Tuesday, June 19, 2012


Say what you will about Turkey, but the place has some awesome shopping opportunities. Right off base in the Alley, there are many merchants who are all to eager to sell. And if you feel adventurous and go further into Old Adana, you can get even better deals. If you ever find yourself in Istanbul, the Grand Bazaar is a shoppers paradise-literally miles and miles of storefronts offering lamps, rugs, clothing, jewelry, accessories...really anything you can imagine. It was quite overwhelming to a non-shopper like myself.

 We waited a very long time to make any purchases, but once the ball got rolling, it was hard to stop! What are we coming home with? See below......

I really don't know anyone who doesn't buy at least one while here.  Most people buy several.  You would be crazy not too, really.  If you attend a carpet party off base at one of the shops, they will feed you dinner and give you an education about the different types of rugs, how they differ by region and even village to village, and the different materials and dyes used.

  Of course, the machine made rugs are cheaper and most like what you would find in the States, only much cheaper.  My mother in law and her friend each got a good sized machine made rug for under $400....a steal!!  By contrast, we went to a carpet store in Cappadocia with my mom where they had a handmade rug available for...wait for it........$62,000!!!!!  So, there is a lot of variety out there.  

  After 2 years here and much research and shopping, we were finally ready to buy.  We ended up with 3 rugs, all handmade.  One runner, one 5x7 and one 6x9.  I am extremely happy.  They are beautiful.  All of them are handmade using silk and wool with natural vegetable dyes.  Because of the dye and materials used, they actually change color depending on the light and the angle from which they are viewed!

Below is an image of a handmade Oushak (our rug type) that has similar colors to one of ours.  I can't wait to display them in our new home!!  To check out more pictures, search "Uzbek Carpets" on facebook.  Esref has pictures of his carpet selection that are a good example of what you might find here.

I just recently discovered these Turkish mosaic lamps.  Several of my friends had them in their homes here, and I always noticed how beautiful and unique they looked.  Apparently, they are a pretty famous Turkish export, that again, we can get very cheaply here.  I ended up with 2 smaller table lamps that i think will look awesome in our house in DC.

Oh ladies!!  Let me tell you, the pashminas are wonderful!!! A man in the Alley sells them for $10 here.  He also exports the same thing to be sold at Neiman Marcus for over $100!!!  Again, you would be crazy to live here for any amount of time and not purchase at least a couple.  I think my grand total was 4, but I have many friends with whole closets full of them.  Wonderful!!

Other than the rugs, this was the thing that I heard about the most before coming here.  The furniture stores in the Alley will make you just about anything for a fraction of what it would cost you Stateside.  I know I sound like a broken record, but you would be crazy not to take advantage.  I don't know anyone who didn't get at least one thing made.  Most folks I know got completely new furniture sets in every room while here. You can simply take them a picture of what you like, and they will make you something identical (or very similar).  I took them pictures from Pottery Barn and got a TV console, bookcases, a bar (for Ryan...don't get me started), a chair recovered, an ottoman/coffee table and a computer desk.  All of this for around $1500.  Crazy cheap.  If you are curious, look up "Aydin's Furniture" on facebook.  He posts pictures frequently of what he's created.

Our leather ottoman that can be converted to a coffee table that is hollow inside for extra storage!

Our computer desk...before knobs were added.
This one was completely Ryan, and was actually done within the first year of our time here.  Turkey is apparently famous for something called Huglu Shotguns.  So Ryan got one.  As did my dad.  They make the gun to your specifications and Ryan was pleased.  It is waiting for us in Alabama.

I'd say we have done pretty well for ourselves!!

1 comment:

  1. Let's see...Rugs? We're working on it. Pashminas? Check. Lamps? Working on it. Furniture? Check.