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Yasmine Hamdan


Yasmine Hamdan, she is amazing sound which comes from Middle East. It is far away from classical East style that mixed with newest.

Yasmine Hamdan was born in Beirut in 1978. She had travelled many times during her life. She spent part her life in Greece, Gulf countries and Paris, and now she is living Beirut. Actually, she was born with Soapkills which is the one of famous electonic band in Middle East. This band became real with her friends. Soapkills is the only one indie/ electronic band in Arabic language and 4 band is following them. After all of them Yasmine Hamdan was called icon underground music area in Arabic world.

She went to Paris several years ago and had started to team up with Mirwais who was past of French electronic new wave band Taxi, Girl In The 80s and procuded/co-wrote Madonna’ s ”Music” as well as ” The American Live” album. And she set up Arabology album (2008) by using name Y.A.S.

After that she team up with Marc Colin who mastermind in this case, became real her own solo album which is called ” Ya Nass”. Ya Nass is vibrant and soft band which has own style. The forgetten details from Arabic woman singer, some of them are Aisha, El Marta, Asmahan, inspired all of song meaning, melody and harmony in every each song which are written in Ya Nass.

Songs are telling us what happened in Middle East history about freedom and developing and there are many irony in it.

Yasmine Hamdan is different from the other because of quality which she has specific style only belongs to herself that is innovative, amazing and the most precious reason is that she is using different dialects in Arabic language. She is helping people to lose theirself in her songs with amazing Arabic pronounciation and soft sound. And when she is doing that she is getting help from present day technology and presenting her renewable structure.

This amazing, gergous sound was in İstanbul İKSV saloon on 6th october. I hope she will come again.

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Firuzaga Cafe

When someone mentions smt about Cihangir,
you can have the first idea which is special cafe to hang out with
your friends, family or all alone. Turists or strangers ask how
they can go somewhere around there, everyone starts to tell them by
choosing main place that is Firuzağa Mosque, how they can go or
find destination from there. It looks like strange but there is a
bakery and cafe, we call it ”kahvehane” ;it means house for
coffee or tea, and restourant under the mosque. Firuzağa Cafe
(kahvehane) is a good place when you struggle to go on to
Sıraselviler Hill. By the way Sıraselviler is really vertical hill
to go on. If you wear h,gh heel shoes, should be better to take
out. Go back to our cafe; prices are really cheap to compare with
other cafes. Simply one glass of tea costs only 2 tl or 1 euro. The
cafe has really specific athmosphere in summer even in winter. You
can not realize how many glass of tea you drink when you sit under
the fresh, cool wind because of 100s ages trees. There is a sales
man in front of the cafe. I always see that man when ever i go. He
sales simit which i really enjoy to eat. It is some kind of bread
that shape is ring. You can have a good and light breakfast with
simit and some piece of cheese and that tea of course from cafe.
Sitting there and reading book is possible with drink. It sounds
enjoyable. Or just watching people where they are going on. Noone
disturbs you when you doing that. Noone cares what other people are
doing. Also there are many people especially girls, tell fortune
after turkish coffee with plenty of bubbles. They are furtune
reader. I prefer to choose a table close to street. It is easier to
watch everything around the street. It is quite and calm place
thats why young/old, girl/boy, everyone chooses the best cafe to do
all possibilities i mentioned in Cihangir. That is why it is my
favourite . Enjoy as much as possible. It is an useful information
how to go. Cihangir is really close to Taksim. It lasts 15 minutes
by walking. The way to go Cihangir is left from beginning of
İstiklal Street. After turning left, keep giong during the way.
After The German Hospital, you will see Firuzağa Kahvehanesi
Another way is from Kabataş. But have to go on during long hill
streets. And any taxi takes you there. Because it is so close like
5 minutes. So i prefer to reach Cihangir by walking from


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Kilim & Carpet Painting Exhibition at Rahmi M. Koc Museum

Turkish Kilims, Rugs and Carpets… All have distinctive magical patterns. Because of they are not just lovely objects but precious heirlooms that will be cherished by each generation to come, Georgios Maroudas who is a greece famous painter decided to make them appear on canvas.

