Turkey is probably one of the most exotic places to visit in the world. Not just because there are a lot of tourist attractions, but mostly because it's located in two continents, Europe and Asia. In fact, although Turkey is politically affiliated with Europe, 97% of its area and 88% of its population are on the continent of Asia. This makes Turkey a perfect destination for traveler who're looking for a European country that has a perfect blend with Asian cultures.
Along with its unique cultures, people who visits Turkey are always attracted with its unique souvenirs. In this post, you can read some of the most popular souvenirs from Turkey, stuff that you rarely found in other European countries. Even though most of them are inexpensive, you might want to check some information about cheap holidays in Turkey to save your money from flight and hotel, and spend them more for Turkish gifts and cuisines!
My Top Six of Popular Turkish Souvenirs:
Its original name is Lokum, and the origin dates back to the time of the Ottoman Empire. It's basically a sweet that consists of sugar and starch as the base ingredients, while the varieties consist of dates, pistachios, hazelnuts, or walnuts. Turkish Delight has soft texture and jelly-like substance and it's usually shaped in tiny box figure.
It's better if you don't buy the shop's pre-packaged version, as it's usually only have the standard flavors. Try to visit the town/local market where you will be able to try every flavor possible, which depends on your taste, you can find it very bad to very delicious. Turkish Delight is a cheap and ideal gift to bring from Turkey, it only costs around $5 - $10 for 500 g.
Also known as nazar, it's a crystal blue eye-shaped amulet believed to bring luck and protect against the evil eye. Evil eye itself is a look that is believed to be able to cause injury or bad luck for the person at whom it is directed for reasons of envy or dislike. It was a belief among many Mediterranean and Asian cultures, and the decorations featuring the eye are a common sight across Greece and Turkey.
It doesn't matter if you share their belief or not, this blue eye pendant is still gonna make a good souvenir. A typical nazar is made of handmade glass featuring concentric circles or teardrop shapes in dark blue, white, light blue and black. However, it also can be found in many other forms, including in jewellery, ornaments, and children's clothing.
Turkish Carpets and Kilims
Turkey has one of the greatest weaving cultures in history, and its carpets and rugs have a reputation for their unique designs, color combinations and durability. Each weaver has their own method, with their own unique pattern of colors and symbols. Carpets can be created using cotton, silk, and wool, while Kilims are made of wool.
Kilims can be purely decorative or can function as prayer rugs for Muslims. Recently-made kilims are popular floor-coverings in Western households. The best known and most highly regarded kilims are produced from Anatolia region in Turkey. The price of Turkish carpets and kilims are vary between a little above $100 to more than $5000. Their size makes them not too practical as a souvenir, and most travelers prefer to have them post-delivered to home.
Turkish potteries are uniquely crafted with different techniques and styles that have developed over many centuries. Nowadays, production is centered around Avanos in the Cappadocia region. The town is located on the banks of the River Kizilirmak, and the distinctive red clay from the river is used in pottery-making industry.
Pottery would make a lovely gift, but they're also delicate. Packing it safely so it can reach home in one piece is gonna be a challenging task.
When you're in Istanbul, don't forget to visit its Spice Bazaar, which is also known as the Egyptian Market. In there, sacks and stacks of freshly ground spices line the aisles of this bazaar and amaze visitors with their aromas and various colors. The Spice Bazaar is not only a great place to buy spices, but it's also where you can pick up dried fruits and nuts, tea, candy and caviar.
Spices prove significant in food preparation in Turkey, since these can be used as preservatives and an additive for the food’s flavor, besides also used for medical purpose. If your wife or moms at home love cooking, then some of the spices will be a perfect gifts for them.
It's a traditional Turkish towel with different styles and colors, intended to be worn at the waist, especially in the Turkish baths (spa). The peshtamal fabric is made of 100% cotton produced, and it absorbs water as fast as a traditional towel, dries very quickly, takes up less space, and it's easy to carry. Many people consider these towels to be some of the softest and most luxurious on the market.
Well, that's it for my choices of popular souvenirs from Turkey. Of course that there are still plenty interesting and unique stuff that you can get from this transcontinental country. Among them are leather clothing, onyx, copper ornaments, jewelry, Turkish coffee and tea, and ceramics. Whatever your preference is, try to buy them at local market where you can haggle, as most of those items are offered a little more expensive than they should.