Lunch, on this beautiful Tuesday, was in Avanos at a local, built-to-look-original caravanserai restaurant called Hanedan. I tried a local pastry of pastrami and cheese (called Paçanga Böreği, I think) and washed it down with some cherry nectar. The building was very impressive, however I was more taken with their beautiful pottery (a little taste of what was to come later in the day)!
Our next stop was the Zelve Valley (Zelve Open Air Museum) with it's mushroom-looking rock formations. Known as Hoodoos (or Fairy Chimneys here in Turkey), they "once housed one of the largest communities in the region in an amazing cave town, honeycombed with dwellings, religious and secular chambers." Even their police station is in a rock!
|Unfortunately, the police officer standing in the doorway|
went back inside seconds before I snapped the picture...
He must have been camera shy.
Our final stop of the day was at Ömürlü Seramik, where they have been making pottery since 1807 (or so their sign claims). Oh my word, the carpets were amazing, but the pottery was even more spectacular, in my opinion anyway. The history of pottery in this region dates back to the Hittites. According to their website: "Avanos has now become a place where the Turkish art of ceramic tile making, inherited from the Seljuks, and improving with the Ottomans, continued to be kept alive, in this city along the banks of the longest river of Turkey, Kızılırmak." The river is known for its red clay, which has been used by many generations of potters. This ceramics company has about 45 Master Artists and we had a demonstration of pottery made on the ancient kick-wheel and then proceeded to their spectacular showroom.
The potter was making a Hittite Wine Jug, it was rather fascinating to watch how it is formed.
Sadly for me, even their small pieces were over $500 (US); not that I needed any pottery, but their works were captivating and I found nearly every piece to be stunning.
Since I was not shopping I decided to treat the show room as an art museum, and it certainly did not disappoint. They have samples of historic, contemporary, geometric, phosphorescent, and floral designs. A nice young man chatted with me about the various pieces and designs as I wandered around (knowing full well I was not going to buy anything most of the other salesmen had moved on). A few people bought pieces and with that the day was spectacularly book-ended and we returned to our hotel.