Rahmi M. Koc museum which was opened to visitors in 199 and in 1996 it was honoured to receive a special award from the Council of Europe’s “European Museum of the Year Award” hosted Georgios Maroudas’ painting exhibition in which Turkish kilims, rugs and carpets were main theme  and named with “A Charming Reality” between 21th December 2011 and 18 March 2012.


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TheGuardian Writes “Why I love Turkey?”

Anakara, Anitkabir
Capital of turkey Ankara, Anıtkabir is the mausoleum of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk
Hagia Sophia
Orthodox Christianity Church converted into a Mosque in 1453
Greatest city of Turkey, no need to write more...
Fairy Chimneys, a hoodoo is a tall, thin spire of rock that protrudes from the bottom of an arid drainage basin or badland
It is known for the Artuqid (Artıklı or Artuklu in Turkish) architecture of its old cit
Large statues are erected around what is assumed to be a royal tomb from the 1st century BC

Kevin Gould who is a writer at Saturday Travel Section of TheGuardian posted his sights about beauties of Turkey. Below, you can find this writing, but before let us give a brief information about him.

Who is Kevin Gould?

Kevin writes Eat Like A Local for the Guardian’s Saturday Travel section. Having been a chef, a grocer, a restauranteur and a caterer, he and his stomach now travel the world meeting food producers, and looking for where the tourists don’t eat. Kevin’s favourite place is right here, right now; his favourite food is parsley.

From www.guardian.co.uk;

I fell in love with Turkey 28 years ago. Denim jeans were a rare western luxury then and every time the politicians got uppity the army rolled in, imposing swingeing curfews and outlawing anything cultural that seemed vaguely fun. How times change – yet it’s Turkey’s culture and history that makes her so attractive today. Nearly 2.5million Brits will holiday in Turkey this year. The face she shows most of us is thoroughly modern – sort of like Italy, but with moustaches and headscarves. Outside of the eurozone but with Mediterranean, Aegean and Black Sea coastlines, the country offers everything the fun-hungry all inclusive traveller wants. But a step away from the tourist areas is a Turkey of such original beauty that you’d need a thousand lifetimes to spend here, and there’d still be more to discover.

I’ve spent nearly 30 years travelling in luxury coaches, dodgy taxis, Dolmus buses, army helicopters, by boat and on foot and never fail to be thrown by the sheer diversity of a country that’s more like a continent.

Hip, cultural Istanbul is where many travellers start their voyages of discovery. Like New York isn’t America, Istanbul isn’t really Turkey, but a state in it’s own right. Unlike New York, Istanbul has 3,000 years of civilisation to inspire herself with. On the same latitude as Rome (and also built on seven hills), this was the perfect capital for the Emperor Constantine to establish the Eastern Roman empire from, just when old Rome was tearing itself to pieces.

The Byzantines came next. They were Greek-speaking Christians that were nonetheless mullah’d by thuggish crusaders, who carried off her many treasures (check out the golden lions in St Mark’s Square, Venice, for example), leaving the door open to the (Muslim) Ottomans, whose empire stretched from the gates of Vienna all the way round the Med to Mauritania. Istanbul is still the headquarters of the Greek Orthodox church. Awe-inspired pilgrims thought Haghia Sofia’s great dome was suspended from heaven by a golden chain as even you might today. Gorgeous churches, chapels and synagogues are yours to happen upon in her huddled quarters.

Check out the sixth-century Kuçuk (or, Little) Haghia Sofia around the corner from the crowds at the Blue Mosque. Properly known as the church of St Sergius and St Bacchus, its fresco’d and mosaic’d saints look so sharp and fresh, they could have been dressed by Vivienne Westwood.

Boating 10 minutes over to Asia for a cup of tea, or taking the slow ferry to the traffic-free, bougainvillea-crazy Princes’ Islands for a seafood lunch or hilltop picnic you may well be the only British traveller, but you’ll still be amongst friends, for the Turkish welcome is as genuine as it is legendary.

A meander up the Bosphorous brings you to the Black Sea with its shoals of anchovies and wild waves. Within an hour of Istanbul you’re in an Alpine land of tea gardens, hazelnut coppices and Laz-speaking, line-dancing locals who trace their roots back to Jason and his Argonauts.

