Crowds flock to Istanbul beaches during Eid al-Fitr holiday
ISTANBULPeople who stayed in Istanbul during the Eid al-Fitr holiday flocked to nearby beaches to take advantage of the hot weather.
There are around 85 spots in and around Istanbul that are suitable for swimming, all of which were popular among residents who stayed home for the holiday rather than driving to the country’s Aegean and Mediterranean coasts.
One of these beaches, Poyrazköy, in a small fishing village on the Black Sea on Istanbul’s Asian side, was swarmed by thousands of people. There were not enough sunbeds on the long beach so even the benches on the pavements were utilized as beach chairs.
Others opted to fish along the coast of the Bosphorus, while some held picnics with their families.
“Fishing is a nice hobby. We have come as a family. We have visited our relatives and friends [on the first day of Eid al-Fitr] and the second day is for pleasure. We have come for pleasure,” said local man Ali Duman, who was fishing on the Bosphorus.
“There is an enormous emptiness in Istanbul during the holiday. We can go anywhere we want anytime we want because there is no traffic. I can go to a place that would normally take three hours in just half-an-hour,” he added.
Another local, Fatih Kurum, said he had caught two kilograms of fish on the Bosphorus.
“The weather is beautiful. Today is the second day of Eid al-Fitr. There are not so many fish but the weather is very nice and the Bosphorus is empty, as is Istanbul. We wanted to take advantage of this and so we have come to fish … On the first day [of Eid al-Fitr] we have visited our elderly relatives but we spared the second day for ourselves,” Kurum said.
Traditionally, families visit relatives and friends in other provinces to celebrate the Eid al-Fitr holiday after Ramadan, while many also hit the coastal areas in the south. This generally leaves big cities relatively empty in contrast with the typical situation. Public transportation in Istanbul was also provided by the metropolitan municipality at a 50 percent discount over the course of the holiday, allowing the city’s residents to travel more easily.
Celebrating Eid al-Fitr after a month of fasting is an important tradition of Islam. Muslims in Turkey, alongside Muslim populations around the world, celebrated Eid al-Fitr starting on June 25 until June 27, marking the end of the holy month of Ramadan.