Kayseri: welcome to a real Turkish town

Here in Talas, surrounded by newly built high-rises, we could be anywhere in the world (except for the a-la Turka toilet which basically is squat potty and which we keep locked at all times and use our regular bathroom).  So when we stepped into  the city centre with its spice shops and indoor bazaars and old buildings, it was as if we travelled to another city altogether.  Especially when we saw this traditional carpet weaver in the cultural centre (although the spirit of tradition and time was somewhat dampened by a mobile phone in her hand.  It did look like a very old Nokia, so I guess it might be considered an antique in its own right.)

DSC_0015 DSC_0019The was also a picture gallery with painting created by artists working right there. It is very interesting that there was a painting of the same traditional carpet weavers.

DSC_0027 DSC_0025The cultural centre itself is located on the territory of an old complex with a mosque, a tomb (spelled as ‘temb’ on the English language information sign), a cafe  and numerous little rooms where one could have a seat on traditional divans or watch craftsmen work

DSC_0021 DSC_0018 DSC_0023 DSC_0024 DSC_0029 DSC_0032Our next stop – a indoor bazaar and numerous little shops nearby selling spices, carpets, Turkish sweets and other local specialties.

Speaking of specialties: one thing you can`t escape (and nor would you want to) in Kayseri is pastirma – spicy cured beef, and sucuk –  spicy garlicky sausage.

DSC_0037 DSC_0045 DSC_0046 DSC_0042Mike posing next to dry intestines  – used for making your own sausage I imagine

DSC_0089Spices and sweets – the smell was divine!

DSC_0092 DSC_0094 DSC_0090 DSC_0086 DSC_0152 DSC_0155 DSC_0157Another thing that caught my eye were this giant grape sausages (I mentioned them in an earlier post – they are walnuts encased in chewy grape juice)

DSC_0040 DSC_0039Indoor bazaar. We decided it looked somewhat Hong-Kongish

DSC_0063These were very creepy

DSC_0059Note the traditional women’s clothes. Even though they looked like coats, they are worn indoors and outdoors combined with a head scarf by about 50% of women here.

DSC_0067I`ve been spotted! Or they might have been looking because we were speaking English. Nothing whips people’s head around faster than us speaking English or Russian. The other day I answered my phone in English on a bus and the whole bus turned around and looked at me.

DSC_0069DSC_0071 DSC_0064All this gold! Also, see the man squatting to get a better look? He has a knife holster!

DSC_0149 DSC_0150DSC_0051There are also knife holsters for sale, among other things

DSC_0117DSC_0053 DSC_0055 DSC_0057 DSC_0078 DSC_0079 DSC_0080I like this combination of old and new – an old drinking fountain with CCTV cameras above


This is a charming old area fool of little shops with unhurried shop keepers. We wanted to buy a doormat (which incidentally cost 2 lira, or 1$) but couldn`t find a shop keeper. From everything we read, we expected carpet sellers to jump out from every corner and drag is into their shops, but nobody as much as suggested we by a handkerchief. All we got were mildly curious looks seeing as how we looked touristy and I continually snapped photos with my mobile phone (our camera did not survive the trip so all the photos are made with a mobile phone. Which is still unregistered and not working).

DSC_0107 DSC_0105 DSC_0111 DSC_0114 DSC_0130DSC_0082This wool is used to stuff mattresses and pillows

DSC_0120 DSC_0119In the summer, it gets taken out and washed and then you can see it drying outside people’s homes

DSC_0906Anyway, we were completely charmed by this area and took our time wandering around and pointing out things to each other (Look! A cat on the roof! Look! Meat mincers! Look! Look! )

DSC_0106 DSC_0105 DSC_0103 DSC_0099 DSC_0098 DSC_0095 DSC_0115 DSC_0126 DSC_0125 DSC_0134 DSC_0123 DSC_0122 DSC_0085 DSC_0082 DSC_0143 DSC_0139Men washing their feet before entering a mosque

DSC_0137 DSC_0141DSC_0131A little shop where they make and sell a Turkish dish called pide, also known as Turkish pizza. Note all the wood used for the traditional oven

DSC_0144Here is another specialty. There are several fish shops on one of the main roads in the centre (we usually take it on our way from the bus stop in the centre to one of the large shopping centres called Kayseri Forum). Not only can you buy fresh fish, you can also eat a fish sandwich with freshly fried fish.

DSC_0161 DSC_0163 DSC_0164A bakery. Oh, the smell….

DSC_0172We didn`t do much shopping as we were on a discovery mission, but Mike needed a hoodie. Apparently, 20$ can buy you Ralph Lauren in Turkey. Whether or not it’s real is another story.

DSC_0168We arranged to have dinner with our friends Aslan and Leyla. While we were waiting, we wandered around the centre some more.


DSC_0033 DSC_0159 DSC_0043When our friends arrived, we went to a terrace restaurant called Lider. It was really full (well, it WAS Saturday night), so it took almost 30 minutes for our order to be taken, and we didn`t get traditional appetizers (a tomato dip and a green salad) which are usually on the house even in the smallest of cafes and part of our order got forgotten (Mike wanted some olives and cheese) but the food was outstanding. A mixed grill of lamb, lamb cutlets, lamb kofte (sort of like meatball except it’s shaped like a braid), chicken, chicken wings and a tiny beef burger, accompanied with grilled veggies, lettuce, onions and of course fresh bread.

DSC_0190We started off sitting on the roof terrace, which offers amazing views but as we got colder we moved inside

DSC_0187DSC_0197 DSC_0186 DSC_0185 DSC_0180

We finished our meal off with glasses of traditional Turkish tea, although I wouldn`t have minded a glass of red wine to accompany the meat and warm me up. Instead I had to do with a blanket and we really enjoyed our meal and the company.

DSC_0202 DSC_0200

Image | This entry was posted in Eating Out, Expat life, Kayseri, Out and about, Turkey and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Kayseri: welcome to a real Turkish town

  1. Pingback: End of the first year | Mike and Yulia's blog

  2. vitex says:

    hi! are you live in Kayseri now? Im student in Kayseri, you are really cute couple! İf it is not problem for you can we meet ?
    Have a good day! 🙂


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