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CAPPADOCIA / Avanos
Avanos is about 8 kilometers (5 miles) from Göreme. The town has a lively shopping center with all the usual amenities including a modern, tourist orientated hamam (Turkish Bath). A travelling market visits Avanos on Fridays.
Starting just outside the shopping center the old village of Avanos winds up the hills leading away from the town and is a beautiful maze of old stone houses, some restored, some converted and some sadly abandoned to their fate. In some of the abandoned houses the features of traditional Ottoman architecture can be seen along with ancient decorations, motifs and murals.
About 14 kilometers (9 miles) from Avanos is the underground city of Özkonak and the 13th century Seljuk caravaserai, Sarıhan (which is now a museum), is only about 3 kilometers (2 miles) away.
The Kızılırmak (red) river separates Avanos from the rest of Cappadocia, and is the longest river in Turkey. It is by this river that the red pottery clay is found from which Avanos derives it's main livelihood and it's foremost claim to fame.
Pottery has been produced in the Avanos area for several centuries and some of the techniques still used date back to Hittite times. Avanos is a mass of family run potteries, most of which are only too pleased to let visitors have a go on the potters wheel and give them a full history of the many and various pottery goods on offer. Avanos pots make wonderful souvenirs and are available at a wide range of prices from simple ashtrays and mugs to ornate plates and chess sets.
Avanos is also famous for carpet weaving and, more unusually, for knitting. Hand knitted garments can be found on sale along with wool, needles and all the other equipment you might need if your holiday is incomplete without that familiar click click !
Avanos really specializes in handicrafts, there is a permanent handicrafts bazaar and a three day Handicrafts Festival in late August.
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