This article examines the history, use, and significance of the Turkish Tea Garden or Cay Bahcesi, positing that these gardens offer unique democratic spaces for public discourse set within the polis. The article unpacks the historical, cultural, and symbolic features of these gardens, and the role these shared spaces play in Turkey’s multivalent civic environment. It employs Ray Oldenburg’s notion of “third space” to consider how these gardens provide inclusive settings for a culturally diverse citizenry. Furthermore, the article considers how these spaces act as repositories of shared memory, mediating conflict that appears in other societal spheres. The gardens are presented as uniquely “sacred” third spaces, distinct from the “profane” third spaces characterized by Oldenburg.
Bibliographical noteAccepted Author Manuscript
- tea gardens
- public space
- third space