Pottery Making in Cappadocia

The Kizilirmak (red) river, also known as the Halls river, is the longest river in Turkey, running through Cappadocia and supplying the red clay used to make pottery.

Pottery has been produced in the Cappadocia area for centuries and some of the techniques still used today date back to the Hittite era of around 1600BC.

To make the clay, red earth is mixed with water and left to stand in a mud trough until it reaches the right consistency. Depending on the type of bed it comes from, the mud is either loose, gritty and soft or oily and hard or has a clay-like consistency.

The type of clay determines the style of vase or dish that is produced. When a potter’s wheel starts to turn, the lump of clay is thinned out and assumes its final shape within a few minutes. It is then left to dry. When the painted, glazed vessels are sufficiently dry, they are fired at temperatures up to 600-700 celsius.

Besides producing functional items such as pots, water jars, pitchers and cooking dishes, Cappadocia’s skilled potters make accurate copies of pieces made by the Hittites and Phrygians, an ancient Indo-European people.