Turkey’s north east, bordering Georgia and Armenia, is little visited, but the Kaçkar mountains are the intrepid walker’s paradise, with lost valleys, endless vistas and rare wildlife. The village of Yaylayar is home to 130 types of butterfly alone. Englishwoman Kate Clow has previously established two spellbinding walking trails in the Taurus Mountains; her latest is here in the Kackars.

Inland from here is Ankara with its art deco embassies, established by Mustafa Kemal Atatürk as Turkey’s modern capital; from here Çatalhüyük, is an easy drive. This is where wheat was first cultivated: Neolithic people lived here in organised towns about 9,500 years ago.

At school, I was rubbish at history but in Turkey, history is easy to read, and worn on everyone’s face. Turk’s ancestors were once subject to those great colonising, civilising empires, so you see pale-skinned Slavs; ginger-haired Syrians; grizzly Alpine mountain villagers; oval-eyed horse-riding farmers; triangular-faced Mongolian steppe-dwellers; flashing Arabs; proud beautiful Kurds; faded, haunted Thracians; boat-bound Aegean islanders. You see history also in every town and village.

Cappadocia is established on the tourist trail, but its pastel-painted underground churches are definitely worth the visit. Cut from the soft tufa rock, this is where early Christians hid from marauding Romans – a case of true faith made concrete.

Van, near where Turkey meets Iran, was the capital of the Urartu people in the ninth century BC, and is also famous for its swimming cats. Further south is Upper Mesopotamia, where the great Tigris and Euphrates rivers rise. Urfa is by legend where Abraham was born and Job learned his patience. Gaziantep is where baklava was invented, and Malatya is where your supermarket’s dried apricots come from. In Mardin, people speak Aramaic, just as Jesus did, and if you carry on west to the Mediterranean, you fetch up in ancient Antioch and Tarsus, where St Paul was born.

Turkey’s coastlines are beautiful, and her waters, er, turquoise. The Datça peninsula is as rocky, bird-loud and gorgeous as anywhere in the Med. As you follow the Aegean north, there’s Ephesus, of course, which is beautiful in the late afternoon after the tour buses have left. Meryem Ev is where the Virgin Mary is said to have spent her last days, and when the sun’s setting over these graceful Grecian ruins, you might want to stay here forever, too.

Izmir is olive oil and wine country – Turkey is one of the world’s largest grape producers, and Turkish wines can now take their place with the best of the New World. Even if they’re really from the Ancient one.

Before you hit Troy there are the tiny Aegean islands of Bozcaada and Gökçeada, famous in Greek mythology and also as where Allied troops waited before wasting their lives at Gallipoli. Gallipoli, like neighbouring Trakya (Thrace) is wild, weird and possessed of a hauntingly empty beauty. This is where the Persian king Xerxes had the Dardanelle Straights whipped because their currents would not obey his majesty when he so badly wanted to invade Greece. This is also where I love to eat garlicky clams and salads of sea vegetables, and drink cold Truva beers.

Along the Marmara Sea you’re back in Istanbul, having travelled thousands of miles and through ten thousand years of history. Turkey’s climate ranges from snowy Alpine through wind-whipped steppe, waterless desert and balmy Mediterranean. You’ll have eaten some of the most delicious food in the world, and the Turks you’ve met will have treated you with kindness and joy. The truth is, Turks just love having visitors.

