If you are a lover of history and culture, then you must have read about Turkey and its rich history at least once. Apart from Turkish history, the country is well-known for its culture even today. People from around the world visit Turkey every year as it is home to many beautiful places. Obviously, when people visit the country, they are likely to bring home souvenirs to remember their time spent there. There are many tidbits one could bring back from Turkey but one very common is the Pestemal towel. These are like large beach towels or bath towels. They are actually related to the history of Turkish Hamams or baths.
Dating back to the 18 th century, the Turkish towels or Pestemals are quite large in size. They can measure 100 cm by 180 cm approximately. These towels have a strong relationship with Turkish hammams, which are public baths rooted in Turkish history and culture. These actually date back to the 14 th century themselves and have been inspired by the Roman baths. But Pestemals are not just simply bath towels according to Turkish history and culture. In fact, they are often associated with the important events in the life of Turkish people. For example, the Pestemal towel was used for the ceremonial bath by the bride before her wedding.
Pestemals are not supposed to be just one piece of towel. Instead, they can come in sets. They were used in sets back in the time of hamams and can still be found that way. The set included different bath towels for the head, shoulders, and hips. This arrangement was specifically compatible with the designs of the Turkish baths.
While Pestemals are still mainly just bath towels, one might question why people have such an affection and appreciation for this piece of Turkish tradition and culture. According to history, the Pestemals would have remained just simple bath towels if the Ottomans had not come along.
The Ottomans were quite skilled in carpet weaving back in the 17 th century. This is how they changed the standard of bath towels in turkey. They introduced the concept of style and design in these Turkish towels. Their own style of towels was much different and they influenced the Pestemals. They were used to having an extra warp loop pile to their 2/2/ twill. This means that their towels had an additional pile or loops of thread standing up from the cloth than just the warp and weft of a given woven cloth.
With the new fancy version of these towels, the Pestemal grew in popularity during the time of the Ottoman palace. The residents of the palace would increasingly request for the Pestemals as they featured ornate and intricate designs. Gradually, the appreciation for the unique designs grew so much that the towels were no longer just used for hamam purposes. It soon became an item of fashion and style.
Thanks to the Ottomans, the Turkish people have an opportunity to boast about their culture to this day in the form of Pestemals. While there are plenty of more aspects t the rich Turkish culture and traditions, the Pestemals make a significant part of them.
Today, the Pestemals are still used as bath towels but they are also popular beyond that. The image of a fashion icon is still intact when it comes to buying Pestemals in Turkey. Here are few different ways Pestemal towels are being utilized in today’s time:
If you enter a traditional Turkish household, you can locate the Pestemals in their bathrooms. They are commonly used in the capacity of bath towels as they are quite convenient for that purpose. Pestemals are hand-woven from cotton on a loom. They are incredibly soft and comfortable for drying after a bath. The designs and styles have greatly improved over the years and can be found compatible with today’s trend requirements.
Turkey is home to many beaches. These destinations are often crowded with both locals and tourists. You can easily spot large beach towels spread out on the sand as people leisurely take in the views of the water. These beach towels often happen to be Pestemals. They are convenient for this purpose because of their large sizes. Due to the designs, they also look quite pretty and fit in with the aesthetic of the views.
The months of December, January and February can be chilly, snowy, and rainy in Turkey. This can often require the need of cozy blankets when you want to feel warm inside homes. The Pestemals are often used in this capacity in Turkish homes. Since they are made from soft cotton, they are easily warming and look great within the interiors of a living room or bedroom.
Since we are talking interior, you will notice that Turkish homes are beautifully designed. Home interiors speak of their aesthetic culture, traditions, and history. Many people utilize the Pestemals as table covers. They are great for laying down on large tables as they fit perfectly due to the large size.
If you visit Turkey, you will soon realize how aesthetic the people in the country can be. Vibrant colors and décor can be seen almost in any setting. You will be able to point out Pestemals used as decoration in some places.