Anatolian rugs, which are commonly known as kilims, represent an essential part of the Turkish culture. Almost all the carpets/rugs/kilims -depends on how you wanna call it- have different types of characteristics, when it comes to dyes and colors, motifs, textures and techniques! The common motifs are the "elibelinde"- a stylized female figure, which represents motherhood and fertility-, the motifs of the wolf's mouth or the wolf's foot -for protection of the families-, or scorpion motifs -for safety from the sting of the scorpion. The world famous "evil eye" motif is also commonly used as well as is the running water, birds, the Solomon's seal and many more! The oldest records of kilims were found in Çatalhöyük in Konya, dating back to circa 7000 BC! Even in Europe, Anatolian rugs were depicted in Renaissance paintings, often in a context of dignity, prestige and luxury. Today, Turkish rugs are still a big part of the Turkish culture and attract many tourists' attention with their world-famous beauty. Of course, you can buy every type of rugs anywhere in Turkey, but if you are looking for a more authentic experience, here is your guide!
The Grand Bazaar, just like the Spice Bazaar aka Mısır Çarşısı, is one of the largest and oldest covered markets in the world; it does contain over 4,000 shops! This ancient bazaar attracts 400,000 visitors a day, with its amazing jewellery shops, furniture shops, carpets shops, leather goods, clothes shop and many more! The Grand Bazar of Istanbul opened in 1455 and it is considered as one of the first shopping malls of the world! To check out the amazing Turkish rugs aka kilims, you should visit the "Sahaflar Caddesi", which is a specific-rug street inside the bazaar.
Kemeraltı Market is one of the best places in İzmir for shopping and tasting the traditional goods! This historical market has lots of exotic shops which sell the best souvenirs, kilims, spices, furniture etc. Of course, if you are looking for the best and tastiest street food of İzmir, this is again the place to be! The best restaurants can be found in here, and BTW you have to try Kumru, which is a sandwich with delicious cheese, tomatoes, pickles, sausages and many more, and Boyoz, which is a delicious typical pastry.
During the Ottoman Period, a lot of bedestens were built, since in the Ottoman culture, sharing and supporting poor people was very important (bedestan, in the most basic definition, is the central building of the commercial part of the town). That's why during this period, Vakıfs (source of revenue) were in charge of the mosques and other charitable institutions. Kırkkaşık Bedesteni was built as a vakıf, in order to support Tarsus Grand Mosque in 1579. This 600 square meters bedesten with its gorgeous five domes was repaired in 1960-1961. Today, you can visit it to buy souvenirs and traditional handmade stuff of ceramic, copper and silver. You can also buy gorgeous carpets, and try delicious traditional food while there.
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