One usually (or mostly, or always) associates travel with fancy objects brought back from foreign lands. Keychains, fridge magnets, chocolates, tabletop figurines, all make their way back home to delighted relatives and friends who answer your arrival with, ‘Wahan se kya lekar aaye?’ *wink wink* Visiting a traveller’s home is always a fun experience, because one gets to poke around the souvenirs displayed on the many shelves and ask where the ivory elephant or the miniature carnival mask is from – questions that are answered with barely contained mirth (at having being to so many countries!)
Luckily for every traveler who believes in retail therapy, Turkey makes for a great shopping destination. And not just for the typical buys! Carpets, mats, coffee and spices are just a few of the wonders to choose from. Be prepared for spending heaven in this gorgeously endowed foreign land!
Check out these top 5 places to buy your goodies!
The Grand Bazaar
The Grand Bazaar, in Istanbul, is Turkey’s largest covered market. Made up of more than 3,000 shops and restaurants, it boasts of a very large number of objects of trade. Carpets, glazed tiles, copper and brassware, pottery, alabaster objects, clothes of leather and wool, and what not! It has shops that cater solely to the thousands of tourists that throng there, and shops that are largely for the locals which thus lend an authentic air to the great bazaar. Restaurants scattered throughout the market allow for a delicious bite when you need to rest between bursts of shopping.
Book lovers, this is your ultimate destination. The Sahaflar Çarşısı is a second hand book bazaar, which has been around since the Byzantine times. In the Ottoman period, it served as an important literary and intellectual center. Now, it is a place of distribution and sales of books. Old books, new books, religious scriptures, study books – this big old bazaar houses them all.
This shop found in the Grand Bazaar deserves a separate mention. Dervis specializes in handcrafted products, anything from textiles to soaps. Made by artisans living in Turkish villages, these objects have an ethnic feel that is difficult to find in other shops. You can choose from knitted toys, bath products, accessories, and linens.
Lined with colourful shops, Taksim Square is one for the fashionistas. Designer shops and global brands line the streets in high-end boutiques and prove why the square is called Istanbul’s ‘Mecca of Fashion’. Souvenir shops and antique stores can also be found here, making Taksim Square a paradise for shopping.
Silk is the biggest selling commodity in Bursa. It is a strong point in most shops found there, and a grand variety is available to choose from. Bursa proudly presents scarves, clothes, upholstery, souvenirs, and decorative pieces in the beautiful material of silk that just cannot be missed!
It’s shopping time now, travelers!