The Ottoman rulers of Turkey encouraged art, architecture and culture. They were patrons of traditional weaving techniques of Turkey and it was under their guidance and support that the “Peshtemal” or the traditional and original organic cotton embroidered bath towel reached the heights of its glory.
Peshtemals are unique and exclusive towels
Now in the 21st century Peshtemals, or the Embroidered Bath Towels are still very popular and carry their rich heritage with them. They are well-known for two main reasons:
– History associated with their origin in the early 18th century and the royal patronage.
– Unique features of the towels that are not found in other towels.
Before delving in detail into the above two reasons, it would be worthwhile to know a little more about the Peshtemal towels.
Peshtemals are large-sized embroidered bath towels used not only in Turkish baths, but globally and are very different from a conventional terry towels. Although flat and velvety soft, they are extremely strong and typically every Peshtemal has a stylish handcrafted fringe that makes it a chic item of fashion as well as an object of practical use. Hand embroidery is a key element of every Peshtemal towel that makes it stand out from the others. In many Peshtemal towels there are fancy tassels tied at the fringes.
Origin of embroidered bath towels and their use by the royalty
The Peshtemal towels were used by member of the royal family on special occasions as well as on a regular daily basis. As per folklore, ceremonial baths of a bride before her wedding were incomplete without a Peshtemal towel. The Sultan, or king was expected to gift an embroidered bath towel to every guest at the wedding.
For everyday purpose, the Peshtemal towels were used for bathing in Turkish hammams. Even the king used to sport the towel in the hammam. Gradually, over the years the Peshtemal towel became the most indispensable piece of the king’s wardrobe and changes began to be made in the size and form of the towel.
Embroidered bath towels have a special weaving pattern
The region around Bursa in Turkey is well known for towel weaving as the first Turkish towels date back to the 18th century. Weavers invented different techniques for these towels. One of the techniques was known as ‘havly’ and it consisted of a row of loops that looked like small rectangular shaped raised areas on the fabric. This was quite an invention at that time and was considered unique because it was actually a second warp thread that the weavers had made and pulled over the surface of the material by locking it in place with a weft thread.
Over the years weavers started spreading the loops over the entire piece of the towel and this led to the emergence of a much thicker, more luxurious bath towel. The ‘havly’ invention came to be known as havlu, means towel in Turkish language – ‘hav’ meaning the loops and ‘lu’ with … ‘with loops’.
It is this special weaving technique that provides a unique feature to embroidered bath towels that is not found anywhere else. Secondly, embroidered bath towels are made from pure organic cotton and are eco-friendly. They are quick drying, easy to carry and durable for machine wash and rough handling.
Embroidery makes the towel stand out
Embroidered bath towels are in high demand in popular luxury hotel chains and resorts. That is because these towels are associated with sophistication and luxury and hotels are conscious of their brand image. They want to offer the best bathroom linen to their guests and cannot compromise on the comfort of the customer. Hence, it becomes essential for them to offer the towels with their name and logo embroidered on the towels. This positions the hotel into a leadership role and improves the brand recall value of the hotel.
Usually the embroidery is done keeping in mind the pattern already embroidered on the towels so that consistency is maintained.
Ordering embroidered bath towels
Letters from Bosphorus lets you relive the old times with its wide range of embroidered bath towels. You can easily order them online now and the enjoy the rich heritage of these towels.