The Kyzylyrmak River is the endless rhythm of this provincial town and an unusual source of its existence. The characteristic red clay from it, being mixed with a variety of white siltstones from the mountains, serves as a material for ceramics, which the region is famous for. Beautiful products painted in the traditional turquoise color or in the brown and yellow tones valued by the Hittites are usually made by men, and painted by women.
Apart from the regularly arriving organized groups, there are practically no foreigners in Avanos, so you have the opportunity to wander through the streets winding along the slopes and filled with large, but gradually decaying Greek houses. From time to time, Venetian gondolas pass along the river, and the banks are a great place to admire the sunset and drink another cup of tea, which you have long lost count of.
Tourist groups are dragged to pottery workshops outside the city. Other guides prefer one of the smaller pottery workshops in the center, most of which will be happy to show you how to sculpt a pot on a potter’s wheel. These establishments are scattered along small streets around the central square and a group of shops opposite the post office. We liked most of all the unique studio for the production of ceramics and drums, which was recently shown in a television program, Le Palais du Urdu. The large-scale Chez Galip ceramics gallery, which houses the infamous Hair Museum, a shuddering collection of 16 thousand samples of women’s hair, also deserves a visit.
Environs of Avanos
Built in 1249, Sarykhan is famous for its elaborately executed gates, over which a small mosque is located. This caravanserai, restored in the 1980s, is one of the best preserved creations of Seljuk masters. Driving off the highway towards it, you will feel like a merchant of the XIII century, ready to rest his camels and chat with business colleagues.
In an empty inner stone courtyard, you will have to turn on your imagination again. Visitors are allowed to climb onto the roof, but the main action for which they come here is a 45-minute ceremony of rotating dervishes. To get to it, you need to book seats in advance – most boarding houses in Goreme, Jurgup, Avanos and Uchhisar are ready to arrange this for you. The price may vary depending on the commission of your tour- tent or hotel.
Although the entourage creates an exceptional atmosphere, the local ceremony itself is nothing compared to the one that takes place at the Mev Levi Monastery in the Beyoglu district of Istanbul. If you have been there, then you can skip the local action.
THE UNDERGROUND CITY OF EZKONAK
About 15 km north of Avanos, in the village of Ezkonak, there is a smaller version of the underground cities of Kaymakli and Derinkuyu, with the same wine containers, rotating stone doors, etc. The underground city of Ezkonak is not as spectacular and impressive as its larger counterparts, but it does not have such crowds of tourists.