Turkey: sepiolitic souvenirs
What do you think when you hear the word “Turkey”? Of course, about luxury hotels on the coast of Turkey and cheap clothes. But not only Turkey is famous for its tourism business and bazaars. In Turkey, there is the only deposit in the world of sepiolite, or sea froth, a stone that once served the Ottomans instead of soap. Today they cut out rare beauty souvenirs from it. And sepiolitic tubes are recognized as the best in the world due to their grace and amazing properties.
Remember the legend of Aphrodite? The Turks believe that the sea foam, from which the goddess of love was born, is nothing but a sepiolite foaming in the water. And he appears from the souls of lonely people who have not found a mate. This legend is similar to the tale of the Little Mermaid, abandoned by her beloved and turned into sea foam.
Sepia is the Greek name for one of the species of oceanic mollusks that appeared in the Cenozoic era where the sea was millions of years ago. In its appearance and color, sepiolite is similar to chalk, but much harder. However, in contact with water, the mineral softens and foams, and therefore was used in ancient times by local residents instead of soap.
Foam deposits are also found in other countries – Morocco, South Africa, and Spain. But for cutting tubes, only top quality sepiolite is suitable, without extraneous inclusions. This can only be obtained here in Turkey.
Turkey, or Asia Minor, is the final point of the Great Silk Road. State located in Asia and in Europe. A country that combines the culture of the East, West, North and South. This is the land where the mother of Christ lived her last days. Here they love sweet chestnuts, salted olives and anisette, the taste is reminiscent of children’s medicine.
Contrary to the opinion of those who have never been here, the capital of Turkey is not Istanbul, but the city of Ankara. Istanbul is the largest city in the country, really once the capital of the Ottoman Empire. Then Istanbul bore the name of Constantinople and was the most famous outlet in the world. Today, this metropolis can compete with the largest cities in the world, it is home to about 15 million citizens! Add to them up to 12 million tourists who visit the “cradle of civilization” every year.
Musfi is our guide. Blond with blue eyes and a Greek profile. His ancestors are Bulgarians, and his wife is Russian. As usual, I came to Turkey to rest and fell in love. In Russian, our guide speaks well, you can feel the school of the University of Friendship of Peoples. Once, Musfi’s father was also finishing this famous alma mater.
Musfi talks about Turkey for a long time and in detail, which is why a good half of the bus falls asleep. And the one that does not sleep learns that Istanbul is divided into Asian and European parts, which are divided by the Bosphorus Strait. By the way, here they say: “Let’s go to Asia”. Or: “Where is this disco in Asia or Europe?”
Musfi loves the phrase from the comedy “The Diamond Hand”: “Istanbul is a city of contrasts”. And completely agrees with her. Well, where else can you see such a mixture of Muslim and Orthodox religions? And meet the mosque with the image of the Virgin Mary and crucifixes on the walls?
There are a lot of mosques here. Almost every street has its own. From anywhere in the city you can see the white dome. The decoration of the Muslim house of God is minimalist – from the decorations only wall paintings. The same is true in Muslim homes – a minimum of jewelry and the most necessary things.
You can determine the welfare of the Turks by the … number of children in the family. In the rich it is only one child, in the poor it is from five to eight, in families with middle income – two or three.
The Turks are good builders, with their hands erected bridges and skyscrapers in the USA, Canada, and Europe. But their own modern architectural structures are far from perfect. Homes for the middle class are not built for centuries. And before the first earthquake. Then destroyed buildings are demolished and new ones are erected in their place. Cheap and angry.
Our route runs through the center of Turkey, to the city of Eskishir. There are workshops where they treat sepiolite, or, as the Turks call it, mirshaum. Traditional tourist routes bypass the ancient Eskishir side – in local shops and hotels have never seen Russian tourists. We are driving through olive groves.
“We do not eat meat for breakfast, only vegetables: tomatoes, cucumbers, lettuce, and olives,” says Musfi. – Those olives that are sold at your place are cheap and not very good quality, we use them in salads. And ours are much larger, and they differ in taste.
The bus stops in the middle of the steppe. The Old City is 200 kilometers away. Rammed track breaks off. Next runs a little noticeable path. On it we go to the first mine.