Çanakçı Heykeli - Atlas Obscura

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Çanakçı Heykeli

Avanos, Turkey

This giant work of Cappadocian pottery includes a memorial for the artisan who created it.  

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In 1974, the small, historic town of Avanos in the Kapadokya (Cappadocia) region of central Turkey decided to build a statue promoting the region’s long history. The municipality along with a local tourism association commissioned master potter Hacı Ömer Taşkın to design and construct the ceramic statue. 

Taşkın worked for several months to create the monument. He first started with sketches, then experimented with different clay from different regions, and different methods of drying and cooking the clay. In his home, Taşkın devoted an entire room to creating the statue. He even constructed a special kiln to create the sculpture. The monument, which was more than 15 feet tall, was unveiled in 1974. Unfortunately, Taşkın died just beforehand.

The monument consists of several parts. The top part features a man creating traditional Cappadocian pottery. The front of the monument shows a mother and daughter weaving a carpet. The rear shows a woman traveling into a field on a donkey with a child looking out from a saddlebag. The left side shows a smiling tourist holding a bunch of grapes. The right side of the monument originally featured two fish, but after Taşkın’s death, people decided to replace that with a self-portrait bust made as a kind of memorial before he passed away.

The statue has stood in Avanos Cumhuriyet Meydanında (Avanos Republic Square) since 1974, although the section with the weavers was missing for an extended period. Even in such a prominent position, the statue seems to get lost among the various tourist-oriented restaurants, shops, and other businesses within the busy central square, but it is worth taking the time to view and quietly contemplate this monumental piece of craftsmanship.

Know Before You Go

The statue stands in Avanos Cumhuriyet Meydanında (Avanos Republic Square), which is located on a major thoroughfare north of the river that runs through the city. The park is open at all times of day, and the statue is even illuminated at night. Avanos itself can be reached by car or by bus from many nearby cities in central Turkey, including Kayseri and Aksaray.

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