To watch İznik tiles being made, visit the İznik Vafkı, or İznik Foundation, at Vakıf Sok 13, near Saray Kapisi (wiznik.com), which was established in 1993 to restart production using traditional methods. It sells tiles of extremely high quality, and correspondingly high price – around TL100 for a 20cm x 10cm border piece. However, numerous other local workshops (atölyes) offer bulk discounts, which bring the price down to a more affordable TL20 for a 10cm x 10cm tile. Be aware, however, that most workshops primarily take orders for domestic customers, and are likely to have only one or two items of each particular design – anyone showing up on spec hoping to decorate an entire kitchen or bathroom is apt to be disappointed.

The best, reasonably priced, one-stop shop is Adil Can Nursan Sanat Atölyesi, just inside the İstanbul Kapısı. Other quality (as opposed to kitsch) shops cluster along Demircan Sokağı and inside the Süleyman Paşa Medresesi, the oldest (1332) Ottoman medrese in Turkey and the first one with an open courtyard, surrounded by eleven chambers and nineteen domes.

The toughest, best, most waterproof – and most expensive – tiles are not ceramic-based but made primarily from locally quarried, finely ground quartz. Quartz-rich tiles are air-porous, have good acoustic qualities (hence their use in mosques), and make good insulators, as they contract slightly in winter and expand in summer.

Travel offers; book through Rough Guides

Turkey features

The latest articles, galleries, quizzes and videos.

The film that will inspire your next trip to Turkey

The film that will inspire your next trip to Turkey

The allure of Istanbul is hard to beat. This thrilling city bridges two continents with a history spanning more than 2000 years. And with Istanbul’s Atatürk …

05 Aug 2015 • Eleanor Aldridge videocam Video
Video: why Cappadocia is best seen from above

Video: why Cappadocia is best seen from above

The ethereal landscape of Cappadocia is one of Turkey's top attractions, and the fields of naturally-hewn "fairy chimneys" and mysterious rock caves here hav…

03 Jun 2015 • Eleanor Aldridge videocam Video
5 street foods you need to try in Istanbul

5 street foods you need to try in Istanbul

One of the most enjoyable ways of tasting the best Istanbul has to offer is to work your way around the city snacking on the incredible street food, s…

28 May 2015 • Rough Guides Editors insert_drive_file Article
View more featureschevron_right

Join over 60,000 subscribers and get travel tips, competitions and more every month

Join over 60,000 subscribers and get travel tips, competitions and more every month