Iznik tiles of blue and white patterns were made in the 16th and 17th centuries in Iznik, near Nicea, Turkey. Green, turquoise, yellow and red colors were added as skill and techniques developed. Whole walls are covered with a wide variety of plant patterns, especially tulips, geraniums and vegetation. No images of people are allowed in the mosques.
There are beautiful ceramic dishes, also called tiles. Good places to see tiles are in the Blue Mosque, 1616, Topkapi Palace, Rűstem Paşa Mosque, 1561, and the Tiled Kiosk or pavilion built in 1472.
The Tiled Kiosk is a separate building in the Istanbul Archaeological Museum complex. This is a graceful building with white painted upper walls and arched ceilings. Arched windows up high above the tiled walls have a stone lattice of vines over deep colored glass of red, green and yellow showing through the lattice. The floors are grey marble and the building is cool and restful.
In addition to the tiled walls, there are also displays of ceramic dishes, primarily blue and white. The earliest tiles seem to be Selçuk tiles from the 13th century. The Selçuk people were probably from the area of present day Iran and lived in Turkey before the Ottomans.
Many shops in the Sultanahmet area sell tiles. The merchants want you to buy the more expensive Iznik tiles that have quartz in them and may have hand painted designs rather than tiles of less durable materials. The problem is, you can never be sure what the price should be. They might start at the equivalent of $200, but come down to $125, still a lot to pay for one 8-inch square tile. Be sure the designs are clean, not smeared.
There are also some beautiful dishes. $700 would buy a pale mauve bowl with a flowing cream tulip design, but it didn’t cost me anything to look and store the image in my memory. We took many pictures in the mosques, Palace and the Tiled Kiosk.
Note: Photos without a name were taken by Evelyn Weliver.