A nazar is an eye-shaped charm, nearly always blue in color, believed to protect the wearer against the “evil eye.” It is common in Mediterranean and Middle Eastern countries where it is often seen hanging in homes, offices, cars, or incorporated into jewelry. Turkish people believe that a nazar will protect you from bad energy by […]

Turkish textile production dates back to the Ottoman period of the 16th and 17th centuries.  Today the textile industry is one of the most components of the Turkish economy with an annual export value of $5.4 billion.  On nearly every street and throughout the Grand Bazaar, beautiful Turkish textiles can be found from bolts of […]

Pomegranates are widely grown throughout the Mediterranean region.  Throughout the streets of Istanbul, there are huge piles of whole pomegranates at cafés and on street carts waiting to be freshly pressed into pomegranate juice or mixed into a martini.  My colleague, Sarah, and I each purchased a glass of pomegranate juice from a vendor between […]

If you’ve killed a cat, you need to build a mosque to be forgiven by God. ~ Turkish Saying Similar to my experience in Athens, Greece several years ago, there are stray cats all over Istanbul.  But unlike most stray cats in the US, they are very friendly and tolerated by the locals who also […]

The Sultan Ahmed Mosque in Istanbul may be better known as the Blue Mosque due to the 20,000 blue tiles on the walls of its interior.  The mosque was completed in 1616 under Sultan Ahmet Ier’s rule in order to “calm God” after a war with Persia. It has one main dome, six minarets, and eight […]