The tree of the ‘Evil Eye’

The ‘evil eye’ is a deeply rooted Mediterranean feature. A superstition it may well be, but, even for the most cosmopolitan of Mediterranean dwellers, the invocation or mention of an ‘evil eye’ causes varying grades of unease.

If you are even remotely Mediterranean, you’ll likely recognise these eye-shaped amulets, called nazars, from Turkey. They’re said to ward off the ‘evil eye’, a curse of misfortune that’s cast by a malevolent glare. These nazars decorate the branches of a tree in Goreme National Park in the Cappadocia region of Turkey, a landscape known for unusual rock formations and extensive underground cities built during the Byzantine era. The dwellings protected residents from hostile invaders, who may or may not have delivered evil curses.