HISTORY OF SHEESHA
One of the oldest and deep rooted traditions in Turkey is the Nargile (Hookah), with both men and women finding great pleasure in smoking the waterpipe. The nargile started a whole new culture which endured for many, many years. Even today the nargile gives enjoyment to a special breed of smokers. The original nargile came from India, but it was rather primitive as it was made out of coconut shell. Its popularity spread to Iran and then to the rest of the Arab world.
But it was in Turkey that the nargile completed its revolution, and did not change its style for the last few hundred years. The nargile became a very important part of the coffee shop culture, finding its popularity in Turkey around the time of Murat the IV'th, 1623-40. The joy that the smokers received from this very simple yet beautiful smoking apparatus was unbelievable. Rules were created even for lighting the pipe, and if a professional smoker saw anyone lighting it the incorrect way, the culprit would be told in no uncertain term " Do yourself and the sacred nargile a favor and put out the coals by blowing into it. "The nargile itself consists of 4 pieces which are as follows: Agizlik (mouthpiece), Lle (the top of the nargile), Marpu‡ (the tube) and the G”vde (the body of the pipe which is filled with water). All pieces of the pipe were produced by special craftsmen, who were named after the piece they produced. Even today, the areas where these craftsmen used to concentrate are called by these names, such as "Marpu‡‡ular."Lles were generally produced in Tophane by Lule makers and the govde's (bottles) were manufactured in Beykoz. These govde's were a unique exaple of Turkish handcraft and were decorated with floral motifs. Some were made out of silver or crystal. The agizlik's (mouthpieces) were generally carved out of the top of quality amber, because people in those days believed that amber was not the because people in those days believed that amber was not the carrier of germs.
The nargile was so popular and fashionable with the elite ladies of the 19th and the beginning of the 20th century, that it became the in thing to be photographed with a nargile. If you wanted to be the hostess with the mostest the nargile was a must for popular afternoon tea and intellectual gatherings. Unfortunately like most wonderful things from the past, the nargile suffered a decline with the availability of the cigarettes. But still today, one is able to find a special type of smoker that would only find their enjoyment from smoking the nargile.
The history of sheesha goes back to the northern parts of India which was part of Persia (now known as Iran). Tobacco used to be smoked in coconuts. Later, wealthy Persians gave hookah the appearance they have today; they were designed to smoke opium, and hashish. The hookah made its way from the Persian Kingdom to other parts of the Persian empire which also included India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, much of Middle Asia and Arab parts of Northern Africa.
Today the Hookah is a smoking pipe used worldwide. The term "sheesha" is primarily used for water pipes in Egypt and the Arabic countries of the Persian Gulf (such as Bahrain, UAE, and Saudi Arabia). It is referred to as Argileh in Arab Mediterranean countries. The practice of adding strong flavors is a relatively recent one but has grown in popularity in the past 20 years.