TEATOWEL 1: ISTANBUL

THE DOUBLE HEADED BYZANTINE EAGLE (found on the border of the teatowel): The eagle is a symbol commonly used by mankind throughout the world going back to prehistoric eras.  It is assumed that the thought goes way back and has become widely known as a result of the interaction amongst different cultures. Despite the complexity and variety of belief systems, the giving of symbolic meanings to various creatures and objects found in nature in order to express the godly powers which mankind came across throughout their lives and the usage of them as a means of expression are very common. Although the story behind might differ from culture to culture, the eagle has been the symbol of all divine and earthly powers in the Pagan, Christian, Islamic and Fareastern beliefs. It symbolizes eternal existence, dual sovereignty over both the west (Rome) and the east (former Constantinople) and the spiritual and secular authority.


THE GALATA TOWER: One of the first landmarks to come into view at Istanbul is the Galata Tower built by the Genoese colonists in 1348. During part of the Ottoman era, the public called it the “Hezarfen Tower” because it was from here that Hezarfen Ahmet Çelebi (Chelebi) took off and glided to the slopes of Scutari (Uskudar) by means of artificial wings becoming one of the first men in history to fly (1638). The tower was used in a variety of capacities, as a shipyard warehouse in the 15th, as a prison in the 16th and as a fire watch tower in the 18th centuries. It is still one of Istanbul’s prominent land marks of today.


THE VAPUR (STEAMBOAT):  The reason for settlements in Istanbul to be limited to the historical peninsula and the Haliç (Golden Horn) area until the 19th century was limitations on the means of transportation. The developments seen in the Ottoman economy have made it necessary for Istanbul to spread towards the bosphorus.

The first steamboat was purchased in 1827. Afterwards, two companies, one British and the other Russian have started to operate two ships (vapours) in 1837 making use of their capitulations. As a result of the high demand from the people of Istanbul, a company which was one of the first incorporated companies of the Ottoman Empire was founded (Şirketi Hayriye) and an order of 6 ships was made to Britain and some were manufactured in Istanbul.

Some of the steamboats currently used such as the one called Paşabahçe dates back to 1952. The two anchors found on the boats symbolize the two continents, Europe and Asia.


HAGIA SOPHIA: It is the most magnificent of all of the Byzantine churches in Istanbul. Materials were brought from Ephesus, Athens, Rome and Delhi. It was built over the ruins of an earlier structure in 537. With its long history as the principal imperial church of early Christian-Greek orthodoxy, as a mosque and now as a museum, Saint Sophia represents the history of the occident and the orient as no other building can.


THE MAIDEN TOWER: The Maiden Tower was first built by the ancient Athenian General Alcibiades in 408 B.C. to control the movements of the Persian ships in the bosphorus. It was restored and slightly modified several times by the Ottoman Turks. Used as a lighthouse for centuries, it has an excellent view of the former Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman capital.


THE GRAND BAZAAR: The Grand Bazaar is one of the largest covered markets in the world. It resembles a giant labyrinth. It is made up of streets of various shops sheltered by roofs and domes. It has hundreds of domes which are covered with lead and windows. The nucleus of the Grand Bazaar is a Byzantine building which is currently called the “Old Bedesten”. The Grand Bazaar covers an area of 31 hectars with 61 streets, 10 wells, 4 fountains, 2 mosques, 2 hamams (Turkish Baths), 17 hans, 22 gates and over 3 thousand shops.