This week brought a good deal of exciting travel around Turkey. I joined the third year ceramics students on a field trip to Kütahya where much of what we consider to be Iznik ceramics is produced. One of our stops was to the Altin Cini factory where they still do traditional technique of painting on a white tin glaze as well as state of the art automated silk screening on tiles The tiles are then coated with a clear glaze and fired in a tunnel kiln. I enjoyed being with a number of my students on this interesting trip.
A couple days later, I went we some of my colleagues to Sakarya University in the city of the same name. They had a symposium going on and the Fine Arts Faculty from Anadolu Univeristy was invited to exhibit. We went to the opening reception and were then hosted to dinner with the symposium participants. The Dean of the Fine Arts Faculty was most gracious to us. The campus is on a hill overlooking a beautiful lake and mountains.
I am now in Istanbul. Roy flew in for the Thankgiving holiday to visit me and sightsee and we met here to begin the journey. We spent our first day visiting the Hagia Sophia, the Blue Mosque, the Basilica Cistern (think Dan Brown’s new book) and the Mosaic Museum. This evening we visited Taxim and Gezi Park, then came back across the European side of the city to eat seafood on the Bosporus.
It is hard to describe this city. Its history is so long and deeply layered. The sites are fantastic and so different from much of what people see when visiting Europe. We saw lots of of Iznik tile and Byzantine mosaics. We saw places of worship that are truly spiritual in their architecture.
We will have a couple more days here before heading to Eskisehir so Roy can see where I live and work and meet my friends and colleagues. Izmir and Ephesus is after that. I am constantly amazed with how much beauty and wonder this country has to offer.
Disclaimer: This is not an official Department of State website, and the views and information presented are my own and do not represent the Fulbright Program or the Department of State.