Although the nargile (water pipe) is an established feature of Turkish culture, it originated in India and found its way to the Ottoman Empire in the 16th century. The better quality ones were ceramic, but glass bowls are more common. The nargile became popular in the 1700s, at the height of the Ottoman Empire. It even became a status symbol towards the end of the Ottoman Empire; Smoking with the sultan was considered the highest honor. In Istanbul nowadays you can hardly find a corner without the sweet smell of apple tobacco coming from the numerous nargile cafes.

A nargile consists of a glass bottle (şişe) into which a metal pipe device is placed. The bottle is half filled with water, and a long flexible hose (marpuç) is attached to the pipe. Atop the pipe is a small metal tray to catch cinders and above it a small cup-shaped bowl (lüle) to fill with tobacco.