Suzanne and Dennis Italy/Turkey Trip 2013 travel blog

Grandkids Vivian, Carson and Verity

Pictures of the marketplace

The Kilim we purchased in Denizli


Andy escorted us into the main Denizli market this morning to meet with a rug dealer that he knows. The market is big and lots of narrow winding paths. It seems very easy to get lost so it is a blessing to have him guiding us. On our way through the market, Andy introduces us to several Turkish treats. The first place we stop is a candy shop that sells the very popular Turkish delight candies. We sample several and purchase a mixed box to take back as a gift. The candy itself reminds us of gummy bears in terms of texture. Pomegranate and pistachios are widely used here in sweets because of their availability, and the pistachio flavored Turkish Delight is my favorite of the ones we tasted. We also get a serving of Halva, which is a mixture made from semolina and sesame seeds, and served on top of ice cream. Very delicious; reminds us a little bit of sweet peanut butter with a texture similar to oatmeal or cream of wheat.

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Spent some time looking through rugs and decided that a kilim (pronounced "kill em") is what we want rather than a Persian style carpet. The flatweave of the kilim fits better with our house and I love the tribal designs in the rugs. The colors are vibrant and beautiful. With Andy as our interpreter, we are able to select a favorite. All the rugs are old and imperfect, some with large holes or torn places. The one we select has a couple of small holes that need to be rewoven. So we leave the rug with the dealer for cleaning and the small repairs that need to be made.

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Just a bit of history that we learned about the Kilim rugs. Kilims have become very popular recently and the desire by tourists and designers to purchase them has escalated their price quite a bit. Historically, they were woven by hand in villages and used to cover the floors of rural homes as a cheap alternative to purchasing a finer rug. They were also used to wrap fine Persian carpets for shipment. So if you ordered a Persian carpet and had it shipped, it would arrive wrapped in a kilim for protection. The Kilims were of such low value that they were used as packaging material. Now that popularity has increased, they are being brought in by dealers who acquire them typically from family estates or trade for them in villages. I believe Andy said the one we purchased is about 50 years old.

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In the evening, we join Andy and Erica at their weekly fellowship meeting where they meet with other Christian couples in the city. Generally speaking, Turkey has religious freedom although it is predominantly Muslim. Andy and Erica have made many Turkish friends and acquaintances here and they are well received and well treated. Everyone we meet is very nice. Andy has shared a few stories with us about a handful of people who have been hostile - not so much to their Christianity, but more to them being Americans - but it is rare. There is suspicion of Americans in general, probably due to the long history of Turkish occupation by colonial powers.



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