While we were in Turkey, we went to the small town of Milas. The drive from Akbük, where we were staying, to Milas takes just over an hour. There are two options: take the highway or take the road over the Mentese mountains. We chose to drive over the twisting roads of the mountains and were rewarded with fantastic views.
Once in Milas we first went to the Milas Museum, an archaeological and ethnological museum which is in the city centre, but unfortunately it was closed. The sign on the door stated that the museum will be relocated, but when and where is not mentioned. The garden of the museum is freely accessible, and there are relics everywhere, probably from the Byzantine, Hellenistic and Ottoman eras. However, there is no one we can ask, so we decided to make our way to the second museum.
Milas is known for its colourful stone houses that used to be painted red, yellow or blue. One of them, the “Emin Aga Mansion” was restored last year and is now accessible as a museum. The entrance is free, just leave an identity card at the entrance and pick it up after your visit.
The stone houses have a special construction. Foundations made of stone indicate a certain prosperity, as does the colour blue. Blue is found in the entrance of the Emin Aga Mansion. The colour was also used in the main rooms in form of completely painted walls or borders. The upper floor has a beautiful dark wooden floor.
We are so excited about this small, cute museum and the fact that we have the museum curator all to ourselves. We ask him all types of questions and he answers them willingly and shows us some black and white pictures hanging on one of the walls. The family pictured were the former residents of the house and he tells us that the little girl in the picture was born in one of the living rooms, and now she is 76 years old. So, we get deeper insights into the former life of this house.
After visiting all the rooms, we are invited to a Turkish coffee. Just because. The curator then tells us why a glass of water is served with a Turkish coffee. When a guest arrived, they were handed a Turkish coffee (Türk kahvesi) and a glass of water. If the guest drank the water first, the host knew they were hungry, and so a big meal was served. If the guest drank the coffee first, then the host knew that they were full and needed nothing.
So, in addition to the hospitality we received, we also learned why coffee is served with water.
How to make Carpets
In the same museum where we visited the beautiful restored stone house, there is also a carpet museum.
Carpets that were made from multiple eras are on display, and we got to know everything about making a rug while watching a movie.
A young lady gave us a demostration on how a rug is knitted, and then she let me give it a try. It’s fun, but the idea of sitting on your knees working on a rug for a month or two is not exactly appealing to me. She tells us that she learned how to make rugs at the age of ten. She made herself a beautiful rug for her dowry with the help of her sister. Proudly she showed us pictures of her work on her mobile. She notices that we are very interested and so she personally leads us through the rooms of the museum. She tells me that her English is not that good, which makes her a little shy to speak, but she says she has started taking an English class.
Milas is known for its great carpets. The oldest examples are from the 17th to the 19th century and are exhibited in the most famous museums throughout Turkey. The rare arrangement of narrow and wide borders is the hallmark of the Milas rugs, and they are still made by local women.