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is another pleasure of any vacation or even business trip. In Turkey you
are able to buy special handicrafts which vary from one region to another.
Authentic bazaars, rug(carpet) and kilim workshops besides other
traditional handicraft centers are offering pleasant shopping. The most
well-known shopping center is Kapalicarsi, The Grand Covered Bazaar of
Istanbul. The Spice Bazaar is also in the neighborhood.
famous Turkish rugs and kilims are uncomparable in respect of quality and
beauty. You will certainly have a great pleasure in selecting and buying
different rugs woven with various styles in different parts of Turkey.
Turkish leather and textile products reflecting the latest fashion are
attracting the visitors of malls with reasonable prices. The origins of
jewellery go back to the neolithic age in Anatolia. Several designs have
been created combining the ancient styles with those of the future. Silver
and gold jewellery with precious stones are most popular items of shopping
A number of art and antique galeries in the neighborhood of the Grand Bazaar. They sell rare pieces of Ottoman engravings, silverware, needlework, illuminations, ceramics & tiles, paintings and contemporary art. Visiting these kind of merchants is highly recommended.
valuable item for shopping is hand-painted ceramics and porcelain, which
is originating from Iznik, Istanbul & Kutahya.
traditional art presents many samples over hundreds of years to
international collections. A number of souvenir shops offer a wide range
of popular gift items at attractive rates, such as laces, kanavice (canvas
embroidery) yemeni (colour print cotton scarves), copperware and gifts
made of brass and marble.
are several shops and fashion boutiques at different malls in several
cities. Galleria Atakoy, Akmerkez, Capitol in Istanbul, Karum and Atakule
in Ankara, Oasis in Bodrum are some of these shopping malls. In these
malls you can easily find modern shopping items at very attractive rates
besides well-known brands from fashion centers of the world.
is very easy since you can use all major credit cards, if you do not wish
to pay cash. Many shopkeepers and other staff in retail shops speak
English and they are attentive and willing to show and introduce their
goods. Shopping in Turkey is a part of a great vacation.
and enjoy the destination. Youll love it!
Indulge in a shopping spree! What is money for anyway!?
Search and Stroll through
"The Stores in Turkey"
Flying Carpets, Glittering
Jewelry, Fine Leather goods and Leatherware, Beautiful Tiles,
Await You here!
SHOPPING FROM THE COVERED BAZAAR TO NISANTASI
In Istanbul where thousands of business centers producing small handcrafts to heavy industry organizations are located, it is natural the consumption, too, be in conformity to those sizes. While Istanbul sells her production to other sectors of Turkey and abroad, it works the other way round in foodstuffs. Various centers of Turkey tries to feed Istanbul. Her manufacturing capacity is so great that she is capable of meeting 1/10 of Turkey's needs. With this state of her, Istanbul resembles a giant which is dexterous and powerful but hard to feed.
If it were possible to make an inquiry at any time of any day, it would be possible to see thousands of merchants who came to Istanbul to buy something.
People visiting any foreign country with touristical purposes would of course buy some souvenirs to take back to their country. This is rather different in Istanbul, here shopping occupies a place important enough to be included in daily schedule. The foreign tourists automatically wish to do so. It must be added that number of groups including shopping as the first item in their schedule cannot be underestimated. This is an indication that there are things for anyone to buy in Istanbul. What is available in Istanbul? What is not? In istanbul a historical atmosphere and a folklore view carried forward by various traditions are added to that colorfulness and activity observed in large shopping centers in any country and city. Therefore, even if you don't have any intention for shopping, you may feel like asking yourself "why don't I shop and join others in this amusement ?". Yes, shopping in the Covered Bazaar in Mısır Carsisi (spice market) and Mahmutpasa is something even beyond amusement.
J. Pardoe, who describes Istanbul in l9th century, says, "the Covered Bazaar of Istanbul is something like the thousand and one nights for Europeans. Neither the historical value of At Meydani nor the dignity and splendour of St. Sophia is as interesting as the shopping area of the city among these three seas. The covered Bazaar of Istanbul beams like the magic lantern of Aladdin in tales.
This famous market initial foundation of which goes back to the l5th century has been enlarged, partially burned, repaired and subjected to some modifications on various dates. Despite all these, she has not lost any part of her mystic at mosphere Covered Bazaar, with all the structures like streets, squares, masjids (mosque without minaret) and fountains is respected as a city. With her size, vividness and wealth she is matchless in the world. Covered Bazaar is real oriental and is the abundance itself. There, the business, art and the folklore are combined.
