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Shopping in Istanbul

Covered BazaarOne 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 ofCovered Bazaar finding a treasure.

The Mısır 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.

The 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.

In 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.


TC. Ministry of Tourism
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