Magazine article Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

Coffeehouses in the Ottoman Era

Magazine article Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

Coffeehouses in the Ottoman Era

Article excerpt

IN ISTANBUL THIS summer selected items from the extensive Suna and Inan Kiraç Foundation's Kütahya Tiles and Ceramics Collection were the centerpiece of the Pera Museum's exhibition "Coffee Break." The popular show explored the routines, rituals and relationships surrounding the Kahvehane (coffeehouse), which emerged as a popular hangout in Istanbul in the 16th century as an alternative to the traditional gathering spots of markets and mosques. News, politics and family events were topics debated in the coffeehouses-the social media of its time.

Second only to Iznik in ceramics production in the Ottoman era, Kütahya was renowned for producing faience (fine tin-glazed pottery) for mosques, churches and official buildings throughout the region. The town, located in western Turkey, continued to produce exquisite tiles and other items in the 18th and 19th centuries, from which time many of the pieces in the collection date. …

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