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The Nazar

Turkish: Nazar Boncugu Old Turkish: Muncuk (blue bead) When travelling in North Cyprus you cannot fail to miss this dark blue, eye like, symbol. It is found as a talisman on buildings, homes, cars, keychains, necklaces, amulets and a huge array of tourist gifts from local gift shops. It even appears above the door of our on-site restaurant Joya Bar and Bistro. Nazar is originally a Phoenician word and means Sight, Attention or Surveillance. It is traditionally described as a symbol that wards off the ‘Evil Eye’. Although ironically looks like an eye itself. The term to give the evil eye has different meanings in itself, in the English language it tends to be consider an anger, or glare of disgust. It the east it is more connected to a glare of bitter intention, or perhaps even lust. The talisman is believed to reflect the ‘evil’ back to the projector. It is also said that it ‘sees’ and thus removes poverty

The Nazar legend is that it must be given as gift, and not purchased for oneself, in order for it to work and be protecting. Were you given yours? Adding the Nazar symbol the glassware was certainly lucky for the art world in Turkey. It saved the old Turkish glassware industry from closure. It was deemed that the furnaces used were a potential fire risk and a disturbance. Introducing the symbol revived the perception of the industry. The glass beads containing the eyes are today still some of the most produced versions of the symbol in Turkey. They have become a glass art. On June 5th this year the Nazar symbol was added as an Emoji. So now people can send them to others, as protection gifts direct from their phones too. It remains to be seen if this will affect tourist gift shops sales….

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