Avanos is a famous handicrafts town where for ages men have made pottery and women carpets. It is situated in the wonderfull landscape of Cappadocia in Central Turkey on the banks of the Kızılırmak, the red river, the longest river of Turkey
Because of the beautiful clay the river has brought here during the ages, ceramic has been a traditional handicraft in Avanos, probably already since Hittite times, 2000-1500 BC.
Upto about 1980 this craft was taught from father to son, only men worked in the potteries. Galip started to teach women in the 70th, and because of contacts with people from different parts of Turkey and the rest of the world since then, you can find more and more studios where men as well as women work and where people from all over the world come to learn.
Since about 15 years an international symposium is annually organized.
Not only clay is important for making ceramics, also the situation of the studios and the kilns are important. The ideal studio here is a semi cave. The temperature is stabel, not too hot in the summer, not too cold in winter, so the pots can dry in a good way.
The traditional woodkilns are made from the soft tufostone; easy to cut and a very insolating stone, so ideal for the ceramic kilns which should be fired upto between 950 and 1200 degrees celsius.
Avanos has also always been one of the important carpet centres in Turkey. Like traditionally the men learned pottery from their fathers, the girls learned to make carpets from thier mothers. Although carpetweaving became less intensive in the last 30 years, in many of the old houses you can still find a special place where the loom can stand. The traditional Avanos carpets are recognisable because of their specific colors and symbols.
Nowadays Avanos has an old and a new part. The old part lies against the hills with the gardens of the locals behind the town. You can wonder around in the narrow streets with characteristic semi-cave houses. Many of them have beautifully sculpted-decorated façades.