Turkish Shaaban Topuz continues to work in a 750-year-old pottery-making workshop, in his profession that he inherited from his grandfather in the Avanos region, famous for hosting handicrafts in the state of Nevsehir in central Turkey.
Topuz (50 years old) began working with clay at the age of eight in the workshop that bears his grandfather’s name. The famous pottery maker in the region still continues the profession that he inherited from his ancestors, and displays his artistic works in the historical place.
Legacy of ancient civilizations
The workshop, which has an enclosed area of about 1,000 square metres, consists of an arched structure resembling an ancient palace, in addition to cellars carved into the rock.
The workshop provides tourists with the ability to follow the production process while touring the workshop and its rooms filled with products.
In his traditional workshop, Topuz produces models of porcelain and pottery products that were used in ancient civilizations that lived on the soil of Anatolia.
Topuz says that he has been shaping clay since he was a child in elementary school, and that he is “excited” to continue his craft in this historic building that has embraced the craft of pottery making for centuries. “I worked as a trainee and professional worker for approximately 21 years in this traditional workshop, before I became a partner in it beginning in 2002.”
He added, “This is a workshop that has embraced the profession of pottery making for 750 years to this day. Over these many years, I have used a pottery workshop.”
Topuz points out, “The history of pottery making in Avanos extends back about 5,000 years. Nowadays, we make different shapes by using new techniques.”
He continues, “Pottery began to disappear in the 1960s, following the widespread spread of plastic products. This prompted my father to travel abroad in order to find alternative work, but he returned to Avanos with the recovery of the tourism sector in the 1980s. When my father’s friend took over the management of the pottery workshop “Here, I started working there as a trainee. Later, we continued to work together.”
As for the workshop itself, Topuz says, “Some places in the workshop are natural rock sculptures, and others are man-made. There are rooms in which we display our products made with traditional means.”
He points out that “no modifications or restorations were made to the sections of the workshop and the basements to avoid harming the historical and natural fabric therein.
Great tourist interest
According to Topuz, there has recently been an increase in “the number of Chinese tourists who show great interest in traditional industries in Turkey.”
As for the tourist Togbe Nur Ilker, who visits the workshop during her trip to Cappadocia, she in turn says that she was “very impressed with the historical fabric of the workshop. This is my first time in Cappadocia. I have seen pictures of this area before, but I felt astonished when I visited it, in the pottery workshop, “I was drawn to the underground warehouses, the arched structures and the unique traditional products. I advise everyone to visit this unique place and enjoy the fragrant history.”
As for the tourist, Ugur Agce, he said that he visited the historical places in Avanos, in addition to the various tourist centers in the region.
Agha expressed his “admiration” for the pottery and ceramic products in the historic workshop, explaining that he had bought some of them.