After a holiday in Alanya I return home with….
…Rugs and kilims
Turkish rugs are renowned worldwide for their unique motifs, intense colours and durability. This is no wonder really, as Turkey has a long tradition of weaving and knotting rugs. The best advice to anyone contemplating buying a rug is to take your time. Relax and enjoy a cup of apple tea as the salesman unrolls the often stunning rugs, one by one. The major and best-known production centres include Istanbul, Hereke, Ladik (near Konya), Istanbul, Sivas and Milas.
Kilims are a much cheaper, but less durable, alternative to hand-knotted rugs. They can be used as carpet, bags, cushions and wall decorations, and the motifs they bear often depict entire stories.
…Turkish Tea Glasses
A tea glass filled with tasty dark tea is seen everywhere in Turkey. Tea is a big part of the Turks’ everyday life. All Turkish families have tea glasses standing at home in the kitchen. The sweet small tulip shaped glasses are also an obvious souvenir to take home from your holiday. They can be bought in all sorts of designs and a pack of tea glass is available for about 20 TL in the supermarkets.
Hookah – or nargile in Turkish – are fun and exotic souvenirs from Turkey. These water pipes are available in all colors of the rainbow and with beautiful decorations. If you want to smoke on the hookah, you can also buy coal and tobacco in Turkey. If you want to smoke nargile while in Alanya, visit one of the city’s many water pipe cafes.
…All kinds of food
Herbs and spices from the market, a box of fresh, colourful and chewy Lokum (Turkish Delight), a bottle of fine olive oil… Pack them in your suitcase and carry on that authentic Turkish feel back home.
…A Nazar Bonçuğu (the blue eye)
They’re everywhere you look:above doors, in cars, pinned onto babies’ coats, included in jewellery, plastered into walls…… Turks believe that the blue eye (nazar boncuğu) keeps evil away.The colour blue is considered to have cleansing powers, so the blue eye effectively deflects the evil away from you!However, a nazar boncuğu will only be effective if you get it as a gift…
The word Onyx comes from Greek and means fingernail, probably due to its translucent nature.It belongs to the quartz family of stones and is characterised by its milky nature, translucency and colour.Top quality Onyx is quarried at many sites in Turkey.The stone only assumes its true colour and beauty after careful processing and polishing.Onyx can be red, green, grey, beige, blue, white and black.A range of Onyx items can be purchased in Turkey – chess boards, candlestick holders, animal figurines, you name it – and along the Turkish Riviera there is a succession of workshops where you can observe how Onyx is processed.In addition to being a thing of beauty, there is an age-old belief that Onyx absorbs negative energy!
The manufacture and decoration of ceramics and ceramic tiles is an important art form that has existed in Turkey for centuries.The Ottomans inherited the skills from the Seljuks, developing and perfecting the technique still further.In the 15th and 16th centuries Iznik became a major production centre for decorative tiles destined for new palaces and mosques in Istanbul.Even today, the city remains a key player in the production of both traditional and modern ceramics.No one has ever managed to match the intensity of the coral red and cobalt blue that so typifies Iznik ceramics.Kütahya and Cannakale are also well known brands.Hand-painted jars, bowls, figurines and tiles, to suit all price brackets, are available pretty much throughout the whole of Turkey.
Gourd lamps, or ‘Su kabağı lambası’ in Turkish, is a unique, handmade souvenir from Alanya. Dried gourds are hollowed out and the hard shell is then beautifully decorated with stones, beads and various painted patterns. If you have a particular desire for the design of your lamp, then many craftsmen also offer to make special designs, such as names, football teams, buildings or something entirely original.
A very special souvenir from Alanya is the art from Yalos, a small company run by Christiane Alaettinoğlu. She creates amazing small and big works of art from driftwood she finds on the beaches of Alanya. In Turkish, there is no word for driftwood. The Alanya people have therefore adopted the Greek word “yalos” (coastline) to them as the word for driftwood. It’s the perfect souvenir to take home from the holidays.
Bags, jackets, purses and wallets… fine leather retains its value and Turkey has a range of top quality merchandise to offer.It is alsocompetitively priced.Similar products are often considerably cheaper in Turkey compared to other countries.When buying something there is rarely any need to worry about the quality of material used – that is effectively guaranteed. Instead, concentrate on the seams, lining and overall quality of finish.
Copper articles have been used in many Turkish households as far back as the Ottoman period.Consequently copper is available throughout Turkey in the form of plates, jars and serving trays.Besides its practical domestic use, copper is also used to make a range of handcrafted ornaments, for example oil containers and plant pots.
…Gold & Silver
Whilst the weight-price is usually the same as in the rest of Europe, Turkey’s significantly lower labour costs mean you can often get great deals on the more beautiful and intricate gold and silver jewellery, whether it is traditional or contemporary in design.