Original & traditional gifts from Turkey
On the hunt for some original gifts while visiting Turkey…
Why not give something a little special? Something traditional that friends and relatives would struggle to find back at home. Turkey has lots of choice on offer and here are few ideas:
Evil Eye (Nazur Bonjuk).
We start our list straight away with probably the most popular gift from Turkey. The nazur bonjuk has been used by Turks to protect themselves from the “evil leye” for ages. You will notice these blown blue glass and white eye charms at the entrance of most houses in Turkey. The idea behind it is that it protects the property by repelling the bad thoughts and wishes of persons that want to enter. There are many designs in lot’s of sizes and shapes. You can find the nazur bonjuk on a whole mass of goodies such as, just to name a few, pottery, ornaments, jewellery to protect the wearer, small bracelets to protect a child, etc.
They are fairly cheap and everywhere available.
There is a wealth of leather goods on offer in Turkey. It is the perfect gift for loved ones or maybe a nice souvenir for yourself. You can find handmade leather jackets, handbags, wallets and purses at reasonable prices if you shop around and are prepared to bargain.
Cushion Covers (Kilim)
A Turkish Kilim is a wonderful gift and a popular souvenir that makes a fabulous show piece for your home. The making is widely regarded as a folk art because most are handmade using wool and natural dyes sourced locally. Because it is woven into complicated designs and patterns, the result is a flat, thin rug that looks more like a tapestry. Associated with the area, most regions in Turkey have their own style of kilim rugs using colours and symbols developed over many centuries. You can find them in most of the carpet shops.
Turkish Towels (Peshtemal)
Maybe you will think of thick fluffy towels but traditional Turkish towels are much thinner with tassels and stripes. They are light weighted and ultra practical for quick drying and pack away easily into beach bags. The towels are also the traditional towels used in the Turkish Bath (Hamam) to protect modesty. For women in a similar fashion as a sarong, draped around the torso and tied around the neck and for men simply wrapped around the waist. Peshtemals are inexpensive, you can find them in almost any of the souvenir shops.
Olive Oil Soap
Also used in the Hamam to keep your skin baby soft. For centuries the Turks have made the most of the many advantages of olive oil. It is known for its natural moisturising and antioxidant properties and wonderful for both normal and dry sensitive skin. It is also claimed to help fight the ageing process. Turkish olive oil soap is sold in different versions together with all sorts of other traditional soaps in souvenir shops, local markets and even the larger supermarkets.
Traditional Turkish Bath Exfoliating Gloves (Kese)
Our last out of three items used in the Hamam is a cheap, great and traditional gift found on the markets. Kese, as they are called in Turkish, are the rough linen gloves which the masseur uses to get rid of the dead skin on your body. Afterwards leaving your skin smooth, super soft and tingly. They are a must for the bathroom.
Traditional white and blue pottery (İznik Seramik)
Based on traditional İznik designs many of the souvenir shops sell original İznik Seramik. İznik is a town in western Anatolia and the pottery dates back to the 15th century. The beautiful designs stand out due to the Asian elements and the cobalt blue ottoman arabesque patterns. They look lovely mounted on walls or as display pieces in any home. This lovely gift will be much appreciated by any recipient.
You may be thinking “what a strange gift” but during the Ottoman era plates, bowls, trays and cups from copper were very common in Turkey. You can still find a wide variety of handmade copperware in souvenir shops and antique shops. Notice that copper is poisonous when not covered or treated but they look great placed near the open fire place.
Gold and Silver Jewellery
Turkey is a great place to buy silver and gold and there are many shops that stock a wonderful collection. There is sure a piece to suit every style and taste on offer, from handcrafted rings, bracelets and necklaces to big and bold statement pieces. Make sure to haggle before purchase and don’t forget to check for a hallmark.
The real Turkish baklava tastes unlike any other. You really can’t escape from it in Turkey. Large supermarkets sell them alongside the cakes and breads and you also find them in the lovely pastane (cake shop). They all sell different varieties. The sweet, rich filo layers are filled with sweet syrup or honey and nuts. The perfect gift to take when visiting friends and relatives or to give to guests that pop by.