Traditions and customs

Chaihana means "a room for tea" (from Chinese cha-yeh - leaf tea and Persian hane - room, room). Chaihana is an integral part of the unique culture East people, and also it is a symbol of oriental hospitality.

It is said that the first Chaihana in Central Asia appeared with the advent of tea. Since the hot climate forced people to consume a lot of liquids, that’s why chaihana was very popular since the ancient times and it took the second place after the mosque.  First they were built on the roads between cities, in crowded eastern bazaars, in caravan-sheds, and eventually tea-house could already be found on almost any street in the city or village.

In the East, tea is an indispensable drink that accompanies a person throughout life. Every feast starts and ends with tea. However, around the Turkic people tea drinking didn’t assemble the tea ceremonies in China and Japan, they prefer to drink tea in the chaihana in a friendly atmosphere where tea drinking plays an important communicative role.

Chaihana is a kind of men's club where men reunite for communication and just to have. Over a cup of tea, they talked about life, discussed the latest news and their problems, shared plans. Among the friends here celebrated significant events, played chess or other board games. Also here came travelers, merchants and scientists, from which local residents learned about life in other countries and news from afar, conducted business negotiations and concluded important deals. Women were secretly forbidden to visit chaihana, they should arrange tea-drinking at home for friendly communication.

In the East, chaihanas have their own distinctive features. Firstly, in the Central Asian chaihana you can not only have tea, but also eat well. You can taste dishes of national cuisine. Secondly, it is customary to drink tea from the tea bowl. And, thirdly, the advantage here is given to green tea, as it quenches thirst better and helps digestion. As a sign of respect to the visitor, the bowl is filled with tea by one third. If a cup is full   filled with a tea it means that you show   disrespect towards the visitor.

In Turkey, Iran, Azerbaijan, mostly consumed is black tea, which is served in special pear-shaped cups called Armuda.  Because of the special shape of the cup a tea can keep warm as long as possible. So a tea can't be served with the dish at the same time, only with baking. Earlier in the Central Asia was one interesting custom, while drinking tea, you were able to dunk a cub of sugar in tea and drink it through pieces of sugar.

It is said that this custom appeared in medieval khan and shah's palaces, where was a great danger of being poisoned, that's why they carefully tasted everything.

During the medical time all the poisons were of organic origin, so while interacting with sugar it immediately changed the color. Thus, this method of tea drinking was not a whim, it was a kind of means of survival.

In winter, the visitors stay inside, and in summer outside. So during the hot climate the chaihanas were set near the trees or water bodies, close to shade. In the chaikhana, visitors usually sit on the wooden couch, which is richly decorated with carvings. They sit in Turkish style on the light quilted mattresses called kurpacha, in front of prepared dinner called dastorkon / dastarkhan (tablecloth or laid table).

The interior decoration of the chaihana is extremely varied and individual. It includes artistic paintings, carving on wood, rich ethno carpets called kiyiz (felt carpets), textiles and dishes with oriental ornaments.

So will definitely feel the atmosphere of the East where the peace and comfort. And  if you  enjoy drinking tea, communicating and  forgetting about time while sitting in the chaihana,  then - you are in a real eastern chaihana.