A Complete Guide to Istanbul Bazaars : What to Buy and How to Bargain
How to Visit Istanbul Bazaars and What to Buy
Istanbul Bazaars are a sightseeing adventure as they are, even If you are not planning on buying a thing .
The Grand Bazaar or Kapalicarsi as the locals call it ,is often thought to be a tourist trap but I think it couldn’t be further from the truth . Tourist traps from my experience, are tourist activities that stage the natural environment or experience but are in fact totally fake. Grand Bazaar is as real as it gets , with people living, praying, doing business, getting married and dying there.
And yes, it is precisely as exotic buzzing eastern markets you’ve seen in movies. The environment of the East is in the air !
Whether you are shopping for souvenirs or making it one of your sightseing activities , Bazaar in Istanbul ( and actually in every countery) is the most authentic way to feel the local culture as it is. Even if you don’t plan to buy a thing, the action is not to be missed.
Grand Bazzaar is the largest covered market in the world,and definitely the most visited. It has recently become one of the most popular attractions of the world. A lot of tourists are concerned about getting lost in the labyrinths of shops. And they should be. With over 4,000 stores it might be tricky to navigate.
Pro tip: the Bazaar is laid out on an irregular grid on the hill of one of Istanbul’s seven hills. To find your way back to where you came from, you should just head uphill. The three taxi stands at the top of the Bazaar’s openings.
Spice Bazaar in Istanbul
Spice Bazaar or Misir Carsisi as locals call it is a lovely domed structure on Eminonu Square. Why Egyptian Bazaar? In times of the Ottoman Empire, Egypt served as the central spot for goods from the East sent to Istanbul.
It is often called Spice Bazaar as the most significant part of the market is dedicated to spices and herbs.
The other half is devoted to pretty much everything you can find in the Covered Bazaar except for carpets.
The Spice Bazaar’s most significant advantage is that the L-shaped building is much easier to navigate than the Grand Bazaar’s complex structure, which resembles a maze.
Rows and rows of dried fruit: apricots, pistachios, hazelnuts and almonds, honey-sweet lokum, sold almost for free compared to the US costs. Teas: hibiscus flower, traditional, sumac, and rose-pepper, roses, bags of anise, cumin, saffron, cinnamon. Oh, my. And of course, spices. It is called a Spice Bazaar for a reason. You should be able to find all kinds of exotic herbs singly and in exciting combinations.
One of the most popular items is the Aphrodisiac of Sultans. This blend has 41 spices and herbs such as nutmeg, cream of tartar, clove, tarragon, cinnamon and saffron. Besides its aphrodisiac properties, people believe that it boosts the blood, relieves pain, and protects against insect bites. Some people take it straight for the best effect; some spread it like jam on a toast.
What to buy in Istanbul Bazaars
With the tourism boom came Indian and Asian goods disguising as Turkish trinkets. But you can still find gold and silver, pottery , copper, brass, pottery, onyx and of course , carpets. . Look specifically for leather jackets , wallets, belts .
Leather in Istanbul Bazaars
Turkey is very famous for exceptional quality leather .There are areas dedicated just to leather jackets and clothing. You will find beautiful soft leather purses for less than you would pay for synthetic in the United States.
In the leading jewelry sellers’ street., towards Suleymaniye Mosque, you can find yourself dazzled by the shimmer. This is where jewelry shops sell everything from Indian Wedding jewelry to harem pieces and extravagant designs that show their Ottoman legacy. Many travelers visit the Grand Bazaar just for the silversmith area – the sterling silver dealers are selling outstanding work at low prices.
If you are a copper lover and collector like me, you will be thrilled to browse for original pieces at the Grand Bazaar. Oh , this is a pure haven for a copper junkie!
Big, decorated plates in copper with delicate arabesque motifs.Water jars with long, arched handles; silverware for roasting coffee; decor pieces, lamps, and samovars.
You can detect the origins of many bowls, platters, and other copper pieces by the style of workmanship, and it’s much easier than you think.
Fluted rims on big platters usually denote Persian origin. Anatolian work can be detected by plain edges.
Leaf patterns and a little heavier than usual copper is of Bosnian origin.
Copper pieces with engravings on them are traditional Turkish.
You can’t leave Istanbul without at least one “mavi boncuk” – the evil eye. The most famous symbol of Turkey, after the Turkish delights. The evil eye is basically a good luck charm that you can buy for $1, to hand-blown glass disks in all sorts of sizes.
If you are here for the carpet, you ought to do your homework, as most people overpay and are taken advantage of.
Linen haven . Towels and tablecloths of genuine Turkish cotton, wool blankets and quilted mats and soft cotton towels.
Istanbul Bazaars reflect are the heart and the soul of the nation. Since the trade was invented , people were selling in Istanbul Bazaars. make sure you include a little tour on your next Istanbul visit, I promise, it is so worth it!