What are the best Turkey souvenirs and favorite items of someone growing up and living in Turkey?
After my blog post Why Your Best Souvenirs Could Be Better with my favorite 10 items, I decided to ask friends from other countries?
What are the items you can’t live without?
And which ones of those have cultural value?
In this blog post, Ciler Demiralp, who lives in Istanbul, will share her favorite items.
Ciler runs a fantastic newsletter called the Newsletter Circle where she does in-depth interviews with successful creators about how they build their newsletters. Ciler has a lot of similar interests, is super-kind, so we bonded instantly.
She was happy to collaborate and put a lot of energy into this issue – as you can see.
So here are Ciler’s favorite personal items and Turkey souvenirs.
Two years ago, I left my corporate job, where I had been going to the office every day for 10 years and embarked on a new journey as a solopreneur with this laptop. It has been the one and only tool that empowered me to start a global newsletter business called the Newsletter Circle from Istanbul.
My laptop is more than just a work tool; it serves as the gateway to the world for me. Through it, I can access various resources, connect with fellow entrepreneurs, and build relationships with people from all around the globe.
While I sometimes miss the hybrid version, which allows in-person interactions, I am quite happy with my current lifestyle, enabling me to work from wherever I want.
Beats Fit Pro has quickly become one of my all-time favorite items that I carry with me wherever I go.
Firstly, I love its sound quality, allowing me to immerse myself in the music and truly experience it—a vital aspect for someone like me, who finds music an essential part of life.
Secondly, thanks to the noise-canceling feature, these earbuds have become a lifesaver whenever I need to disconnect from the bustling sounds of the lively metropolis I live in. Whether I’m working in a busy co-working space or trying to relax during my commutes, these earbuds help me block out distractions and get into my zone.
Last but not least, they fit my ears perfectly, ensuring they stay in place while jogging or during busy rides on public transportation. I once had the unfortunate experience of losing my previous Apple Airpod on a packed bus, I don’t want to relive that challenge again!
All in all, they’ve become my trusty companion in the journey of experiencing life to the fullest.
A cup of Turkish coffee without sugar after breakfast has been a very important ritual in my life for years.
I believe I’m from the minority who still make it with a traditional pot. Many people in Turkey bought Turkish coffee machines, but I’m not ready to give up this traditional technique yet.
In my opinion, Turkish Coffee is one of the best-tasting coffees in the world and it’s so sad that many people are not aware of its existence.
Gizem Şalcigil White, a.k.a. Turkish Coffee Lady, is an award-winning social entrepreneur and does an amazing job introducing Turkish coffee in the U.S. and bridging cultures through this special taste. You can learn more about her work on Turkish Coffee Lady’s website.
Bonus: If you’re interested in learning how to make Turkish Coffee, here is a great video.
Turkish coffees are also great Turkey souvenirs to take home for your loved ones.
I believe many people have the habit of collecting certain items from the places they visit, such as magnets, shot glasses, books, or snow globes. For me, that item is a bookmark. Firstly, as expected, I love reading, which makes bookmarks not only practical but also meaningful keepsakes. Additionally, I find joy in discovering well-designed bookmarks during my travels, and they make for an affordable and thoughtful gift from friends.
As my collection of bookmarks grows, I’ve developed a somewhat peculiar habit of selecting a bookmark that represents the essence or feeling of the book I’m reading. It adds an extra layer of connection and enjoyment to my reading experience.
Over time, I have accumulated a vast box of bookmarks, and this picture is just the tip of the iceberg!
Running has been my magical discovery from last year. Transitioning from a career and starting over as an indie newsletter operator has been both rewarding and highly challenging. Thus, it became vital for me to find ways to maintain self-discipline and improve emotional resilience to navigate the ups and downs of this new journey.
My boyfriend, a triathlete, and Haruki Murakami’s incredible book, “What I Talk about When I Talk about Running”, motivated me to start running. I’ve found many overlaps between the experiences during a half-hour run and those we encounter throughout our life-long journey. Running teaches you patience, the power of perseverance when you don’t give up, the importance of consistency, and the wisdom to push your limits without overextending yourself. It instills a determination to keep going even when you desperately want to stop, the strength of mental resilience, and the rewarding feeling of achieving goals.
Running, in a way, mirrors our pursuit of life’s objectives with smaller but continuous steps, never giving up. It refreshes my mind and grants me a strangely strong inner power, making me believe that I can achieve anything I set my mind to in life.
Unfortunately, I had to pause my running recently due to a knee problem. However, I am eagerly looking forward to starting again, and these shoes will always remain among my favorite items.
I believe that almost everyone in Turkey owns an object with an evil eye, be it a simple piece of jewelry or a wall decoration. This bracelet is a gift from my boyfriend and I never take it off.
For those unfamiliar with the concept: The evil eye is a superstition found in various cultures, where it is believed that someone can cause harm or bring bad luck to others by simply looking at them with envy or jealousy. These evil eye objects are thought to protect against such negative influences.
As a rationalist, I still cherish this object because it is a significant part of my culture and I simply love how it looks. Embracing it doesn’t mean denying my rationality; rather, I appreciate it as a meaningful symbol with cultural roots. They’re also easy-to-find Turkey souvenirs.
I’m so happy that carrying a waist bag has become popular again.
This bag is unbelievably comfortable, big enough to hold lots of things and it’s even water-proof.
Since the pandemic began and I stopped going to the office, my style has transitioned into a more casual one, and this bag complements everything perfectly.
P.S. The retro Casio watch in the picture is another indispensable accessory for me since my college years. So I’ve included two favorites in one shot 🙂
I love cooking and eating home-made food, and my pressure cooker is one of the most important tools in the kitchen to cook delicious Turkish meals. It makes cooking legumes and meat so easy and fast while helping to retain their flavors and nutrients.
I even carried this special pot with me when I moved to Switzerland to live for a year and my friends had fun teasing me about it. But I have no regrets—I would do the same again 🙂
Watching films is one of my passions and I always dedicate a significant amount of time to continuously improving my know-how in this space. However, what is available on popular streaming platforms often fails to fulfill my cinematic preferences.
When it comes to Turkish culture, I must highlight the significant role of ‘rakı’ tables.
Rakı is an exceptional alcoholic beverage crafted with anise.
However, what truly makes it unique is not just its taste but the rich ritual that accompanies it. Sipped slowly alongside delightful mezes (similar to tapas), a typical rakı table lasts at least 2-3 hours, creating the perfect setting for deep and extended conversations. Rakı is a powerful catalyst for both celebrations and forgetting our sorrows. It’s always better when we share it with loved ones.
My beautiful glasses here are part of a special series featuring some special Turkish words and their meanings.
If you want a nice memory from your holiday in Turkey, raki glasses make great Turkey souvenirs.