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Continued: Walking tour uncovers hidden gems of Istanbul

  • Article by: CATHERINE SHANNON BALLMAN , Special to the Star Tribune
  • Last update: March 9, 2014 - 10:36 AM

Afterward, we walked to the studio of Musa Basaran, our first Turkish celebrity. Basaran has grown famous as a kilim weaver and artist by reimagining the Anatolian, or Turkish, kilim with modern designs, often of fantastical and romantic native landscapes or abstract interpretations of classic Turkish patterns. His color palate departs from the classic deep reds and blues to reflect the rich colors of Turkey: yellows, tangerines, ceruleans and soft roses.

Basaran has received honors and recognition from around the world, but he paused from his work to welcome his friend Ann Marie and her newfound friends into his studio. He served us tea, and described his creative process. We leaned back on his copious couch and took it all in.

As we walked back to the hotel, we realized we had started out the day lost but, thanks to a “docent” who led us astray, we found a bit of the real Istanbul.


Catherine Shannon Ballman writes about travel and food, with a special interest in local foodways. She lives in St. Paul.


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