History of the Hookah
Hope you find this interesting: 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), Lüle (the top of the nargile), Marpuç (the tube) and the
Gövde (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 "Marpuççular."Lüles
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.
Not all tobaccos qualified for usage in the nargile, and only the dark
tobacco imported from Iran found favor with the nargile user. This
tobacco was washed several times before use as it was extremely
strong. Only oak charcoal was used to be placed on the top of the
tobacco. Some professional nargile smokers used certain fruit, like
sour cherries or grapes in their govde just to enjoy the motion it
created in the water. Other people enjoyed adding pomegranate juice or
rose oil to their water for added flavor. The nargile smoker hated
anyone lighting their cigarettes on their nargile fire because they
felt it disturbed the rhythm of the burning charcoal.
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.
 Shisha is from the Persian word shishe , literally
translated as glass and not bottle). Hashish is an Arabic word
for grass, which may have been another way of saying tobacco. Another
source states, "In early Arabic texts, the term hashish referred not
only to cannabis resin but also to the dried leaves or flower heads
and sweetmeats made with them".
 Hookah itself may stem from Arabic uqqa, meaning small box, pot,
or jar. Both names refer to the original methods of constructing the
smoke/water chamber part of the hookah.