When I am travelling around Turkey, I don’t normally pick up souvenirs. This is purely because it is easier not to. Carrying them around not only adds weight to the luggage but most of the time, I am also on a budget. The only souvenirs, I take back are the pictures on my camera.
This doesn’t mean I don’t keep my eye out on what I could buy if I wanted to. From the tacky to the crude to the expensive and sophisticated, I have seen them all. Turks have a marvellous ability to produce every type of souvenir that you can think of.
If you like souvenirs from your holidays, here are the top ten choices to take home with you.
A Turkish Carpet
You either have a keen eye for good weaving and designs or you did not have the strength to walk away from the carpet man. Those that have been to Turkey before will know what I mean. You spend hours drinking tea in the shop selling Turkish carpets, but you really don’t want a carpet.
The seller has established after thirty minutes that you are his best friend and he does not give this price to just anyone. After 1 hour, he lets you into the secret that the carpet is actually on hold for another person but he likes you better so is prepared to forgo his integrity to sell it to you.
After one and a half hours, you buy the carpet out of pity because you learn that he has six children to feed and is struggling to make ends meet. The fact that he has a top of the range mobile and is wearing more jewellery than the queen of Sheba, well this totally goes over your head.
A sweet that you will either love or hate. Even if you hate it, you will still buy ten boxes as they were on a buy one get one free campaign. Just the thing to satisfy all your friends work.
One of the best buys you can ever make. There is an abundance of it in Turkey and skilled craftsmen all over the country sculpt it into chess sets, spice bowls, decorative bowls, bathroom fixtures, ash trays and vases. You name it and it can be made. If you want to take just one souvenir home, make sure it is a piece of Onyx.
When tourists first land in Turkey, they have a stock of teabags from back home. The thought of going without their daily fix of British or American tea, makes them break out in sweats. However, when they leave Turkey, they take home boxes of apple tea. A simple powder that is mixed with water, you will find it sold on every street corner.
Otherwise known as a Turkish smoking pipe. It actually originated from India but found its way to Turkey during the Ottoman empire. As cigarettes were introduced, more people started smoking them and the nargile was confined to bars and restaurants. You can buy many types of smoke to use with the nargile including apple, raspberry, banana or plain tobacco. Be warned if packing it in your suitcase as it is very fragile.
Turkish Evil Eye
Everywhere you go in Turkey, you will see a blue circle with an eye in the middle. This is to ward off all evil and people will place them in their homes and work places. You may also be in a shop and the owner will give you a small evil eye to pin on your jacket.
You will discover a liking for lemon cologne when you learn mosquitoes hate it with a vengeance. It is also refreshing however has a wonderful purpose of stopping a mosquito bite from itching. If you use the internal bus system within Turkey, bus boys will come around with lemon cologne to freshen you after a long journey. If you are in Turkey, over Seker Bayram, than shops and office will offer you cologne when you walk in.
This is either going to be as a jacket, belt, bumbag, handbag or purse. Leather is a good buy in Turkey and very often you will discover excellent quality for half the price of products back home.
Another good buy because it is of a higher carat. You will find that gold shops do not price their products because bargaining is expected. Another reason for the excellent prices is the low cost of labor. Very often gold shops will clean your jewellery for free and even make any design that you want.
There are lots of fakes in Turkey and I am not talking about the Turkish men!. Genuine fakes signs will lead the way to T-shirts, watches, handbags, football shirts, designer clothing and perfume. The fakes are normally confined to the tourist areas and normal shopping areas will sell the real deal.
Have you been to Turkey and bought home any of the above souvenirs?
Is there anything that you bought, which is not on the list?