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Turkish Coffee

From the days of the Ottoman Empire through to the present, coffee has played an important role in Turkish lifestyle and culture. The serving and drinking of coffee has had a profound effect on betrothal and gender customs, political and social interaction, prayer, and hospitality traditions throughout the centuries. Although many of the coffee rituals are not prevalent in today’s society, coffee has remained an integral part of Turkish culture. First brought to Istanbul in 1555 by two Syrian traders, coffee became known as the “milk of chess players and thinkers.” By the mid-17th century, Turkish coffee became part of elaborate ceremonies involving the Ottoman court. Coffee makers with the help of over forty assistants, ceremoniously prepared and served turkish_coffee_tea_spice_setcoffee for the sultan. Marriage customs and gender roles also became defined through coffee rituals. In ancient times, women received intensive training in the harem on the proper technique of preparing Turkish coffee. Prospective husbands would judge a woman’s merits based on the taste of her coffee. Even today, when a young man’s family calls to ask a girl’s parents for her hand in marriage, a formal coffee is served even in the most modern households. For both men and women, coffee has been at the center of political and social interaction. During the Ottoman period, women socialized with each other over coffee and sweets. Men socialized in coffee houses to discuss politics and to play backgammon. In the early 16th century, these coffee houses played host to a new form of satirical political and social criticism called “shadow theatre” in which puppets were the main characters. Over the years, Turkish coffee houses have become social institutions providing a place to meet and talk. Today, Turkish coffee houses continue their role in society as a meeting place for both the cultured citizen and the inquisitive traveler. Istanbul offers many new and delightful cafe-restaurants where friends and family meet to discuss topics of the day over a cup of traditional Turkish coffee. Derived from the Arabica bean, Turkish coffee is a very fine, powder-like grind. An aromatic spice called cardamom is sometimes added to the coffee while it is being ground. One can also boil whole seeds with the coffee and let them float to the top when served. Turkish coffee has various levels of sweetness ranging from bitter to very sweet. Because sugar is not added to the coffee after it is served, spoons are not needed. As the coffee begins to heat, it begins to foam. A rule of the Turkish coffee ceremony dictates that if the foam is absent from the surface of the coffee, the host loses face. Turkish coffee is served hot from a special coffee pot called a cezve. Tradition states that after the guest has consumed the coffee and the cup is turned upside down on the saucer and allowed to cool, the hostess then performs a fortune reading from the coffee grounds remaining in the cup. Rich in tradition and flavour, Turkish coffee remains a favourite today, not only in Turkey, but also among discriminating coffee drinkers around the world

You can see related products at: Turkish Coffee, Tea & Spice Sets

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Mini Jazz Concert at Istanbul Metro

Is not it funny to listen to live jazz music while traveling with subway? Some lucky passangers of Istanbul’s metro experienced this feel.

BUMK Jazz Choral Society members (Bogazici Universitesi Muzik Klubu, Bosphorus University Music Club) had prepared an enjoyable suprise to people who was traveling with Istnabul’s metro. During the travel time of  two stations, sudenly they started to sign a Jazz music.

Here is this funny video, enjoy it…

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Turkish Tea

Apple Tea Set
Another apple tea set, ready for boiling
A Glass of Tea
Special Turkish design glass filled with tea, ready for drinkig
Turkish Tea
Black Turkish Tea grown without utilizing pesticides, so it is pure natural
Apple Tea Set
In Turkey, anytime is tea time! Our traditional apple tea is caffeine-free, and enjoyable from morning to midnight

It is hard to imagine breakfasts, social gatherings, business meetings, negotiations for carpets in the Grand Bazaar, or ferry rides across the Bosphorus in Turkey without the presence of tea. With tea servers in streets, shopping malls, and parks shouting, “ÇAY!” (chai) the beverage is always within shouting distance. It is fundamental to Turkish social life and plays a large role in Turkey’s domestic economy. Tea in Turkish Social Life Although tea passed through Turkey as part of the Silk Road trade in the 1500s, it did not begin to become a part of daily life until nearly four centuries later. In 1878 Mehmet Izzet, the then governor of Adana, published the Çay RişŸalesi (Tea Pamphlet), touting the health benefits of drinking tea. Although coffee was still the preferred hot beverage during this period, the consumption of tea began to spread as tea houses opened in the Sultanahmet area of Istanbul. Also, tea became a cheaper alternative to coffee; one could purchase four glasses of tea for the price of one cup of coffee.

