The Ceramics Shop With a Cave Full of Women's Hair

Atlas Obscura
Your Guide to the World's Hidden Wonders
Oct. 16 2013 9:45 AM

Why There's a Cave Full of Women's Hair in This Turkish Ceramics Shop

Atlas Obscura on Slate is a new travel blog. Like us on Facebook, Tumblr, or follow us on Twitter @atlasobscura.

Avanos, a small town in the Cappodocian area of Turkey, has a history of ceramics and pottery dating back thousands of years. But visitors are increasingly interested in seeing a much newer attraction: a cave full of human hair.

In 1979, local potter Galip Korukcu was bidding farewell to a dear friend. When he asked for a memento to remember her by, she cut off a piece of her hair. Korukcu stuck it on one of the walls of his shop—located in a cave—and told the story to visitors and tourists who passed through. Not to be outdone, other women began to contribute their own locks of their hair.  

Advertisement

The hair museum now crams an estimated 16,000 hair samples onto its walls. Female visitors are welcome to snip off a few strands of hair and attach them to a card with their contact details to add to the display. Pencils, paper, pins, and scissors are provided.

There is an added incentive for contributing to the collection: Twice a year, Korukcu asks a customer to choose 10 winning hair samples from the walls. The owners of the tresses receive a free week-long stay in the connected guest house and workshops with the master potter.

Shining, gleaming, streaming, flaxen, waxen:


View Chez Galip in a larger map

TODAY IN SLATE

Politics

The Irritating Confidante

John Dickerson on Ben Bradlee’s fascinating relationship with John F. Kennedy.

My Father Invented Social Networking at a Girls’ Reform School in the 1930s

Renée Zellweger’s New Face Is Too Real

Sleater-Kinney Was Once America’s Best Rock Band

Can it be again?

The All The President’s Men Scene That Captured Ben Bradlee

Medical Examiner

Is It Better to Be a Hero Like Batman?

Or an altruist like Bruce Wayne?

Technology

Driving in Circles

The autonomous Google car may never actually happen.

The World’s Human Rights Violators Are Signatories on the World’s Human Rights Treaties

How Punctual Are Germans?

  News & Politics
The World
Oct. 21 2014 11:40 AM The U.S. Has Spent $7 Billion Fighting the War on Drugs in Afghanistan. It Hasn’t Worked. 
  Business
Moneybox
Oct. 21 2014 5:57 PM Soda and Fries Have Lost Their Charm for Both Consumers and Investors
  Life
The Vault
Oct. 21 2014 2:23 PM A Data-Packed Map of American Immigration in 1903
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 21 2014 1:12 PM George Tiller’s Murderer Threatens Another Abortion Provider, Claims Right of Free Speech
  Slate Plus
Behind the Scenes
Oct. 21 2014 1:02 PM Where Are Slate Plus Members From? This Weird Cartogram Explains. A weird-looking cartogram of Slate Plus memberships by state.
  Arts
Behold
Oct. 21 2014 12:05 PM Same-Sex Couples at Home With Themselves in 1980s America
  Technology
Future Tense
Oct. 21 2014 4:14 PM Planet Money Uncovers One Surprising Reason the Internet Is Sexist
  Health & Science
Climate Desk
Oct. 21 2014 11:53 AM Taking Research for Granted Texas Republican Lamar Smith continues his crusade against independence in science.
  Sports
Sports Nut
Oct. 20 2014 5:09 PM Keepaway, on Three. Ready—Break! On his record-breaking touchdown pass, Peyton Manning couldn’t even leave the celebration to chance.