Our shop Shirdak has been situated in Amsterdam for more than 10 years now.
Amsterdam is very popular among tourists. The 17th-century centre is unique in the world. The canals with the merchant houses along it look very romantic in every season.
Shirdak is very proud to be situated along one of these beautiful canals, the Prinsengracht number 192.
Opposite our shop is the old Wester Church dated 1631. For a long time it was the largest protestant church in the world. The Wester Church has the highest church tower of Amsterdam; it cannot be missed.
Another important sight-seeing venue near our shop is the Anne Frank house. This is the house where Anne’s family was hiding from the Nazi prosecution during WW2. It can be visited in its original state. In the famous diary of Anne Frank the church is mentioned many times.
The Prinsengracht is the longest of the three main canals. The other two are the Keizersgracht and the Herengracht. This 17th-century project took 50 years to dig. The bridges around our shop across the Prinsengracht connect you with the old Jewish area: the Jordaan district.
Beside this historical location of our shop, with its interesting sightseeing spots, the area is great for shopping. In the Nine Street shopping area, on the Rozengracht and in the Jordaan you will have a great time in finding original gifts.
And do not miss us, Shirdak at the Prinsengracht 192. Stop for a cup of coffee, a nice chat and enjoy our unique handmade arts and crafts.
Every year I go to the djailoo,the Kyrgyz alps, to stay in a yurt for a couple of days. Yurts are the felted houses of the Turkish speaking tribes from Central Asia.
My yurt is always at the same family in Kyrgyzstan. Once I slept in a yurt in Uzbekistan, in the middle of no where. The trip was organized by a travel agency. The yurt was beautiful clean and everything, but it didn’t belong to a family. A couple of man working for the agency lived in these yurts. After sunset they had great fun with each other and their vodka drinks. That’s ok when you are traveling in a group, but I was alone and the door of my yurt, as all yurt doors couldn’t be closed. I didn’t sleep well that night.
The shape of a yurt is like the view on the world of the animistic believing tribes. The dome shaped sky en the round flat world.
The round fence has been made of bent twigs. The sticks are tied together with leather, no iron is used in the yurt.
The top of the round dome is open to release the smoke from the fireplace. It is called Tündük. Around the fence the Chii is stretched , it is a mat made of reeds. Sometimes beautiful patterns of wool are woven into the reeds. The threshold is closed by a thick felt door. The outer side of the tent is covered with thick felt, a good protection against the rain and wind.
Inside the women section is at the right, with the kitchen. On the left side we see the garment for cattle breeding and hunting, the section of the man. Opposite the entrance all kind of textiles like carpets, felt rugs, quilts are piled on trunks. The place in front of the trunks is also the place of honor , the place for guests to be seated.
Several felt rugs are put on the floor in the yurt. And of course we have to take our shoes of..
In April 2001, I travelled to Peshawar, North Pakistan near the border of Afghanistan. From my first step, I fell in love with the smell and sounds of Central Asia. Read more My Central Asian Awakening ›