Significance of Iznik Tiles on a tour of Istanbul, Turkey

We all share the desire to take out time from our everyday lives and pay a visit to the rest of the world. Turkey, in this regard, is a country which a large number of people across the globe fancy for tourism. It is currently ranked the 6th most visited countries in the world. The capital city, Istanbul, is well known for its history, shopping centers, Turkish delights and the sort. Among these amazing attractions lies something that provides everyday ceramics as though each artifact has a historical story behind it. These are known as the “Iznik Ceramics”.

Iznik Pottery was named after a town in western Anatolia where it was first made back in the 15th century. The ceramics were a huge hit with the royal families of the time in several different countries until their hype fell off in the 17th century. The products varied from Iznik style plates and cups to floor tiles. Initially, they were crafted using high quality pottery with a frit ware body painted with blue cobalt under a colorless transparent lead glaze. From a more technical perspective, their glasslike quartz glaze provides excellent insulation and allows amazing long term maintenance. Furthermore, their quartz body and porous character is able to absorb humidity and static electricity. Other tiles are usually installed with grouting to prevent their quality from falling off. Since these tiles are installed without any visible grouting, they manage to prevent bacteria or fungus growth and stay flashy and strong for a long time.


Master artisans, also known as the “nakkash”, worked long and hard to create a solid mathematical formula to create designs that had both a symbolic and a spiritual significance! The ceramics were created using geometric patterns along with the natural and floral ones. The Iznik tiles not only provided a richly decorated interior, but also helped keep the rooms cool during hot summers.

Places to See Best Iznik tiles, Rustempasha Mosque

When taking a tour of Istanbul, the Topkapi Palace, Sultan Ahmed Mosque and Rustem Pasha Mosque are considered to be quite the landmarks. The Palace has both its interior and exterior covered using a beautiful blue shade of the Iznik tiles. The Sultan Ahmed Mosque, however, takes their use to the next level as it contains almost twenty thousand tiles. The shade used is blue again, which is why the Mosque is better known as the Blue Mosque. The Rustem Pasha Mosque is also well known for its use of exquisite Iznik tiles set in a wide variety of designs. Using red color as their theme, this Mosque exhibits the use of these tiles with utmost lavishness. The robust nature of the Iznik tiles is probably the main reason most of these centuries old landmarks have stayed in such a good shape and we are able to admire their beauty. 

When visiting a city with such magnificent historical significance, it would undoubtedly be a huge oversight on your part to be unaware of such an important detail.

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Emre, local guide of Real Istanbul Tours

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