The district of Buldan in the province of Denizli is famous for its ancient craft of weaving. It has changed little over the ages, offering a rare glimpse into the past.
Young Osman's jacket
Buldan was once located on a major trade route and produced gorgeous fabrics that were used to make shawls and kaftans for sultans and beys, including a 'cepken' or jacket for Young Osman. Some of these can be seen in Topkapi Palace. Beautiful mosques, masjids, villas and homes were built. The town was planned so that every house had an unobstructed view. Many of these traditional Buldan homes still function as weaving workshops. Today, there are 3000 weaving machines, 30 handlooms and 1250 embroidery machines in Buldan. Traditional motifs such as the Buldan Rose and bird's eye are still used. The cotton used in weaving Buldan fabric comes from the Meander River meadow. It is embroidered with silk thread dyed with natural dyes. Wool from local sheep is also used in the weaving.
From the pen of Strabo
In ancient times, Denizli was known as Laodicea. Even then, geographer and historian Strabo extolled the softness and 'raven black' colour of Laodicean wool.
Traditionally, small looms were used in Buldan's 'home-workshops'. Walls and ceilings had to be knocked down to accommodate the larger modern weaving machines. Today, much is being done to preserve the unique history and character of the town. These efforts are led by Prof. Dr. Afife Batur of the Faculty of Architecture at Istanbul University. In June, the people of Buldan will attend the International Handcrafts meeting in Greece. You can learn more about the art of weaving at the Buldan festival in the first week of June. See www.buldan-bld.gov.tr.
How to get there
THY: Daily flights to Denizli from Istanbul and Ankara except Thursday and Saturday. THY Flight Lines Tel: 444 0849. All bus companies have daily services to Denizli. Buldan is 45 km from Denizli. You can take a bus, taxi or rent a car.
Where to stay
Stay at the Richmond Pamukkale Thermal Hotel, Pamukkale Spa or the Savanna Thermal Hotel in Pamukkale. Tel: +90 258 271 42 96 www.richmondhotels.com.tr.
What to eat
Try the "otlu pide" made with various wild greens, cheese, eggs, red pepper and walnuts as well as "Cagla Dogmesi" made with the crushed flowers of the nettle tree, dill and cheese wrapped in Buldan filo pastry.
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