Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Turkish Carpets

At the end of our two-day tour to Troy and Gallipoli, our tour guide, Mr. G, asked if we wanted to see a carpet demonstration.  Of course our group did!  We went to this very nice shop where they explained how carpets are made and the differences between silk, wool, and cotton carpets.  The demonstrator was wonderful and taught us a lot about this traditional art.

This woman is working on a silk carpet.  It will take about 4 years
to complete this carpet.  The women who work on these carpets are specially
trained to do this detailed work.  You can see she is following the pattern above.
Several women will work on this carpet, as they can only work for 15 minutes at
a time due to the challenging work.  They get an hour break in between
each work session.

Beautiful silk rug

Trimming the knotted silk.  In a silk carpet, there are over 1,000 knots
in a square centimeter. 

Want to know how to tell the difference between a hand made and
machine made carpet?  When you walk from one side to the other,
the colours will change.  Like this....

Same carpet - from the other direction

My small - but fabulous - Turkish rug!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Tea in Istanbul

Time and time again, Katrina and I would be asked to tea by people we didn't even know.  They told us repeatedly that they viewed us as their guests and they wanted to welcome us into their homes or shops to get to know us better.  We met some wonderful, kind, and generous people through our random teas in Istanbul. We also had tea on our own too, but it was nice to get to know some people and learn about their city from them over a cup of fabulous Turkish tea.

Turkish tea is very strong!  The bottom pot is hot water
while the top pot is the strong tea.  You fill the glass about 1/3 with
tea and then the rest with hot water.  It is wonderful!

Turkish Tea and Coffee
Both are very strong!  Turkish coffee is brewed with sugar and is thus
almost syrupy, but not too sweet.  It has the grounds in it, so
you have to be careful at the end of a cup.

You can literally buy tea anywhere.  This guy walks through the markets
selling tea to the store owners.  I love that it is ALWAYS served in
a glass with saucer - no paper here!

One new friend - the leather store owner

Our hostel friend

Random guys enjoying a tea together in the sun

Love this couple!

More random guys having tea

Apple Tea by the Yeni Mosque

Monday, April 18, 2011

Topkapi Palace - Istanbul

The Topkapi Palace was the sultan's palace from 1465 - 1853.  This massive complex was designed for state functions and to entertain nobility.  It is absolutely mind boggling how large the complex is.  In addition to the vastness of the palace, the level of detail in the design and decoration of the palace was amazing.  The beautiful tile work was exquisite and truly breathtaking.
Guard Station

Palace walls

Inside the church that is now a museum

Mosaic inside the church

Palace entrance

Palace grounds


Where the women lived

One of my favorite spaces to visit was where some artifacts from the prophets of Islam are located.  No pictures were allowed in this space but we saw their swords and even someone's saucepan that was over 2000 years old.  Incredible!  It is still mind boggling for me to see things that are this old, as my concept of old is just a few hundred years old from growing up in the US.  Even having the privilege of traveling to Europe so often as a kid, old is several hundred years old to me - several thousand years old is just incomprehensible.