Carpet Museum. Avanos, Cappadocia, Turkey

Avanos: Pottery, Kilims and 16,000 Strands of Hair

Though they are babes in arms compared to Egyptian touts, the bars and restaurants of my home town in Turkey have a reputation for hassle when it comes to drumming up business.

Despite improvements each year it is not uncommon for touts to treat tourist visitors with an unwelcome forwardness and the assumption they are incapable of deciding where to eat and drink all on their own. This desperate method of attracting custom gets old very quickly, especially when the humour, deviousness and enterprise in the persuasive arsenal of Luxorns and Caireens in the same trade is lacking here.

In Avanos they try things a different way. Establishments in this Cappadocian town use demonstrations and museums to lure business. Wine makers give free tastings, carpet stores are happy to explain the history and methods of carpet making in an unpressured environment and, in a town famous for producing earthenware pottery out of the red silt of the Kızılırmak river, pottery making demonstrations are common throughout the town.

Avanos, Cappadocia, Turkey

Other attractions include a hair museum.

The hair museum was a bit weird about not letting us take photos. Despite a ten minute phone conversation in French we were refused permission to take pictures of any of the 16,000 strands of women’s hair covering the walls and ceiling of the hair museum. Each strand is accompanied by the name and address of the Turkish or foreign donor.

Apparently they’ve had one or two negative comments suggesting that hanging thousands of strands of hair around a cave is a bit odd and they were sensitive to people turning up unannounced wanting to take photos.

Respecting their wishes I had to be satisfied with this picture of the outside instead. Inside it looks like this.

Outside the Hair Museum. Avanos, Cappadocia, Turkey

What do you think? Is the Hair Museum a clever marketing ploy or a bit wacko?

During our visit to Avanos we enjoyed staying in Kirkit Pension

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