"Turkish souvenirs: learn about an easy way to take care of all your friends and family back home."
After you have taken care of yourself when it comes to Kusadasi shopping and stocked up on Turkish rugs, leather, jewellery and ceramics (hopefully on one of the Ephesus shopping tours), it’s time to take care of all your friends and family!
One great thing about Turkish souvenirs you buy in Kusadasi is they will be very different from your regular Made In China souvenirs that you often pick up in other parts of the world. You know what we mean… they all look the same it’s just that the logo is different.
Another great thing is, when shopping here, you can take care of everyone… your sister’s newborn baby and your aunt Mabel, your co-workers and your next-door neighbour.
So what are some typical souvenirs from Turkey, what is Turkey famous for and what to buy in Turkey?
Of course, when you’re getting a Turkish rug for yourself, you will go with a nice wool or silk rug. But Turkish kilim rugs are a perfect gift for anyone back home that just bought their first home, someone who is redecorating an old one or even your kids who just moved to college and need something to personalize their dorm room with.
They are not just something made en masse the other day in a factory, and this fact will add to the value of your gift.
They come in different sizes and can be used in numerous ways: they can be thrown on the floor, used as sofa covers, hung up on the wall… another one of our favorites is old donkey grain/salt bags made in the kilim technique.
As they have two big pockets on them, we love to use them as newspaper/magazine/TV remote holders when thrown over the sofa or hung up on doors.
Find out more about what the difference is between a Turkish rug and a kilim in our article Turkish kilim rugs.
Also, watch this video on kilims by a reputable Istanbul merchant. He really nicely explains the colours and the mofifs symbolism...
Ready to book your rug or kilim buying shore excursion in Ephesus? Check the Best of Ephesus and shopping tour.
After you have raided the leather stores in Kusadasi for yourself, think of everyone back home: get a leather belt for your uncle, a wallet for your sister and knock-off logo bags for all the teenage girls in your family. They will love you for it!
As you walk through the labyrinth streets of Kusadasi, you will come across shops selling colourful packs of different spices and herbs.
From clove and cinnamon to turmeric, peppercorns, vanilla, lemon salt, mint, cumin, oregano, coriander and dill, they are a great gift for someone who loves to try out different aromas in their cooking.
Or it could even be a great gift for yourself, if you’re planning to invite your friends over for a Turkish night and dinner in honour of your new rug.
Turkish ceramics are mesmerizing: with their colours and rich ornamental motifs, no woman that loves home decorating can walk out of the store without getting at least one piece.
When shopping for yourself and your home it’s recommended you get museum quality plates, bowls or tiles. But when it comes to gifts and souvenirs, you can always get cheaper version ceramics, that the streets of Kusadasi are full of.
Your friends won’t really know the difference but will appreciate a gift that is so different from anything they can see back home.
Look at some real hand painted pottery being done...
Ready to book your pottera, leather and spices buying shore excursion in Ephesus? Check the Best of Ephesus and shopping tour.
In Turkey, sweets have been an important and distinctive element of Turkish cuisine since Ottoman times!
They also have an important social and ritual function.
For instance, Helva, a famous type of confection is offered on the occasion of major changes in peoples lives: a birth, a death, introduction into the army, settling into a new home, enrolling in and graduating from school etc.
Sweets are also connected with religious holidays: one of the most important Islamic holidays is the month of Ramadan, when no food or drinks are consumed after sunrise or before sunset! But, that’s why elaborate deserts are prepared to be had for the sundown meals!
If you have, as a kid read C.S. Lewis’ “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe” you will remember that it was Turkish Delight that The White Witch tempted Edmund with!
To find out more about it read our article What is Turkish Delight? and watch the video of a typical Turkish bazar where you can get hundreds of types of this sweet.
Along with Turkish coffee, Turkish apple tea could be called a national Turkish drink!
Just like offering a cup of coffee, offering a cup of apple tea is a sign of friendship and hospitality!
So, again, if you get offered a cup at a rug demonstration after your Ephesus tour in Kusadasi, accept the offer!
To learn more about what’s so special about it, read our article Turkish apple tea.
Whether it comes in the form of a charm, a fridge-magnet, a set of beads in a bracelet or combined with precious metals and stones, the evil eye is, contrary to its ominous name, the strongest good luck symbol not just in Turkey but in the whole of the Mediterranean!
Find out more about evil eye Turkish souvenirs in our article Turkish Evil Eye.
For someone living in the eastern Mediterranean area, Turkish coffee is an every day occurrence. That’s what is considered REAL coffee, as opposed to all these powdered instant coffees so often consumed in other parts of the world.
But when someone from the other part of the world comes to visit, for them, having a cup of this coffee can be quite a shock.
First of all, this coffee is very, very strong… second, they have no idea what to do with all this ground coffee that settles at the bottom of their cup.
But trust us, once you learn to appreciate the taste and authenticity of Turkish coffee, you won’t go back to that artificial stuff you might be drinking right now.
Getting coffee to make this kind of coffee isn’t a problem really anywhere you go in the world: it can be any Arabica coffee as long as it’s very finely ground.
But it’s important to have a real, preferably copper-made, Turkish coffee pot. You will have a chance to get one of them in most souvenir stores in Kusadasi.
To learn more about Turkish coffee, one of the most famous Turkish souvenirs, read our article How to Make Turkish Coffee or even better, watch the video below...
In Kusadasi, there are many shops inside the Kusadasi harbour area itself. However, shopping for turkish souvenirs inside the port is just like shopping inside the airport terminal. You need to get out to get the best deals.
Luckily, the cruise port is just across the street from the city centre and all the local shops and the Bazaar.
However, it can get a bit crazy out there with thousands of merchants trying to get your business. That is why I suggest getting on one of the Daily Ephesus tours and asking your tour guide to take you shopping after that.
They are best people to ask for the most reputable shops to get your Turkish souvenirs. And being some of the most hospitable people in the world, they will enjoy showing you exactly where to go.