Today, Turks have one of the highest per capita consumption rates of tea, averaging about 1,000 cups per year. This high rate owes itself to the availability of places to consume tea, social customs and traditions, and domestic production along the Eastern Black Sea coast. Travel to any town in Turkey and you are sure to find a tea house or a tea garden. In smaller towns and rural areas, tea houses are the preferred social hub where news and gossip are exchanged. In the larger cities and touristy regions, tea houses welcome the young and old, as well as many foreigners. Tea gardens, another social venue for drinking tea, gained popularity in the 1950s, especially in Istanbul, and were the place where families went for their social outings. It is important to note that the Turkish tea garden is very different from a Japanese tea garden. Whereas the latter is quiet and serene and was developed in conjunction with the Japanese tea ceremony, Turkish tea gardens are hubs of social activity with kids running around, music playing, and lively conversation among various groups from students, to businessmen to retirees and foreigners. In the rural areas of Turkey, tea takes center stage at social events. A Turkish Bridal Shower, sometimes referred to as a gelin hamami because it is held in a Turkish bath, involves taking samovars of tea and pastries for all to enjoy. Five o’clock tea time is also observed in Turkey, particularly among house wives. Preparation and serving Turks prepare tea using a double tea pot. Water is boiled in the lower (larger) pot and the loose-leaf tea is steeped in the top (smaller) pot. This method allows each person to drink the tea as they desire: strong and steeped, or light with lots of water added. In central Anatolian towns such as Amasya, and in Eastern Turkey, tea is prepared in a samovar. Turks prefer to drink tea in small tulip-shaped glasses. Though the origins of this shape are not known, the clear glass allows the drinker to appreciate the crimson color of the tea. The tea glass is so important in Turkish life it is used as a measurement in recipes. As you pass tea gardens and tea houses you will hear the clinking of tiny tea spoons in the tea glasses. In large cities like Istanbul, and the capital Ankara, tea may be served in porcelain cups and mugs as in England and the United States, but the small tea-glass is by far the container of choice. Generally, two small sugar cubes will accompany tea that is served in public. In Erzurum and other towns in Eastern Turkey, tea is taken in the “KITLAMA” style, where a lump of sugar is placed between the tongue and cheek. Turks never add milk to their tea; sometimes lemon may be preferred Production Turkey’s serious attempts at cultivating tea began in 1917 in the Eastern Black Sea town of Rize. However, due the Turkish War for Independence, it was difficult for the Government-appointed agricultural engineers to gain the residents’ support, which was critical to the endeavor’s success. In 1924 the Government passed a law stating that tea, oranges, and filberts would be raised in Rize. However, it was not until the mid- to late-1930s that the Government placed a strong emphasis on cultivating tea. The first large scale cultivation occurred in 1937 when 20 tons of seeds were brought from Batum in the Georgian Republic, and planted at the central green house in Rize, yielding 30 kilos of tea.

Tea cultivation began to spread and become an inextricable part of economic life along the Eastern Black Sea Coast, so much so that towns began to change their names to have the word “Çay” in them: the town of Mapavri became Çayeli and Kadahor became Çaykara. By 1965, the production of tea had satisfied the domestic market and Turkey began to export its tea. Çay-Kur, the Directorate of Tea Establishments was founded in 1971 to coordinate both the cultivation and processing of tea, and in 1973 it went into active operation. Çay-Kur aimed to expand tea cultivation, stay abreast of innovations in tea processing technology, and import and export tea as necessary. Çay-Kur enjoyed a monopoly over Turkish tea until 1984, when tea processing and packaging were opened to private enterprise. Today, Turkey is the world’s fifth largest producer of tea, behind India, China, Kenya and Sri Lanka. Along Turkey’s Eastern Black Sea Coast tea bushes stretch from the border with the Georgian Republic to the town of Rize, Turkey’s ‘tea capital’, and extend farther westward toward Trabzon. Over 200,000 families are involved in the cultivation of tea either as owners of tea “plantations”, sharecroppers, or employees in the nearly 300 tea producing factories. All tea is produced from the same plant, Camellia Sinensis; it is the amount of fermentation that determines whether the tea turns out to be black, oolong (semi-fermented) or green (unfermented). A unique feature of Turkish tea is that no chemical substances or additives are used in the production process. Although black, loose-leaf tea is preferred in Turkey, green tea is slowly gaining in popularity due to its health benefits.

You can see related products at: Turkish Coffee, Tea & Spice Sets

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Basilica Cistern

Path Way
There is a path way for tourists to travel
Floor of The Basilica Cistern
The floor of the cistern is always filled with water
There are 336 marble columns
General View
General view of the Basilica Cistern
Basilica Cistern Columns
Columns of the cistern and the path-way
Medusa Head
One of the two Medusa Head pillar
Medusa Head
Two of medusa head pillar
Marble Columns
Hen's Eye, slanted braches, and tears..

Taking visitors to the tranquil depths of Istanbul, the Basilica Cistern is the city’s largest covered reservoir. Built in 532 AD on the site of a great basilica, the Basilica Cistern once supplied water to nearby palaces such as the Great Palace of Constantinople and Topkapi Palace.

