Tucked away in a tiny corner of Istanbul's historic Grand Bazaar, a traditional Turkish coffee and tea house has continued to serve its loyal customers since the day it opened 111 years ago.
The shop, called Ethem Tezçakar Kahveci for over a century, serves thousands of cups of authentic Turkish tea and coffee every day from its tiny kiosk, with customers sipping on the hot beverage while perched on tiny stools dotting the street outside. Something about its compact size, historical origins and familiar atmosphere continues to draw people in.
Currently run by Bekir Tezçakar, a civil engineer by profession, the family business has stood the test of time.
Speaking to Anadolu Agency (AA), Tezçakar says the important thing for them was to "transfer the trust and traditions of the family to future generations."
"I have lived with that purpose, trying to maintain it till this day, and my only aim today is to represent my family and the society in the right way, transfer these cultural assets and take it one step further to keep these traditions alive," he said, talking about how his family has managed to keep the shop running for five generations. Tezçakar said treating their customers like guests is perhaps one of the reasons the shop has maintained its popularity.
"I have never seen this place like a coffee shop or a market or a business. For us, people visiting us have never been customers, they have always been our guests," he said.
Built by his great-great-grandfather who came to Istanbul from the northeastern province of Erzincan in the late 19th century, the shop opened for business in 1909 according to the official date written on their business card. They even have a receipt dating back to the Ottoman era to prove it.
"My great-grandfather, particularly my grandfather and later my father, put in a lot of effort (running the shop), but it was my father Ethem Tezçakar who put in the most effort in the most troublesome period and brought this place to its current glory," Tezçakar said.
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