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NARGILES

NargilesAs recently as the 1990s the nargile seemed to be on its very last legs, used only be elderly men in flat caps in the shadiest of teahouses.

Then suddenly a new generation discovered the gentle pleasures of puffing on a water pipe and suddenly every other cafe was posting racks of nargiles in all shapes and sizes in their windows. Tobacco was offered in a wide range of flavours with apple especially popular. A rare few cafes also offered tömbeki, the real thing and a very strong offering for those not used to it. 

Throughout  the 2000s the alluring scent of apple tobacco floated in the air in many a corner of Istanbul. Then in January 2013 it became illegal to smoke a nargile in an enclosed space. It remains to be seen what effect this will have on all the small cafes that offered the option.

Great places to try out a nargile include the many cafes at Tophane behind the Nusretiye Cami and the lovely courtyard cafe called the Çorlulu Ali Paşa Medresesi on Divan Yolu in Sultanahmet. 

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