Also known as the Sunken Palace, the underground site takes up 9,800m2 and has the capacity to store up to 100, 000 tons of water. The water which fed the Cistern came through a viaduct, which connected the source of supply at Belgrade Forest to the Basilica Cistern, a distance of about 19km. Five meter thick walls surround the Cistern and are specially coated to ensure waterproofing.

Its domed ceilings are held up by intricately designed marble and granite columns which vary in style between Corinthian, Doric and Ionic. There are 336 columns in all, arranged in 12 rows of 28 columns.

There are two columns of particular interest at the Basilica Cistern; those bearing the head of Medusa. Medusa is a female monster from Greek mythology with hair made of snakes, which is said to have turned those who looked at her into stone. She was beheaded by the hero Perseus who then gave her head to Athena to use as a weapon on the top of her shield as a way of averting evil.

 Medusa’s upside down head is found on the base of one column. There are various theories surrounding why her head was placed upside down, but many believe that it was done to ward off evil spirits.

Next to the upside down head is another head depicting Medusa which has been placed sideways. Why the two heads were placed in different directions has only served to deepen the mystery, but some think that placing the heads in the same direction would give rise to evil forces.

Massive restoration was required to make the Basilica Cistern as visitor-friendly as it is today. In 1985, 50,000 tons of mud was removed from the site and walking platforms were constructed; in 1994, another revamp was carried out.

Now, visitors can stroll along the platforms and watch resident goldfish swim in the Cistern’s cool waters. The Basilica Cistern also houses its own candlelit café, where soft lighting and classical music contributes to the overall atmosphere of the place.

Nowadays, Basilica Cistern has gained another fame in people who like to read the novels of Dan Brown. At his last book named with “Inferno”, Bailica Cistern is one of the fantastic places which usually hide clues of a secret.

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Ayasofya (Haghia Sophia) Museum

Angle picture in the historic museum
Inside View
Inner panoramic view of the Hagia Sophia museum
Central dome candles of the museum
General View
South inlet panoramic view of the Hagia Sophia
Inlay Mosaic
Virgin and Child flanked by Justinian-I and Constantine-I
Hagia Sophia Museum
Panoramic view of Hagia Sophia Museum

Haghia Sophia Museum is located in Sultanahmet across from Sultan Ahmed Mosque. Considered one of the finest architectural works in the world, it was originally built as a church. Construction began during the reign of the Byzantine Emperor Constantine 1, but was only completed in AD 360 during the reign of Constantine II.

The first Haghia Sophia was partially burnt during an uprising. It was repaired by Theodosius II and opened to worship in 415, but was burned to the ground during another public uprising in 532.After the revolts, Emperor Justinian determined to build an unparalleled place of worship and entrusted two architect-engineers from Anatolia, Isidoros and Anthemios, with the task. Building materials were brought in from all the Mediterranean countries. In addition, the columns of a number of Pagan temples in Anatolia, including the Temple of Artemis, were dismantled and used in the building. The construction lasted five years, and Haghia Sophia was once again open to worship. The structure standing today is that which was built as a church by Justinian. Haghia Sophia was occasionally damaged, but was repaired and additions were built. Despite the changes, its essence remains untouched.

Haghia Sophia experienced its darkest days during the Latin occupation, it was looted, damaged and a number of its valuable furnishings were removed and taken to the churches of Europe. When the city once again passed into the control of the Byzantines, the church was in terrible condition. Using limited resources, efforts were made to restore it. It was then badly damaged in the earthquake of 1344 in which parts of it, including a section of the dome, collapsed. The increasingly impoverished Byzantines were unable to repair it and it remained closed for a period. Through the levy of special taxes and collection of donations, the church was once again repaired in 1354. Despite these efforts, Haghia Sophia was not to return to its full glory after the Latin occupation until the conquest of Istanbul. Immediately following the conquest of the city, Sultan Mehmed the Conqueror went directly to Haghia Sophia. But it was in ruins. He decided on that day to convert the church to a mosque, and thus a new period began for Haghia Sophia.

From the first day it became a mosque, Haghia Sophia became a place of enormous significance for Muslims living within the borders of the Ottoman Empire, as well as others. For hundreds of years it has symbolized and been a reminder of the conquest of Istanbul.

