Tag Archives: kutahya

Day 5: Diversion to Bursa

Original Door Canvas at Great Mosque

I travelled from Kutahya to Bursa and then back to Istanbul. The city was originally called Prusa and named after its founder Prusias who founded the city in the 2nd century BC to honour Hannibal, King of Carthage. Hannibal together with his soldiers sought refuge with Prusias after losing a final battle with Rome.

Bursa is a bustling city where new and old mix quite amicably. We visited the Ulu Cami (Great Mosque) which has the original 14th century door canvas displayed on a wall and has an ablution pool cum fountain within the building.

The antique bazaar is actually about six shops and not worth the effort but the silk caravanserai (Kozahan) is impressive. I found gorgeous silk fabric with traditional Iznik patterns that is now part of the Arastan collection.

This is also home to Turkey’s chestnut production and I managed to meet one of the larger exporters …

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Day 4: Kutahya – Ceramics and Chicken Soup!

Potter at Work

I travelled to Kutahya which is the centre of ceramic and porcelain production in Turkey. The town has a long history with the Ottomans taking control in 1428. Tile workers from Tabriz in Iran were resettled here and in Iznik in 1514 and it became the centre for the Ottoman ceramic industry.

While there are large factories producing porcelain (I was reliably informed that the industry is controlled by one family who are amongst the richest in Turkey), ceramic work is done in small unsigned studios. Each studio supplies its wares to specific customers and I got to see three different ones. There is production line precision to the entire process (with specialist potters, painters and kilns) but what remains is the freehand painting done by the artists. Magical to watch and stunning when completed! I particularly like the traditional iznik pattern tile panels (there is something about those tulips …

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