Türkiye, specifically, Istanbul, is at the crossroad of Europe, Asia and the Middle East. I remember way back in 1974 visiting the Turkish baths, Grand bazar, Mosques and cruising the Bosphorus drinking Turkish coffee (delicious coffee flavoured mud) as an 11 year old. We have been back a couple of times since, during the Gulf War and more recently a day trip to Bodrum whilst visiting friends on Nisyros, a Greek island very close to the Turkish coast. This trip was to Istanbul alone to reconnect and find some artisans in what is a very beautiful city.
Türkiye is known for its rugs and carpets and indeed we wanted to find some sources and ideally, some local artisans making things that reflect the beauty and depth of Turkish culture. A big task! However, clocking up 30,000 steps a day and in directions away from where tourists rightly flock (Hagia Sophia Mosque, Basilica Cistern, Topkapi Place, Suleymaniye Mosque, Grand Bazaar) we were able to find exactly what we wanted.
After a lot of walking around beautiful inner city Istanbul in the pouring rain, we managed to find a some great pieces for Insolita including a local artisan making unique little ceramic sculptures of Dervishes (as in the renowned Sufi Muslim Whirling dervish that dance to reach a state of enlightenment). Also so glad we found Yakub sourcing beautiful rugs and kilims throughout the regions, repairing those that can be salvaged and repurposing those beyond repair into absolutely stunning cushions - a woven history that can live on.
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