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Turkish Souvenirs: Istanbul Ceramic

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We’ve been looking forward to doing this post for some time for a couple of reasons.

The first reason is because of the visual effect – I’m a sucker for mixed, vivid colours.

The second is because all these mixed, vivid colours spill from our friend’s shop in Kapalı Çarşısı (known as the Grand Bazaar or Covered Bazaar) in Istanbul.

Traditional Turkish Ceramics
Colourful Turkish ceramics in Istanbul

People who know Fethiye well will remember Necmi as the owner of the silver shop, opposite Deep Blue Bar in Paspatur.

A couple of years back, he decided Istanbul was the city for him, and he and his family packed up and left for a new future in this most beautiful of cities.

Traditional Ceramics, Istanbul
Which would you choose?

He now owns a business in one of the most famous, historic shopping centres in the world, selling one of Turkey’s most famous souvenirs; hand-painted ceramics from Turkey’s ceramic capital, Kütahya.

All are inspired by the historic ceramics produced in Iznik and Kütahya from the 14th Century onwards. They were highly prized by the Ottoman sultans.

Whenever we go to Istanbul now, woe betide if we don’t squash in a little visit to catch up with Necmi.

Of course, trying to hunt him down in the maze of streets that make up the Grand Bazaar is a challenge itself. And, when we went to see him in October, we gave up and phoned him. ‘Stay where you are. I’m coming to get you,’ was the reply.

Easy when you know how; he was at our side within seconds.

Blue Ceramics, Istanbul
The blue collection is my favourite

When we lived in England, we had a few of these hand-painted plates and bowls that we’d brought back as souvenirs of our holidays in Turkey.

Now we live here, we have yet to purchase any. But we do intend to change that. My favourites are the blue-coloured plates and vases in the photo above.

Of course these days, you can buy these famous Turkish souvenirs in all manner of shapes and sizes and Necmi’s business, Istanbul Ceramic, sells hand-painted ceramics to suit all budgets.

Anything from cheap fridge magnets, right up to beautiful, intricately painted floor vases coming in at eye-watering prices.

Of course, if you were to purchase one of those, we’re sure you’d get the fridge magnet thrown in for free!

  • Istanbul Seramik is on Çadırcılar Caddesi, Lütfullah Sokak (near the Lütfullah Gate) in Istanbul’s Grand Bazaar
  • If you’re not in Turkey but would like to purchase ceramics, you can view the Istanbul Ceramic website
  • And if you know Necmi from Fethiye and happen to be in Istanbul any time, he’d love you to drop in to say hello and drink a çay or three.

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Tuesday 26th of April 2016

Hi just wanted to knw is there anyway for me to purchase those ceramic plates online ? Thks

Turkey's For Life

Sunday 1st of May 2016

Hi Izam, sorry for the delay in replying. We've given a link to the Istanbul Ceramic website in the information at the bottom. You can order online from there.

April Ozbilgin

Thursday 20th of June 2013

Very beautiful! One of my favorite things to do when I lived in Istanbul was to go by train from Yesilyurt to Sirkeci and walk downtown and browse all the shops! Thanks for bringing back some memories!

Turkey's For Life

Wednesday 10th of June 2015

Something never to get tired of, April. We love to browse. Hardly ever buy anything but browsing is fun. :)

Turkey's For Life

Friday 24th of February 2012

@ Paula: Wow, thanks for taking the time to comment on the blog. Can't believe you managed to find Necmi's shop. We always get lost!:) Glad you got a discount from them. We have kind friends! ;)


Friday 24th of February 2012

Many thanks for your tips. We went to te Necmi shop as you suggested and they were all very nice, when I mentione your name and site they gave us a discount. But they are pretty much whole sale. I had a feeling they are not very keen on retail as their price is bit higher than the other shops. However, much easier to choose as they have more variety of the better quality items. Many thanks for the tips!!! Lol Paula s.

Turkey's For Life

Thursday 23rd of February 2012

@ Anjuli: Yes, very similar patterns to North African and Middle Eastern ceramics. Also similar to Chinese colours as the Ottomans loved the Chinese porcelain that came to the palaces along the silk route.

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