The Conqueror created various pious foundations with the aim of ensuring revenue and constructed a mihrab (mosque niche), minaret and medrese. Haghia Sophia was shown special attention after the conquest, and the additions built on its grounds turned it into a great ‘kulliye’ or religious complex. One minaret was added by Sultan Beyazit II and a second by Sultan Selim II. Sultan Mahmud I added a reservoir for ablutions, a primary school, a soup kitchen, a library, a chamber for sultans and a mosque niche. The mosaics were completely plastered over, previously, only the faces had been covered. During this period a number of sultans and members of royalty were buried in the complex. They include: Sultan Selim II, Sultan Murad III, Sultan Mehmed III, Sultan Mustafa I and Sultan İbrahim. Haghia Sophia underwent minor repairs during the Republican period, but was left relatively alone during the war years. American scientists obtained permission from the Turkish government to uncover the mosaics in 1932. While these works were underway, Haghia Sophia was changed to a museum in 1934 and opened to the public in 1935. Haghia Sophia presently functions as a museum.

The dome of the Haghia Sophia, believed to represent the infinity of the cosmos, is most impressive. To think that this dome was built in the 530s contributes even more to the importance of the mosque. Despite being damaged, the mosaics found within Haghia Sophia are among the most precious in the world. The additions of the Ottomans, far from spoiling its original beauty, have only reinforced its magnificence. The calligraphies, on plates 7.5 meters in diameter, the stone work, which gives it a lace-like appearance, and the glazed tiles are all priceless. The primary school, tombs, fountains and reservoir which make up the complex are also of major significance from an architectural standpoint.

Nowadays, Hiaghia Sophia has also gained interest from readers of Dan Brown who is the famous author of the worldwide best-seller “The Da Vinci Code”. At his last novel named with “Inferno” begins in Italy’s Florence, then moves on to Sienna and ends in Istanbul, with approximately 100 pages devoted to ancient sites in Sultanahmet including Hagia Sophia, the Basilica Cistern, the Galata Tower and the Spice Bazaar.

Ever since the novel’s release, Istanbul’s appeal and draw to the writer has been mentioned regularly in the world press. “Inferno picks three of the world’s most strategically significant, antiquity-rich cities as its settings, and Langdon makes a splendid tour guide and art critic throughout,” writes The New York Times.

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The Art of Turkish Textiles

Turkish Pillow
Tarditional pattern, maden of silk
Turkish Pillow
Colourfull patterns, hand made, silk and cutton are used
Silk Suzani Pillow Cover
Maden of silk, back has cotton cover with a zipper in the center
Silk Suzani Cushion Cover
Embroideries are made of silk and have very fine workmanship
Silk Suzani Pillow Cover
Tarditional pillow cover of Anatolia

Turkish fabrics are unique in weaving features, materials used and designs reflecting Turkish taste. Research on the subject identified about six hundred and fifty names such as Kadife, Atlas, Gezi, Canfes, Selimiye, Hatayi, Catma, Seraser, Sevayi, etc. The main material was silk with gold and silver threads, rich in motifs such as flowers (tulips, carnations, roses, spring blossom, and hyacinth), trees (apple, date palm, cypress), animals (peacock, deer), crescent moon, star motifs, fruit (pomegranate, apple, date, artichoke, pineapple), etc.

silk-suzani-pillow-cover-1_0An excellent reference on the subject is “The Art of Turkish Weaving”, by Nevber Gurusu, Redhouse, Istanbul, 1988 with an extended list of additional resources.The geographical situation of Ottoman territory has always made it a natural trade route for merchants plying between the East and West, and from the very earliest times Bursa has remained a lively centre of trade and commerce. Textiles were given great importance in the Ottoman court and were registered as belonging to the treasury. The demand by members of the court for luxury fabrics was an influential factor in the increase in production and rise in quality. It was from the Palace that all the arts were orientated and retained under the control of a single centre. The principles to be obeyed by all groups of tradesmen were contained in the regulations in the Bursa, Edirne and Istanbul laws governing trades and markets ((Ihtisab kanunameleri) of 1502. A very large section of these laws applied to weavers, and to silk weavers in particular. The methods and the standards to be applied in obtaining the raw material, in spinning the thread and dyeing the material were clearly laid down. The number and weight of the warp threads, the main factors by which the quality of the fabric was determined, were also clearly established. Craftsmen failing to comply with the required standards were liable to punishment. Moreover, the gold and silver threads used in textiles had to be drawn in workshops (simikeshaneler) under direct state control and bear the official control seal. The state was responsible for pressing the cloth after it had been removed from the loom. The cloth was finally measured, its length checked and stamped, and permission was given for its sale. All this was carried out by officials (muhtesip) under state supervision. The state was also assisted in this work by the control exercised by the guilds over their own members. There can be no doubt that these various controls provided the basis for the excellence achieved in 16th century fabrics.


