aksehir.

Nasreddin Hodja was a philosopher, wise, witty man with a good sense of humor. He is one of the most important figures of our oral culture.

His stories have been told almost everywhere in the world, spread among the tribes of Turkic World and into Persian, Arabian, African and along the Silk Road to China and India cultures, later also to Europe.

A jester, said to have lived in Bursa in the 14th century and now immortalized as a shadow puppet.

Karagoz is a rough man of the people who uses his ribald wit to get the better of his pompous friend, Hacivat. The puppets are made from gaily painted, translucent animal skins and are projected onto a white screen.

Hezarfen Ahmed Celebi
Hezarfen Ahmed Celebi, the legendary Turkish scholar and hero who is included in Evliya Celebi’s book Seyahatname, believed to have lived in the Ottoman Empire in the 17th century.

Celebi is known for letting himself into the void in 1632 with a vehicle similar to bird wings from the Galata Tower in a southwesterly air and descending to Dogancilar Square in Uskudar by gliding 3358 m in the Bosphorus.

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