Baghdad proverbs in Turkish

History Jun 07, 2020 2 min read

The city of Baghdad was founded in the year 762 by the Abbaside caliph Abu Jafar al-Mansur under the name of Madinatul Salam (the city of peace) as the capital of the Abbaside state. For the centuries that followed, Baghdad was the primary cultural center of the Arab and Islamic civilization and one of the largest cities in the world. This changed when the Mongol leader Hülegü - or better known as the grandson of Gengis Khan - cruelly conquered Baghdad in the year 1258. This event completely destroyed Baghdad and her status. From the 16th century, Baghdad fell into the hands of the Ottomans, until it officially became the capital of Iraq in 1920. During this Ottoman period, Baghdad was known as Medinetü'l selâm, one of the most important cities of the Ottoman state. For this reason, the Turks know some proverbs about Baghdad to this day:

‘‘Ana gibi yar Bağdat gibi diyar olmaz’’ - Baghdad is like a mother, no place is equal.

‘‘Çanakta balın olsun, arı Bağdat'tan gelir’’ -  Honey from Canakkale, but the bee is from Baghdad

‘‘Sora sora Bağdat bulunur’’ - Ask about it, but you will find it in Baghdad.

Many Turks learned Arabic because they held different positions in Baghdad during the Ottoman Empire, and thus they introduced many Turkish words into the Iraqi dialect used at the time and also took words from the Arabic language. In his book "Turkish words in Iraqi dialects" Prof. dr. Dr. Hussein Ali Mahfouz states that the Iraq question used for an answer that is (almost) sure "mu?" is also used in the Turkish dialect. This also applies to the well-known pronunciation “miyye bilmiyye” (100%) which is used in Turkish as “yüz yüzde” and to “Shako mako” (how are you) as “ne var ne yok”. As a matter of fact, the Iraqi dialect has been influenced in various ways by foreign influences. While the use of foreign terms has gradually declined over the years, there are still terms and sayings derived from other languages.

Baghdad under the Ottomans Painting .
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