Textiles were divided into three categories-cotton, wool and silk. Although a great deal of cotton was produced in Anatolia, it was not sufficient to meet the demand and cotton was also imported from the East, India in particular. The same applied to wool supplies. Broadcloth was manufactured in Salonica from the 15th century onwards, but as this was used in both civilian clothes and military uniforms local supplies proved insufficient and cloth always had to be imported from western countries such as France, England, Italy, Holland and Hungary. On the other hand, the mohair produced from the 16th-17th centuries onwards in the Ankara region, a type of cloth that was always very eagerly sought after, not only satisfied the local demand but was also exported in very large quantities. An inferior type of cloth of rather cheap affinity to European serge, was very popular among the common people. Silk is a costly fabric which requires a great silk-suzani-pillow-cover-1-1_0deal of labour, the raw materials for which are very difficult to obtain. There is documentary evidence to prove that the silkworm was being cultivated in Bursa and the surrounding countryside long before the arrival of the Ottomans. Bursa was thus an important commercial centre in which silk thread was both produced and woven in quantities sufficient to meet the requirements of both the domestic and foreign markets. Bursa was the most important of all the centres of the silk-weaving industry, including Istanbul. The main types of silk fabric can be classified as taffetas, satin velvets, brocades, kemhas, dibas and serasers. Among other types of more lightly woven silks canfes (a fine taffeta) and burumcuk (a kind of silk crepe) may be cited.The Turks were superior in weaving of silk fabrics, in which the colours, motifs and compositions employed resulted in productions of quite incredible beauty. The favourite colour was a dark crimson known as guvezi. This colour was used mainly as a ground, in perfect harmony with the blues, creams, greens and black fibres with which it was woven. An incredible harmony was produced between strongly contrasting colours. Turkish designs are most clearly distinguished from Iranian in particular by the sharp contours and ornamental patterns around the motifs . Natural motifs such as tulips, carnations, hyacinths, roses, hatayis, pomegranate blossoms, spring blossoms, pine cones, the sun, the moon, clouds and stars are naturalistically rendered and clearly-recognizable, creating a very lively and attractive composition. The brocade cushion covers of the 16th-17th centuries and the 18th century embroidered cushions displaying the same designs arouse the interest and admiration of all who see them. As many varieties of silk fabrics as possible are displayed in both the permanent and temporary exhibitions at Topkapi Saray. The exhibits are selected mainly from the collections of catmas, silk velvets, serasers, serenks, satins, velvets, kutnus, canfeses and burumcuks. Catma is a kind of velvet fabric with a double ground and raised design. In the 16th century the fame of Bursa catmas spread far beyond the confines of the Empire, Although a very costly fabric, it was in great demand in foreign markets and was one of Bursa’s most important exports. It was also very popular on the domestic market and occupied an important place among the gifts presented to foreign heads of state by envoys and ambassadors. This is the reason for the large number of catma cushion covers in European and American museums. The Ottoman kemha fabric known to westerners as “brocade”, was also very popular abroad. It was a silk fabric with a double ground very often with an admixture of wire thread. In the 16th century, orders were placed for this type of fabric for use in papal robes and the ceremonial apparel worn by the imperial entourage. Papal costumes made from Ottoman brocades are found in museums and church treasuries. There were large numbers of kemha and catma weaving workshops in both Istanbul and Bursa, and a plan of a workshop specializing in the production of these particular fabrics is found in the palace archives. From the 17th century onwards, Ottoman art began to reveal a growing Western influence. This period is characterized by compositions consisting of large and small fan-shaped carnations and sprays of flowers covering the whole of the surface.

You can see related products at:  Turkish Pillow Covers

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