What shape do Turkish eyes have

The Turkish Eye (Nazar Boncugu) is the most popular souvenir from Turkey

D.he Nazar Boncugu (Turkish Eye) is a small talisman in the shape of a teardrop-shaped blue eye.

You have certainly seen the symbol before.

The belief in his strength as a lucky charm is omnipresent in Turkey.

According to Turkish popular belief, the amulet should protect its wearer from the evil eye.

Its meaning can be compared to a horseshoe or a hare's paw. But the eye looks clearly nicer. That is why the Turkish Eye is one of the most popular souvenirs from Turkey.

The lucky charm from Turkey, Nazar Boncugu amulet

The word Nazar comes from the Arabic language. Translated it means something like look, see or attention.

In the Turkish language, Nazar Boncugu means "pearl of the eye" in a simple translation. A common name for the Nazar amulet is Eye of Fatima, after the youngest daughter of the Prophet Mohamed.

You see the blue amulet everywhere during a vacation in Turkey. The classic example is a chain with the black eye on the inside rearview mirror of taxi or bus drivers.

It should also help protect valuables and houses. Almost all hotels have a Turkish Eye hanging over the entrance. The same goes for homes, businesses, and restaurants.

In the port of Bodrum, Nazar amulets are even inlaid in the pavement of the pedestrian zone. Just keep your eyes open and you will see the Nazar Boncugu more often than the Turkish flag in Turkey.

What is the evil eye anyway?

Some see the blue Nazar amulet as an image of the evil eye. This is wrong. The Nazar amulet represents the benevolent eye as protection from the evil eye. You cannot buy the evil eye. People have the view or not.

The evil eye is a kind of curse. It is an answer to the age-old question of why bad things happen to good people.

The curse goes back to the millennia-old superstition that a jealous look turns the other person into disaster. Healthy people get sick by looking at them, crystal vases break into a thousand pieces and someone drives into the brand new car from behind at the next set of traffic lights.

The look is an integral part of Turkish popular belief

According to Turkish popular belief, people with light blue eyes should have a natural talent for the evil eye. One theory is that the amulet is the opposite of the blue eyes.

Some also believe that people with good intentions can look bad without knowing it.

Babies and children are said to be particularly susceptible to the evil eye damage. Therefore, nice words about how cute a child is are often associated with a mashallah to show that there is no envy.

Maschallah is easiest to translate as "willed by God".

Origin, where does the story of the Turkish Eye come from?

A 5,000 year old clay tablet from Mesopotamia is the oldest representation of the Nazar Eye.

Its current importance can be traced back to ancient Egypt around 3,000 years ago. It is said to have originally symbolized the protective eye of the god Osiris and Horus.

The Romans called the gaze Malus and the Greeks Baskania. Today the Italians call it Mallochio, the Spaniards Mal Ojo and in Hebrew it is called Ayin Hara. You can even find the eye in Mexico by the name Ojo de Vanado.

The first writings from Anatolia about the evil eye come from the Hittites around 3,000 years ago.

Christians, Jews and Islam know the evil eye

Evil eye is mentioned in famous literary works, including the Bible (Proverbs 23: 6: "Do not eat the bread of the one who has an evil eye and do not ask for his tender flesh"). The evil eye also appears in the Koran and in Shakespeare's plays.

The seafaring people of the Phoenicians and Carthaginians painted the eye as a talisman on the bow of their ships. You can still see the Horus or Osiris eye on the bow of the traditional Maltese luzzu boats. The boats have a Christian name, but the eye is painted on the ships as a good luck charm.

Irish farmers hang a similarly shaped blue ball named Droch-shuil over their barn doors. It is supposed to protect animals from the envious gaze of the neighbors.

Even the "all-seeing eye of God" in the Christian faith is said to go back to the eye of Osiris and the thought of the evil eye. You see the all-seeing eye on the American dollar bills on top of a pyramid.

I found a report from UNESCO that today 36% of all cultures know the evil eye.

Manufacture and construction: this is how you make a Turkish eye

Traditional Turkish Nazar amulets are made of glass.

In the middle of the amulets is a black pupil. It is enclosed with a light blue ring. Then comes a narrow white ring and then a wide dark blue ring to close the Turkish eye.

The entire amulet is shaped like a drop of water. On the narrow upper side there is usually a hole for a hanging thread.

The traditional way of making the Nazar amulets from glass originally comes from Mesopotamia. From there it spread through Syria to Anatolia. The first workshops were on the Turkish Aegean in Bodrum and Izmir.

The village of Nazarköy in Izmir is said to be the actual home of the symbol in Turkey. The following video from Turkey Home briefly shows you the village and a traditional manufactory.

The Turkish Eye is so ubiquitous in Izmir that even the city's logo is a Nazar amulet. Instead of a light blue ring, in Izmir a yellow ring surrounds the pupil inside. You can often see the shape of the eye in the Aegean.

Unfortunately, interest in the traditional manufacture of amulets has also waned in Izmir. Cheaper and easier-to-work materials like plastic have replaced glass.

There are only a few factories left that make the real Nazar Boncugu out of glass

The last traditionally run manufacturers are in the villages of Nazarköy, Cumaovasi and Görece near Izmir and in Bodrum.

Today the amulets are available in different sizes. The smallest eyes are only the size of a pinhead. They look like little pearls.

In addition to the normal shape, there are different variants with decorations. In Egypt, the eye with a final golden border is common. You rarely see that in Turkey.

In the Middle East and North Africa there is the hand of Fatima. This is the inside of a hand that is held out towards you like the stop symbol. In the middle of the hand is a Turkish eye.

A few final words

Millions of Turks take the concept of the evil eye very seriously. Others see it more like: â € œIf it doesnâ € ™ t help, at least it wonâ € ™ t do any harm.â €

The little talisman is a nice touch to me.

The myth has made the eye one of the most popular souvenirs from Turkey. It is also a nice present for a birthday, a wedding or just with friends.

I bet you that you will find a stand with the amulets every 10m in a bazaar in the holiday resorts.

Bracelets, bracelets and key rings with the Turkish eye are particularly popular.

If you believe the eye will protect you from bad luck, then don't worry if it breaks.

At that very moment, it protected you from the evil eye.

You should then swap it out quickly.

Remember with Pinterest!


Hi, my name is Thomas. It’s good that you’re here! I spend many months in Turkey every year. You can find my collected tips and experiences in the Turkey travel blog. Follow me on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram!

Similar posts