When packing up for a travel destination, the usual must-haves are clothes, smart gadgets, a camera, personal hygiene needs, and so on and so forth. Sometimes we opt to travel light. However, more often than not, we end up coming back home with heavier/bigger baggage than what we left with, mostly because we just can’t help ourselves when it comes to souvenirs. Pictures, sure, are important souvenirs. Save some space in your luggage for something that you will want to drink, eat, wear and display back home.
When in Cappadocia, help yourself to a lot, in addition to the endless possibilities of wonderful photos and memories that you can have during your visit. Here are the top 10 souvenirs that I think you will find remarkable.
1. Dried Fruits/Nuts and Turkish Delight
Mostly everyone knows that dried fruits and nuts are a great source of nutrition. As it turns out, Cappadocia is a great place to source dried fruits and nuts. On the other side of the spectrum, it’s also a great place to indulge your sweet tooth in some Turkish Delight. Help yourself to “Kuruyemis” stores scattered everywhere in Cappadocia, especially in the towns of Urgup and Avanos. Most of these stores have an enormous display of various dried fruits, nuts and the famous Turkish Delight.
Turkish Delight comes in various combinations of flavors. If you ask me, nothing beats the vitamins-loaded combination of dried figs stuffed with pistachios, walnuts, hazelnuts, and almonds. Back in the Ottoman time, Turkish Delight was originally used to sweeten their coffee and then later on as a dessert. You are welcome for a free tasting, as well as a demo on how Turkish Delight is made, right at the premises.
So many flavors to choose from!
Knock yourself out.
I’m not big into jewelry but evidently, gold and silver are cheaper here because of low labor costs, and the craftsmanship is a high standard. Maybe I may have to take another Cappadocia visit to get myself a ring with an onyx stone set?
There is no shortage of small toys, trinkets, and general mementos merchandise on store shelves in the Cappadocia region. Most shops are actually overflowing with small little gifts that you can buy to take home to loved ones that were not able to make the trip with you.
A major upside to store owners having so much product is that they are willing to haggle with you in order to get it out of the door. I found it nearly impossible to walk into a shop to buy something specific and leave with only exactly what I came in for in the first place. General merchandise varies greatly in these tourism shops.
In one trip I walked out of one of the aforementioned stores with a Cappadocia branded mini hookah, magnets, a drinking mug, a picture frame, a wine bottle cork, a wrist bracelet, a Zippo lighter, a small stone figurine representing the ancient Greek god Eros, and a toy shaped like some balloons from one of the famous air balloons rides over the area. As you can tell from my shopping list, you can find something for everyone in one of the many tourist shops here.
4. Kitchenware/Home Decor
You can’t leave Cappadocia without a piece or two of their handmade ceramic kitchenware that you can purchase at a reasonable price. Ceramic kitchenware is quite heavy, but a piece or two of plates or pots can weigh approximately 500 grams only.
For foreign tourists on a short visit to Turkey, you can take home with you an intricately designed tea set or a couple of colorful dishes that weigh less than 300 grams for less than $5 a piece. Chandeliers, table lamps, and vases are also must-have attractive souvenirs. As shown in the photo above, they’re so beautifully designed that you won’t be able to keep your hands or eyes off them.
Turkey has been among the best carpet makers for centuries like Iran, Egypt, Georgia, and Azerbaijan. When you are traveling to Turkey, you know where to find one of the best hand-woven carpets in the country – in Cappadocia.
There are also gorgeous rugs and tablecloths that you can choose from for around $15 a piece and you won’t have to worry about going over your baggage limit.
For local tourists, it is worth taking home a 4-m long handwoven masterpiece that’ll surely last for years or decades.
6. Handmade Clothing
Handmade shawls, crocheted baby clothes and shoes, and batik summer dresses are also perfect souvenirs from your Cappadocia travel.
For example, this tiny customized handmade shawl that I got for only 10 Turkish Lira (equivalent to less than $3) back in summer 2017 is a pretty piece that I like to wear as a hair accessory.
Here’s a fun fact that most are not familiar with, besides the unique rock homes, Cappadocia is also widely known for the wine that the area produces. The land here is volcanic soil and extremely fertile, matched with the harsh land makes it perfect for grapes. Because the area produces such high caliber grape, this is also why there are 5 major wineries in the area, the biggest and oldest being Turasan. Though Turasan was established in 1943, vineyards have been in the area for thousands of years and are rumored to go back to prehistory.
I’m no historian but I have enjoyed many bottles of Cappadocia made wine with a loved one and can tell you that the wine is very special. You can find a nice red, white, rose, or even a fruit wine here in the region. I am not considered a wine connoisseur of any sort, or even a person who drinks it regularly, it’s more like once in a blue moon. But when that moon is blue, you better believe I’m filling my glass with some Cappadocia produced wine.
8. Ceramic and Pottery
There are two things that you are guaranteed to see in the Cappadocia area. Those two things are amazing rock carved settlements that will leave you stunned, and ceramic and clay pottery in all sorts and fashions. Red clay is a prevalent material found in many things in this area that comes from the Kızılırmak river, usage of the clay varies from pots to dining ware all the way to the souvenirs you will find showcased in each store.
If you happen to visit the area on a tour you are almost to expect a stopover at the pottery store, and when you do, enjoy strolling the isles, enamored with all the local pottery talent and the amazing things they do with the earthy material, maybe even buy something to take home. If you’re on time you’ll be able to catch a show on how it is made by a professional in his craft. If you’re lucky, you’ll be allowed to give the old spinning wheel a spin for yourself and have a try at making something special.
If you are a professional landscape photographer, an amateur with a middle of the line camera, or even just a travel junkie armed with a roaming smartphone, you will be in landscape picture heaven in Cappadocia. The landscape reveals rocky hillside after rocky hillside that has personal and family dwellings dug into each, each just clamoring for a photo opportunity.
The unique ways of this ancient time will leave you stunned, at least temporarily long enough for a local photog to snap a pic of you and your party, print it, frame it and try to sell it to you. Yep, that happens here, but luckily they do their best to get a good secret photo of you. Actually, you may feel obliged to buy their photo and frame if it is a really good shot; especially in this digital age, it’s nice to get a photo framed to look at and display proudly that you don’t have to swipe to get to. The choice is always yours though. Either way, you will take lots of photos and have even more memories of your visit to Cappadocia.
In order to fully understand Onyx’s beauty, you need to understand what it is. Onyx is a natural volcanic stone of the agate family. It is a translucent stone that comes in a variety of colors and qualities that local artisans craft to just about anything you can think of. I myself purchased an apple to bring home as a gift for a loved one from my travels.
At any given shop you will find a variety of onyx in the shapes of fruits like a pear or an apple, animals such as a dolphin, eggs of all sizes, even chess pieces, jewelry and so forth. Prices for certain items can be a bit costly when it comes to pricing, but with some looking around and/or haggling on the price, a cheaper price can be obtainable. Lots of shopkeepers like to bundle items, if you are open to that idea, if you do, keep your eyes open for a second piece that you like and try to work out a deal to your liking.
Updated: May 23, 2018