Shopping in Istanbul
could visit Istanbul for the shopping alone. The Kapalı Çarşı,
or Covered Bazaar, in the old city is the logical place to
start. This labyrinth of streets and passages houses more than 4,000
shops. The names recall the days when each trade had its own quarter:
Goldsmiths' street, Carpet sellers' street, Skullcap makers. Still the
commercial center of the old city, the bazaar is the original shopping
mall with something to suit every taste and pocket.
Turkish crafts, the world-renowned carpets,
brilliant handpainted ceramics, copper, brassware, and meerschaum pipes
make charming souvenirs and gifts. The gold jewelry in brilliantly lit
cases blinds passersby. Leather and suede goods of excellent quality make
a relatively inexpensive purchase. The Old Bedesten, in the heart of the
bazaar, offers a curious assortment of antiques. It is worth poking
through the clutter of decades in the hope of
finding a treasure.
Çarşısı or Spice Bazaar, next to Yeni
Mosque in Eminönü, transports you to fantasies of
the mystical East. The enticing aromas of cinnamon, caraway, saffron,
mint, thyme and every other conceivable herb and spice fill the air.
Sultanahmet has become another shopping mecca in the old city. The Istanbul
Sanatlari Çarsısı (Bazaar of Istanbul Arts) in the l8th century
Mehmet Efendi Medresesi, and the nearby l6th century Caferağa Medrese,
built by Sinan, offer a chance to see craftsmen at work and to purchase
their wares. In the Arasta (old bazaar) of the Sultanahmet Mosque, a
thriving shopping arcade makes shopping and sightseeing very convenient.
sophisticated shops of the Taksim-Nisantasi-Sisli districts contrast with
the chaos of the bazaars. On Istiklal Avenue, Cumhuriyet Avenue and Rumeli
Avenue, you can browse peacefully in the most fashionable shops that sell
elegant fashions made from Turkey's high quality textiles. Exquisite
jewelry as well as finely designed handbags and shoes can also be found.
The Ataköy Galleria Mall in Ataköy and Akmerkez Mall in Etiler have
branches of Istanbul's most elegant shops. Bahariye Avenue, Bagdat Avenue,
and Capitol Mall on the Asian side, offer the same goods.
Istanbul's busy flea markets you can find an astonishing assortment of
goods, both old and new. Everyday offers a new opportunity to poke about
the Sahaflar Çarsısı and Çınaraltı in the Beyazıt district. On
Sundays, in a flea market between the Sahaflar and the Covered Bazaar,
vendors uncover their wares on carts and blankets. The Horhor Çarsısı
is a collection of shops that sell furniture of varying age and quality.
The flea market in the Topkapı district, on Çukurcuma Sokak in Cihangir,
on Büyük Hamam Sokak in Üsküdar, in the Kadıköy Çarsı Durağı
area, and between Eminönü and Tahtakale, are open daily. After a Sunday
drive up the Bosphorus, stop between Büyükdere and Sarıyer to wander
through another lively market.