Wednesday 31 October 2007

Turkish spiders

Today was a funny thread going on the European Street Team on Etsy, about Turkish spiders. Apparently arachnophobia is very common. We have no problems with spiders, we have other phobias (that we keep secret).

But, did you know that spiders have a kind of holy status here in Turkey?
According to the legend, the prophet Mohammed fleeing for his enemies through the dessert, took refuge in a cave. The spiders immediately wove a dense web at the entrance of the cave. Mohammed’s enemies noticed the cave, but because of the web assumed that nobody had used the cave in a long time, and continued on. The prophet was so saved by the spiders.

By the way, exactly the same legend exists with turtle doves building their nest at the entrance of the cave. Turtle doves or collared doves come originally from Jordan, but are very common in Turkey as well, beautiful birds with pinkish brown feathers, always in twos, faithful for life.

When I was a civil engineer working for Amsterdam’s city hall we had two lady visitors, two architects from South America. In Amsterdam, pigeons are a plague, their detritus causing severe damage to buildings, because of its acidity, so that many historical buildings have to be wrapped in metal mesh, to prevent the birds letting their droppings on window sills and so.
I was explaining to those ladies what a big nuisance these pigeons were, and they started to giggle uncontrollably. Asked what was so funny, they say: How can something that you can eat, be a nuisance?

Tja,…how indeed?


  1. Star(s) - I am happy, our talk about Turkish spiders was so inspirational! And thank you for sharing these most interesting legends and spider/dove creations.

    This was most enjoyable night reading :)

  2. Nice post!
    Did you know that on friday you shouldn't kill a spider (in Turkey), brings bad luck, they say. So no cleaning on fridays! :)