The Bindalli Dress from Beypazari

The Beypazari region of Ankara is culturally rich.  From local foods to jewellery to weaving and handicrafts, I learned a lot about the people that live there.

One tradition I also learned about was the Bindalli dress

What is a Bindalli dress?

Bindalli dress and kusak

It is an intricate garment that is a symbol of the relationship between mother and daughter.  Handed down through generations, it is a long velvet robe carefully embroidered with silver or gold designs and motifs.

Worn over other clothing, it is then completed with a “kusak” gold belt and a “Cevre” which is a squared shaped piece of cloth to be placed on the head.

I played dress up in the local shop and tried on many Bindalli dresses. Unfortunately, they did not go well with my standard brand name sports shoes and Levi jeans.

There was one dress that caught my eye though and it had a sorry tale to tell.

The Bindalli Dress from Beypazari

Bindalli dressIt was tatty, old and looked like it had been worn many times.

The lady of the shop said it probably had and was estimated to be more than 100 years old.

Where did she find it?

In the rubbish bin!

Someone had thrown it out with the trash.

As an antique piece of clothing, it is not worth that much in monetary value but to experts in the culture and traditions of Beypazari, it is certainly valuable.

Sometimes if a person has lived with a tradition all their life, they can’t see the attraction in the same light that an outsider like me did.

I was in awe of this Turkish tradition that I never knew about before.

It took me one step further to understanding the culture of my adopted country and I could not understand why anyone would throw out a family heirloom.

There is a proverb that describes the situation though.

“One man’s trash is another man’s treasure’

Hamam musuem

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Hi. My name is Natalie Sayin and I am the author of The Turkish Travel Blog. I am an Internet addict with a passion for history. Read my story here or leave a comment below to join the discussions.
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  1. Mary says

    Natalie, do you know the significance of the snail shaped large buckles on the belt? I see that belt is worn with many Ottoman style garments by women in Turkey and also Bulgaria.

    • says

      Sorry Mary, I don’t. The Ottomans used many motifs etc. If I find out, I will post it here

  2. phil + Di marina gateway says

    i enjoyed this one Natalie what a shame the dress was thrown away

  3. Susan Benton says

  4. Bron says

    Hi Susan

    I am Australian but lived in Turkey for 8.5 yrs and bindalli embroidery has long been one of my favourite things.
    What exactly do you want to know ?
    How its done ?
    See more examples ?

  5. Bron says

    If you go to ebay and search for “bindalli” or “antique ottoman metallic embroidery” you will find loads of bindalli for sale.
    Some costs many thousands of dollars.
    Be prepared for tragedy of a different kind – scraps for sale when families who csnt agree to share a garment or entrust one family member with its care snd preservation roughly HACK UP bindalli wedfing dtesses so everyone csn hsve a piece !!!!!!!!!!!!

  6. Bron says

    Sorry about the typos :(
    Hard to see until published on a mobile.

    Natalie, there are some good exsmples in the Ethnographic museum in Izmir (Gorgeous building – the old harbpur “plague” hospital – for quarantine of sick on arriving ships)

    In Istanbul – Sadberk Hanim Muzesi

    Many Turkish museums (aside from exclusively archeologicsl ones) will have a few bindalli examples.

    • Nat says

      Wonderful – Thank you very much Bron. Although I have to say, it is a shame that some Bindali wedding dresses are hacked up! :(

      • Bron says

        It’s unbelievable.

        I will continue to add any useful related resources here, Natalie.

        Very hard to find !

        • Nat says

          Thank you – I did try to find the Historical costumes of Turkish women in WaterStones but like you say, it is trying to find a needle in a haystack. I am old fashioned in that I still prefer the hard back books. Thanks for the all your input though

  7. Bron says

    More details of a book for searching on abebooks after it is sold and gone.
    Title: Historical Costumes of Turkish Women
    Publisher: Middle East Video Corp, Turkey
    Publication Date: 1986
    Binding: Hardcover

  8. Bron says

    Author: GORUNUR, LALE

    Title “Women’s costume of the late Ottoman era from the Sadberk Hanim Museum Collection / Osmanli Imparatorlugu’nun son doneminden kadin giysileri ”

    Publisher: Sadberk Hanim Muzesi. Istanbul:
    Sadberk Hanim Muzesi
    Year: 2010.

    299 p., color ills.
    In Turkish and English.

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