This gigantic market with a surface area of 47.600 square meter has 61 streets and 3600 shops. During summer seasons, 7000 tourists visit and make shopping there in a day. In the Ottoman period it was arranged in a manner to meet all of the needs of people, except foodstuffs. According to that arrangement, each specific subject or group of tradesmen had a separate street. Since the jewellers, money changers and goldsmiths were also here, it was treated as another treasure of the country and was protected with extraordinary measures. Today again, the jewelry shops are the ones which add color to the Covered Bazaar and the Bazaar is again under strict safety measures.
In the old days, cosmopolitan people of Istanbul Society with assorted costumes, used to form a color jollification with their fezes, turbans, baggy trousers and sashes and do their shopping on the streets with covered tops. Today it provides services for a more cosmopolitan society with the tourists from all over the world. Consumer goods formerly sold in ordinary shops, today again are sold therein. The only difference is the fact that such goods are being sold in antiquity stores in the same market. Covered Bazaar must be learned not only with its existing shops and their display windows loaded with goods and commodities, but also with its surroundings. Quite a large number of business places and workshops, tend to disappear and encircle all around the market simply race with each other for producing goods for it. These shops formerly had taken place within the market. A ring you see in a shop-window, is handled by same number of artificers settled in gloomy inns, as the number of processes they have gone through.
Liveliness on the main streets of the market may not be observed on the side streets, but here you live the old Covered Bazaar more thoroughly. Owners of shops inviting passing-by people to their shops by bowing in front of their doors are far more courteous than those sticky sellers who try to flute to tourists on streets. If they invite the passing-by tourists whom they don't know in their respective languages within a few seconds, there is nothing to be surprised about. Because they have the ability to recognize the people of various nationalities before talking to them and, to talk to them in their own languages. This place offers a big chance and opportunity for the tradesmen, but utilizing this opportunity requires skill and proficiency. Tradesmen of the Covered Bazaar take place among the best marketers of the world. Once you step in a jewellery or a rug store, non-existence of the kind you desire is impossible. how you shall come to an a ment on price, too.
One of the scenes frequently rendered in the Covered Bazaar each day is the families come for buying marriage outtits and the living picture they draw. Prospective bride is accompanied by her mother and relatives who assist her with their sense of taste and purse. If the candidate groom is with them, they feel more comfortable. Continuing validity of the old tradition presenting gold or jewellery made out of gold as much as the groom and the relatives of both sides can afford giving to the bride, is one of the reasons which explains the abundance of jewellery shops in the market.
Formerly weddings in rural areas were made at the end of harvest reason and after products were sold, therefore the jewellers used to wait unpatiently until the end of summer season. Now, since almost no one engaged in agriculture is left in Istanbul, such an expectation does not exist either. Work-shops around the Covered Bazaar which are engaged in such works meet the requirements of entire Turkey. This of course is the clear indication of gold processing capacity of the Covered Bazaar.
Just in front of all three main entrances of this market, there is a separate world and shopping centers. While entering the market from Beyazit side, the Historical Booksellers selling used books, coppersmith shops, scrap metal sellers and antique dealers create a great picturesque atmosphere. After entering the Covered Bazaar using this entrance, if you walk on the main street from one end to the other, you shall end up in a courtyard where the Nur-u Osmaniye Mosque is located. After walking through this courtyard you shall see the most interesting and the richest rug stores of the world These stores, where also jewelht ies sold are noted for their spec~ ity and quality in their subject. Getting out of the Covered Bazaar at the beginning of Mahmutpasa street, you all of a sudden fmi yourself in a crowd while trying tı understand what the cloth and ap parel sellers are shouting out fııi You may see around all kinds a people, the brides who have just completed their shopping in the Covered Bazaar, candidate grooms, boys to be circumcised and their families. These people run from one shop to another to buy their wedding dresses, their special circumcision dresses. Heıjİ to Mısır Carsisi (Spice Bazaar) is full of shops preferred by medium and low-income groups. A week to ten days before the religious holidays, enthusiastic crowd seen in all markets of Istanbul, form distinct and more colorful scenes between Mahmutpasa and Eminonu. Creators of this atmosphere are peddlers who sell extremely inexpensive goods. Hundreds of them may appear and disappear suddenly.
