A Tradition Lasting Six Hundred Years

Yemeni that keeps foot warm in winter and cools in summer is a craft work that needs detailed handwork. Beside it nowadays produced for demonstration purpose in old days it’s fashionable for farmers, brides and shepherds in village and rich persons in towns. Nowadays two craftsmen, trying to keep Yemeni in history’s scene by applying their master craft souvenir from grand fathers.

Yemeni is kind of a shoe that flat heeled with red or black goat skin coat and water buffalo skin sole. Nowadays mostly demanded by tourists and folk dance groups and our authentic value have no daily usage in our life. Yemeni has forms in the hand of two craftsmen.

In the old days, in Gaziantep bazaar which is biggest and lively bazaar in Anatolia that had hundreds of Yemeni makers, now back to back in two shop two craftsman make their best.

One of them Recep Usta represents the old generation Yemeni craftsman who continues the heritage from their grandfather by applying red and black ancient traditional colors , beside that in the Hayri Usta's shop had continue that for four generation.

In the beginning Hayri Usta’s Son seized the magic of black and red colors. And can not leave this job. Time by time by trying different colors that breaks the red and black tradition, Yemeni had new colors and by requests design new models and new motifs.
An Ancestors Tradition

Yemeni, ancient historical shoe is about to be forgotten, however it is an ancient art that lasting from father to son in Gaziantep . As a part of Islamic culture, Yemeni exists in this region about six hundred years. In ancient day's Yemeni models and names differs from region to region, and produced in near province Kilis, Kahramanmaraş and Elazığ. Traditional Yemeni production in Anatolia is based on old history first it was produced in Yemen and then Aleppo lastly in Gaziantep . A rumor has it that the fist master craftsman that produced Yemeni's name was Yemen-i Ekber and so that he give his name to this shoes.

First the natural colors of skin were used but then red and black color included. Nowadays from orange to brown, from blue to green in all color range it’s produced. Some of them like a slipper open ended and some of them like a natural shoes. Also Yemeni’s boots are produced and send to Hollywood movie sets. At Movie of Troy, Orhan Çakıroğlu had made the boots of Brad Pitt “Achilles”

The craft that needs patience

Yemeni is not an easy-made craft. All the parts are made by hands. Firstly the sole and the face of Yemeni are sewing together then turn Yemeni’s inside out. It’s the most characteristic feature with the being without heel. Sole is made of tanned cattle and water buffalo skin, called as “gön”. The face is made from tanned goat skin called “sahtiyan”. Sahtiyan has four colors; Black, rose peach (bright red), annabi (purple) and yellow (only used at “edik ciddesi” which is short boot). And sheep skin is uses inside tanned called “meşin”. Seytiyan and meşin joined with tanned goat skin called “sızı kayışı”. The yarn that used in sewing called as “gön sızı” or “saya” yarn. It’s too hard to pass the yarn through the gön and meşin.

Formerly wax is smeared to yarn to make the sewing easy and to stop the rotting. So that sahtiyan and meşin are sewed together with sizi. Remained parts are glued together with a kind of glue called “çiriş”. Lastly created a Yemeni from 5 types out one. That were halebi, markup, Tapered head, Long ear or eğri simli.

Yemeni Types

Halebi is the first model of Yemeni which used at Villages. Since it has come from Aleppo (Halep in Turkish) It has this name. In this model: Face is craggy to both two sides; Head is curved towards face; and with long ear. Halebi covers the foot till the ankle. It has two type colour; Annabi (Purple) or red (called rose, or peach in colour)

Aleppo and Arabian origin Merkup is mostly uses by the Urban people. In this model short face, no ear, same level front and back sides, rounded head and flat. Head is tapered and up-curved as could understand from its name. It carries some same features with Halebi such as face, ear, colour and uses at villages. Black, annabi (purple) red (called rose, or peach in colour) colours are available and today it is used at urban area.

Egri Simli, Short as Merkup, has tapered and up-curved head. It is available at rose and peach colours. It is embroidered with silver wire. Mostly the women and brides are using at villages.

There are two kind of boot namely “Hayde” which one of them called “Ciftci Haydesi” uses by farmers other one uses by shepards and guards called “Bekci Haydesi”. And a “edik” which is available yellow coloured for Brides.

Nowadays, such Yemeni types manufactred upon request. Hovewer, there are 10 different types of traditnional Yemeni:

•  Small Hasbe: for 7 years old
•  Big Hasbe: for 9-10 years old
•  Vastani: number, 34 - 35
•  Middle foot: number, 36 - 37
•  Zegender: number, 38 – 39
•  Ges: number, 40 – 41
•  Lorba: number, 42-43
•  Uzger: number, 44
•  Uluayak: number, 45
•  Zelber: for big foots which has no number