A Day Dedicated to Youth: What to Do in Istanbul on May 19th

Turkey is a land of breathtaking beauty, where every corner tells a story of its rich history and diverse culture. Istanbul, in particular, stands out as a city of surprises, where ancient mosques stand alongside bustling bazaars and modern skyscrapers. Its unique blend of East and West creates an enchanting atmosphere that captivates visitors from around the globe. Especially on special days, such as festivals and holidays, Istanbul comes alive with vibrant energy, as the streets pulse with excitement and celebration. One such notable occasion is May 19th, a special day in Turkey dedicated to youth, where the spirit of hope and possibility fills the air, making Istanbul an even more magical place to explore and experience.

On this particular day, May 19th, Turkish people celebrate the Commemoration of Atatürk, Youth and Sports Day. In this blog, we will look at the meaning and importance of that day, and what to do on May 19th in Istanbul. But before that, let’s have a look at the best way to enjoy Istanbul every day of the year: Istanbul Tourist Pass®!

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What is the Commemoration of Atatürk, Youth and Sports Day?

Commemoration of Atatürk, Youth and Sports Day is celebrated every year to commemorate the founder of Turkey, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, who landed in Samsun on May 19, 1919, and started the struggle for independence. This day inspires Turkish youth and encourages them to take responsibility for the future of the country. Like marches, concerts, sports competitions, and various events throughout Turkey. At the same time, this day emphasizes the importance of the youth and plays an important role in their education and the strongest Turkey in the future. The day keeps alive the feeling of national unity and togetherness and it’s celebrated enthusiastically every year.

The Significance of Commemoration of Atatürk, Youth and Sports Day in Turkey

Commemoration of Atatürk, Youth and Sports Day aims to sustain the national heroism of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk and his heritage. The day is celebrated on 19th May because it’s Atatürk’s birthday and gives hope for the future of the country by focusing on youth and sports. This day is an opportunity for the youth to support national values, follow in the footsteps of Atatürk, and contribute to the progress of the country. In addition, the importance of sports is emphasized, and it is aimed at young people to adopt healthy lifestyles and contribute to society.


The Historical Background of Commemoration of Atatürk, Youth and Sports Day

Commemoration of Atatürk, Youth, and Sports Day plays an important role in Turkey’s modernization and national identity formation process. The day is celebrated in memory of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk’s birthday, May 19, 1881. Atatürk start the struggle for independence by landing in Samsung on May 19, 1919, is the starting point of the Turkish struggle for independence.

The Importance of Commemoration of Atatürk, Youth and Sports Day in Turkish History

The importance of youth and sports is emphasized during the day. We also have the opportunity to strengthen our national unity and solidarity, protect our national values, and focus on our country's modernization goals. This day strengthens the common historical and cultural ties of the Turkish.


Common Customs and Traditions on May 19th

May 19th holds a special place in the hearts of the Turkish people, symbolizing not only the birth of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the founder of the Republic of Turkey, but also the emergence of a new era marked by independence, progress, and unity. The day begins with formal ceremonies across the country, where flags are hoisted high, and the national anthem resonates through the air, serving as a powerful reminder of the sacrifices made for freedom and sovereignty. 19th May is an important day in Turkey. This day is celebrated by various events:

Formal Ceremonies 

May 19th is a day of solemnity and patriotism in Turkey, marked by nationwide formal ceremonies. These ceremonies typically commence with the dignified hoisting of the Turkish flag, accompanied by a moment of silence to honor the nation's fallen heroes. The resonant strains of the national anthem fill the air as citizens unite in reverence for their country and its hard-won independence.


Atatürk’s Commemoration Programs

Central to the observance of May 19th is the commemoration of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the revered leader and visionary statesman who laid the foundation for modern Turkey. At commemoration programs held in his honor, Atatürk's life, accomplishments, and enduring legacy are celebrated through speeches, presentations, and discussions. Participants reflect on his pivotal role in shaping the nation's identity and pay tribute to his unwavering dedication to the principles of democracy, secularism, and progress.

Sports Activities

In addition to its historical significance, May 19th is synonymous with youth and sports, underscoring the importance of physical fitness and camaraderie among the nation's young people. Across the country, sports activities abound, ranging from friendly football matches to spirited track and field competitions. These events not only promote healthy lifestyles but also foster a sense of unity and teamwork among participants, echoing Atatürk's belief in the transformative power of sports in building a strong and resilient nation.

Cultural Activities

The cultural vibrancy of Turkey takes center stage on May 19th, with a diverse array of events showcasing the nation's rich heritage and artistic expression. From traditional music concerts to contemporary art exhibitions, cultural activities abound, offering citizens an opportunity to celebrate their shared identity and cultural pride. These events serve as a testament to Turkey's cultural richness and its enduring commitment to preserving and promoting its unique heritage.


School Events

In schools across the country, May 19th is a day of both solemn remembrance and joyful celebration. Classrooms and schoolyards are adorned with flags and patriotic decorations as students gather to honor their nation's history and heritage. Through recitations of national anthems, readings of patriotic poems, and educational activities centered on Atatürk's legacy, young learners gain a deeper appreciation for the values of democracy, freedom, and unity that define their nation's identity.

Through these diverse and meaningful activities, May 19th emerges as a day of national unity and pride, a time for Turks to come together in celebration of their shared history, values, and aspirations for the future.

Celebrating Commemoration of Atatürk, Youth and Sports Day as a Tourist in Istanbul

Istanbul, with its rich history and vibrant culture, offers an unparalleled setting to commemorate Atatürk, Youth, and Sports Day. Here are some suggestions for experiencing this special day as a tourist in the city:

Official Holiday Ceremonies in Istanbul

Immerse yourself in the spirit of the holiday by joining the official ceremonies held in Taksim Square, the heart of Istanbul. Gather around Atatürk's Monument, a symbol of Turkey's modernization, and witness the solemn rituals and patriotic fervor that characterize this day. Experience the excitement of traditional folk dances and music, as performers showcase the country's rich cultural heritage.


Atatürk Museum at Dolmabahçe Palace

Pay homage to the legacy of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the visionary leader of the Turkish Republic, by visiting the Atatürk Museum located within the opulent Dolmabahçe Palace. Explore the exhibits chronicling Atatürk's life and accomplishments, gaining insight into his profound impact on shaping modern Turkey. Marvel at the grandeur of the palace itself, a testament to Turkey's rich historical heritage. Check here the FREE Guided Dolmabahçe Palace Tour which is included in your Pass. 

Bosphorus Cruises

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