Being subject to penalties imposed by the municipal police, they don't want to lessen their profits to be obtained from their business, even though it is contrary to regulations. Therefore, they have the ability to disappear all of a sudden, as soon as they receive the signals which they all understand, before the municipal police appears. Thus, the amusing chase continues. Secret to the sales by peddlers at such a low price, are the wholesale stores on the side streets of the Mahmutpasa slope. It is possible to obtain all kinds of clothing, ranging from socks to overcoats, cheaper than any part of the country. As a matter of fact, number engaged in textile and apparel business has an enormous weight compared to other professions.
Even before entering the Spice Market, the spice aroma penetrated so deeply in, through centuries, reaches your nose. Today in some of the shops of this market, electronic equipment and tools not fitting here at all, even contrary to its nature, are being sold. However, there can not be any other error as great as missing the surroundings of the Spice Market, to really see and live the traditional commercial life of Istanbul. Here, you also have all opportunities and a wide range of selections which would please your stomach. If you believe, you may find remedies for the pains and aches in your body, with dried herbs and even get an aphrodisiac prescription tried for centuries. You may lose your consciousness and live the past centuries with the aroma in the Spice Market. Be attracted by the tales related to charms and all of a sudden, regain consciousness with the fluttering wings of the pidgeons of the New Mosque.
As soon as you walk out of the aft doors of the market you run into a different world. This is Tahtakale, nowadays whose name is frequently mentioned in the economic life of Istanbul as one of the major banks.
If you can not find an item of native or foreign origin in Tahtakale, which earlier you were unable to find anywhere in Turkey, then you are really out of luck. Here, all retailers and wholesellers, that is the sellers of all kinds of needful goods are all together in one place, important thing is to know where you can find the things you need.
First coffee houses in Istanbul and Turkey were opened in Tahtakale (1555). Today, these coffeehouses are no more existing, but the most delicious coffee can be bought here.
Eminonu and Sirkeci sections, not only from the standpoint of commercial liveliness, but also for being exit points of the train station and urban buses are the most crowded places of Istanbul. Any time during the day it is possible to see people coming in and going out, running around in hurry. Yeni Camii (the New Mosque), Spice Market and many other buildings, some modern and some still bearing traces of the last century have turned grey from the boat smokes thru years, are the spectators of this human traffic. Sea gulls on the sea side and the pigeons of the New Mosque on the land side of the screen formed by the boat smokes live in close contact with people.
Enchanting Istanbul, which the travellers and writers never ceased talking and writing about for centuries, starts here, and has such a dense formation in the BeyazitSirkeci-Eminonu triangle, which ranges from small handicraff shops, governmental departments, business piaces to historical and touristical centers, that leads to a big difference between day and night population of the area. The district, whose population increases up to 800.000 during the day, practically abandoned at night, because there is no residence here.
Proceeding from Eminonu to Karakoy, crossing the bridge on foot is more pleasant and amusing. As soon as you arrive at Karakoy amongst the shoutings of fishermen selling raw and grilled fish in boats and the smells of fish and moss, if you get on the mini metro, you find yourself at the beginning of Istiklal Caddesi of Beyoglu section within a very short time. Now, in front of you, is laid a long shopping street vividness of which varies from one place to another and ends in Nisantasi Section. As you proceed on this street, prices increase a little, but the quality gets better, too. This series of streets connected to each other have the highest quality and level ready to wear clothing stores in the Middle-East and the Balkans. All fashion houses and luxury boutiques also take place in these areas More than half of the apparel items are manufactured in Istanbul. Therefore, almost whole export is realized therefrom. Major firms closely follow and implement the latest fashion trends of the world. Furthermore they introduce their new creations at the international level thus realizing a significant progress also in the marketing area.
While Beyoglu-Nisantasi and Osmanbey sections meet the clothing requirements of intermediate and high income groups, the prices are at an attractive level for foreigners led by Arab tourists. These noble sections resided 50 years ago, now we engaged in the effort of promoting elegance of people.
Big development witnessed in leatherware sector during recent years started adding new species in display windows of these elegant stores. In reality, Istanbul is considered to be the only center in Turkey which processes the leather and makes various effects such as suit, shoe, bag, etc.
Small and large factories located on 100 km road between Istanbul and Izmit may give an idea about other branches of industry in Istanbul. It must not be forgotten that Istanbul's place in Turkey's manufacturing industry from the standpoint of added value is approx. 35 %.
Source : Sabahattin Turkoglu ICOC
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