Now In Istanbul

There are some three thousand traditional handicraft artists in Turkey. But acquiring their products is not all that easy. For one thing, you have to go to them. Now the Bilkent Cultural Initiative in conjunction with the Ministry of Culture and Tourism Working Capital Central Directorate has changed all that. The project, designed to acquaint Turkish and foreign tourists with the country’s cultural treasures, envisages the opening of a total of 95 shops in 19 townships and 55 museums - 62 of them museum shops, 33 museum cafes - by the end of 2010, for marketing the wares of Turkey’s traditional handicraft artists.
The first such shop opened in Topkapı Palace last November. It was followed by shops at the Hagia Sophia, the Museum of Turkish and Islamic Art, the Kariye Museum and the Ephesus Museum. Besides traditional Turkish handicrafts from pottery and copper to marble and glass, a variety of publications, replicas and designs inspired by objects on display in the museums can be found in the 30 museum shops that have opened up to now. Among the designs, which complement the museum experience, are glasswares inspired by palace collections, prayer beads reminiscent of those depicted in miniature paintings, handbags inspired by Ottoman caftans, and fans like those seen in mosaics. One of them is sure to whet your appetite...