Best Turkish Souvenirs, Traditional Gifts to Bring Home from Turkey

Turkish souvenir

I have always loved buying gifts, little gifts for friends or colleagues but above all for the family. Often when a trip strikes me particularly I buy them for myself or for my home. But actually many times I bought horrifying souvenirs, tarot cards, or not even really typical of the place where I was. Naive as a tourist! So I thought I’d give you this little guide to help you not to throw away your money, and to show you what’s worth buying, the real Made in Turkey!

The eye of the devil – Nazar boncugu. The amulet that protects you from the evil eye and negative influences. It is an object of pagan tradition, typically made by hand, in glass. The original one is blue with a white circle inside, one blue and one black. The eye of Allah is now more than two thousand years old and I find it to be the nicest souvenir to take home or to give as gifts; you can find it in a thousand sauces: bracelets, earrings, pendants, key rings, decorative objects, plates, or even printed on bags, cups, etc … Attention: when it breaks, don’t worry, it is a good omen as it means that the amulet he accomplished his task by protecting you.

Ceramics and porcelain. There are all kinds, mostly from Iznik and Kutahya. The Turks are world-wide competitors in this field. The style of the decorations derives mostly from the Ottoman tradition. I advise you to have them packed well with the necessary precautions for the journey and not to put them in the hold baggage but in the hand luggage if you want to get them to their destination intact!

Pipe. I love to give pipes. They are made of sepiolite, the famous sea foam, and carved. They are represented tuche vintage model heads and have the characteristic of absorbing the dirty air, so you can also give them to those who do not smoke, to be exhibited as a decorative craft item with a remarkable natural utility!

Okey. I must admit that I am a fan of this game, so much so that I also downloaded the application on the iPad. It’s a very nice game that with 30 TL you can easily buy and put in your checked luggage (it’s a bit bulky, but not heavy if you buy it in plastic). It is very similar to our Scala 40, but with tiles and stands, as in the  Scarabeo. Around the city you can find many Cafés with nice and typical Turks drinking cay, playing Okey and smoking hookahs. Stop and watch them play, they can go on for hours, then you will feel very Turkish!

Oriental textile: carpets, pillowcases, pashminas. Remembering that Turkey is the largest textile manufacturer in Europe, it is quite well known that the carpets here are famous and of quality. For the difficulties encountered in transporting carpets I prefer to give the special pillowcases I found here in Turkey. You can also find them made by hand, very attractive prices and so easy and light to carry! The pashminas never cease to go out of style, with us girls you always go safe and give them to us!

Baklava. In hand luggage and even in separate bags, I have always been able to transport them without great damage like honey scattered everywhere. Being at home in three hours, fresh Baklava from pastry is really hard to be appreciated and safe for even more formal situations!

Lokum. Another characteristic Turkish dessert. It is a sort of gummy jelly served in squares as if they were candy. It is made of starch and sugar and then flavored: lemon flavor, or mint, cinnamon, almond, spices and of course pistachio. You can find them in very cute packaging suitable for gifts, perfect to take to the office for colleagues. Just to understand, if you have traveled with Turkish Airlines, know that it is the first taste that they give you shortly after take-off!

Isot. The Spice Bazaar is definitely a tourist destination not to be missed, because it is really impressive; but did you know that it was born as a market for trade with India? For this reason and also because it is now extremely touristy, like the Grand Bazaar, you can find everything and more and not necessarily Made in Turkey products. So if you really want a spice, buy Isot. It is a sort of dark pepper typically originating from Urfa , a region of Turkey; it is not too spicy and is very appetizing with meat.

Turkish coffee and tea. More typical of these you can find nothing else. In my opinion it is useless to buy only coffee without its “macchinetta” and the same goes for tea , çay . Both are prepared in a different way from ours, and you will never get the same tastes tasted here in Turkey with our Italian machines, so you can also buy Turkish ones; besides being characteristic, it is also the best way to let you taste the real flavors that you too, thanks to this useful souvenir, will never forget.

Towels, soaps and horsehair gloves. After the experiences in the Hamams of Turkey these souvenirs are the most appropriate to take home. There are even some box-style packages where everything is together. We could say the bathroom trash can. They are very nice, and useful. Their horsehair glove is very well made, now I use it in every shower, they had made me try it in a turkish bath where they washed me from head to toe, what an embarrassment, but what a beauty at the same time, now the normal sponge does not I use it more. The soaps are all natural and fragrant, available in many colors and fragrances; in their homes, in the bathroom, you will also find them displayed as decoration so they are cute.

Some advice in conclusion:

  • If you are not dealing with 2-5 TL pieces, remember to bargain, especially if you buy multiple pieces of the same product.
  • Be aware of the weight limitations of suitcases and fragile or liquid objects
  • Remember to come with plenty of space in your suitcases so that you can return loads of all imaginable souvenirs Made in Turkey.

Good shopping!

Article author: Adam R.

Categories Turkey

2 thoughts on “Best Turkish Souvenirs, Traditional Gifts to Bring Home from Turkey”

  1. The best Turkish souvenirs are nazar boncuklari. I love bracelets with them. Most of them brake fast but it is ok, they are so cheap to buy!


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