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Smoking the Hookah in Middle-Eastern Culture

Smoking the hookah has been a long, time-honored tradition in the middle east for centuries. Enjoyed by both men and women, the hookah serves as a 'gathering' place for people of all types. Unlike the cigarette, however, the hookah is meant to be smoked slowly and with time - often with a cup of tea and the recount of the day's stories with your friends or family. But how did this all start?

The origins of the hookah come from the north western provinces of India along the border of Pakistan nearly a millennia back. Through time, the hookah made its way through the Persian Kingdom, and eventually into the Middle East. When the hookah made its way into Turkey nearly 500 years ago, it became highly popular among the upper class and 'intellectuals'. The hookah itself morphed into more elaborate designs including intricate paintings and mosaics for beauty and elegance. The popularity continued to grow, making its way into hookah coffee shops in Turk society nearly three centuries ago.

Today, hookah bars are social places where many people gather to discuss politics and local events. In fact, there have been numerous stories detailing large trade or political negotiations being settled over a hookah.