Thursday, April 7, 2011

Top Six Souvenirs From Turkey

This list is created to give you some ideas on what are the popular stuff to take home as souvenirs and gifts for family and friends. What you buy is just a matter of personal taste and preference. Although Turkish carpets and kilims are popular stuff, they are not easy to take home unless you are willing to incur the delivery cost. So my choice is based on practicality. 

Turkish Delights 
Originally known as Lokum but today the word Turkish Delights is much more popular. This item is top on my list because they taste so good. Basically, they are made of sugar and starch but flavored with rose, lemon, walnut, almond, pistachios, cherry and coconut. Most of these sweet delicacies use white sugar but the one which uses honey is really delicious. Great gift but heavy! 

Traditional Turkish Cap (Kufi
They are made from several types of material from cotton fleece to wool blend. These colorful knitted kufi are usually worn by man on any occasion and for prayers. The antique hand made kufi tend to be more expensive. Anyway, even the commercial ones; they make nice souvenirs for Dad and uncles. Very light and practical but some can be pricey! 

Evil Eye 
At first I was astonished to see this ‘evil eye’ almost everywhere in Turkey. Later, I was told by the guide that most Turkish believe it can ward evil and bring luck! It’s like talisman and so you can find it on babies, in the houses, offices, stores and on the doors. But to me, it is just a beautiful blue bead and the one made into anklets, bracelets, earrings and pendants are just awesome gifts for the girls at home. It is pretty and inexpensive gift.

Herbs and Spices 
Istanbul was a center of world’s spice trade and that explains why even today, it has a wide range of spices for sale in the market. I love looking at heaps of them in the Spice Bazaar. It is like watching a spectacular colorful show. With all the shops parading their spices and herbs, you can’t resist the temptation of getting some to bring home. The smell and the colours are so enticing and this overwhelming experience will just add another dimension of your learning curve about spice :). By the way, they make perfect gift for Moms at home.
Turkish potteries are uniquely crafted with different techniques and styles that have developed over many centuries. The Kutahya and Iznik (name of towns) designs are famous. A piece of antique Iznik pottery in the museum can fetch a price as high as 70,000 GBP! We had the opportunity to visit a commercial pottery factory in Avanos, Cappadocia to see how these hand made crafts are made and indeed it is a very refined work of art. They are so lovely but carrying them home is a delicate job, unless you are committed to hand carry and take good care of them. But a small piece wrapped neatly with bubbles can surely survive in your hand bag.

Apple Tea 
Apple tea is served by Turkish as a friendly gesture almost any where you go. We were even served tea while shopping at the Grand Bazaar. They taste superb and the blend of its aroma and flavour stays for awhile on your taste bud. With several style of packaging they make nice simple gift for family and friends. The price will not hurt your pocket and again it doesn't take the weight of your luggage.

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