The History Of Towels

Unctuous, elegance, myriad are the words that describe a peshtemal which is popularly known as Turkish towel in the world. As the name suggests, Turkish towels are a product of the rich cotton grown in Turkey and the robust method of handpicking the cotton is what which imparts the topmost echelon to Turkish Towels in the global textile and apparel industry. The history of Turkish towels can be traced back to Turkish hammams. Hammams or bathhouses strike a chord with Roman Empire spread across Europe, East Mediterranean and North Africa and was made renowned by this empire.

The hammams were the place frequently visited by mothers to look for prospective brides. According to ancient traditions of Ottoman Turkey when a couple is about to get married, they would gift each other a bath set or hammam including the towel. The Turkish towels were proportionately long enough to be draped around the body consisting of towels for different body parts like the shoulder, head, hips and served the purpose of hammam because they did not become hefty after absorbing the water and remained light.

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The Ottoman dynasty of sultans can be considered as the harbingers of the crafty Turkish towel industry. The Ottomans in the 17 century weaved their phenomenal carpet-making skills and their dexterity into a solid fabric of Turkish or Terry Towel or Turkish fabric business. The economical, flexible and skilled subjects of the Empire worker brought new intricacies, designs and colour into towel making. The demand for these towels increased over the next century thereby making the first looped towel which was called havly.

The weavers found that a loop could be made by the use of second warp thread and piercing it into the below surface of the towel which was then closed in the place along the length of the warp by using a shuttle. With the increase in looping threads havly was almost covered in loops and this marked the commencement of the use of modern day towels. These towels have gained fame around the world because the cotton sown in the soil of Anatolia or hand-loomed from the Black Sea or Aegean regions is turned into yarn and manually woven, washed, dried and made into soft, light and highly absorbing and exquisite Turkish towels. They take up small space and therefore can be easily folded and stashed into any place with space constraints. The cotton grown in Turkey is primarily upland type which does the jugglery act of having the elements of quality, cost, fibre strength, absorbency and staple length very well.

Turkey has become a global competitor in the production of towels and the exports have augmented on both volume and value parameters. Turkish towels have carved a niche for themselves with regard to the use of embroidery and jacquard technology and lace handicraft. These towels have always been the feather in the cap of Turkish labourers for the amazing motifs of stripes and colour which have found their way into contemporary living style. The towel hub is mainly centred in Istanbul, Usak, Bursa, Izmir and Denizli.


The city of Denizli is majorly anchored by the towel manufacturing sector. The Aegean cotton of Denizli is thought to finesse when the quality of cotton is questioned. The transformation of this cotton into towels gives excellent softness, warmth and absorbency. Turkish towels are yearned for their ease of drying, for its tendency to become softer with subsequent laundering and its adorned hems. Often called simple luxury, the Turkish towels made of lines, cotton, bamboo and silk have expanded their use from bathrobes to hand or dish towels and to shoulder wrap. The can also be used as furniture covers as they can grace any room with a Bohemian tinge and can be casually used to cover the furniture with its beautiful fabric.

They also work wonders when used as bed runners. Their colourful lines and embroidered edges can complement the other beddings of the bed and enhance the look of the bed leaving you with touch of softest fabric.  Owing to their ample size they can be used as beach towels, sarongs, baby blanket and scarf and as holiday gifts.

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