Turkey’s northern coast, where the forest meets the Black Sea- Sinop- residents of this province are the happiest in the country. According to the Turkish Statistical Institute, Sinop province ranks poorly compared to the rest of the country in health and infrastructure. And yet Sinop has come in top for happiness in the institute’s Life Satisfaction Survey several years in a row.
Everyone knows everyone here. It’s peaceful. And no-one interferes with anyone else.
Sinop is the birthplace of the Ancient Greek philosopher Diogenes. His lifestyle earned him the nickname ‘the Cynic’ ( derived from the ancient Greek word for ‘dog’), he lived a beggar’s life around 300 BC.
He is often credited with the founding of Cynicism. A philosophy that belives that social conventions impede personal freedom and hinder one’s path to the good life, while living according to nature is the quickest way to satisfaction.
A statue of Diogenes in the city centre – erected in 2006 is an indication that his approach to life had not been forgotten here.
Compared with the chaotic streets of Istanbul, here the cars moved in harmony. The pavements were more crowded than roads, in fact people here choose to walk rather than drive, there is no hurry to get anywhere.
Reportedly no-one in Sinop’s bureaucracy works after Wednesday!!
Women can walk around in shorts and no one bothers you. Even if a woman go out at 3 am, no one will say a word. It seems that the city had its own approach to religious and cultural matters.
People from all sections of society go to the same cafe to eat a simit [a Turkish-style bagel covered in sesame seeds] and drink tea or coffee and there is no feeling that some are poor and some are rich. May be this is the key factor of the happiness of Sinop.
The people here tends to prefer a more simpler way of life. Even while there is a ring o modern housing around the old city, there are no skyscrapers to spoil the skyline.
The key element of Cynicism- to live a good life- echoes through the city.