Shopping centres continue to populate every city around the world as great recreational areas. These centres are not just for shopping, they have been used as a place to socialise and spend time for centuries. Istanbul holds a very important place in the history of shopping. As one of the most important points throughout history, Istanbul is home to the oldest shopping centre of all history: the Grand Bazaar.
The shops of Istanbul will be swept with a brand new breeze during the Istanbul Shopping Fest, which will be ringing the bells for a much different experience that blends modern and traditional aspects. Now let’s take a look at Istanbul’s authentic shopping areas. See what there is to explore!
You are just a walking distance away from Hagia Sophia and Sultanahmet… You can see Iznik tiles, handmade rugs all around you and mosaics dating back to Byzantine Palaces when you look up… Just close your eyes and imagine you are back in the Ottoman period, surrounded by cavaliers and corps shopping… This is the kind of atmosphere Arasta Bazaar offers its visitors.
This bazaar used to serve cavaliers during the Ottoman period and is also known as Cavalry Bazaar, and was built to generate revenue for the Sultanahmet social complex. After a major fire in 1912, it was not used until it was restored in 1980. Today, you can find hand-woven rugs and antiques in this bazaar, which is a favoured spot for all local and foreign tourists visiting Istanbul. The value of this market place has increased significantly after the discover of mosaics of a Byzantine Palace during excavations carried out in the 1930s.
Architect Sinan Bazaar
The complex was built as a Turkish bath in the name of Nurbanu Sultan, the mother of Sultan Murat III. during 1574-1583 by the famous Turkish architect Sinan. It was named after Architect Sinan after its restoration in 1966. Serving as the largest public Turkish bath in Üsküdar for many years, the structure was shut down in 1917, leading to the deterioration of the marble structure. The last owner of the building, Gümülcineli Mehmet Bozkurt, had the sections of the structure which had deteriorated in time restored and transformed the market place to what it is today. Famous for being the last Turkish bath built by the world-renowned Architect Sinan, the Architect Sinan Bazaar is one of the historical places you must see while visiting Üsküdar.
Bakırcılar (Copper ware) Bazaar:
Located in Beyazıt, Bakırcılar Bazaar is an authentic bazaar where you can find all sorts of hand-made copper ware. The products sold in the market and the historical texture of the surrounding area offers a unique atmosphere for all visitors. Istanbul is also very alluring for being a melting pot for all cultures. Bakırcılar Bazaar opens the gates to a whole new world to discover with its mystical atmosphere…
Feriköy Organic Market
You’re in Istanbul and every day is busier than the other… History dating back to centuries on one side, and colourful, modern shopping centres on the other… What do you say about stopping by Feriköy Organic Market where you can find organic fruits right from the tree or countless varieties of fresh aromatic herbs? Open every Saturday of the week, Feriköy Organic Market may not be listed among the places to visit by a tourist but we suggest that you stop by this local market. Fresh seasonal fruits and vegetables, dried foods, organic cosmetics, honey and jams… You can wander around the market and sip wonderful freshly squeezed juices and eat traditional Turkish pancakes.
How about starting your Sunday off in another local market place? Perhaps you won’t find the chance to visit smaller parts and villages of the city during your trip to Istanbul, but you can meet all the great things these places have to offer half way at Kastamonu Market, open every Sunday morning at Kasımpaşa… It is also named the Historical İnebolu Market because all the products are brought every Sunday from İnebolu. Here you can by authentic Kastamonu fresh herbs, fruits, pickes, honey, sauces and oils right from the producers!
As we said, you might not get the chance to visit a village in Istanbul but you can find the village right in the heart of the city on a Sunday morning. We suggest you don’t miss out on this great opportunity.
Sahaflar Bazaar (second-hand books)
Dating back to the 15th century, the Sahaflar Bazaar is one of the places that must be visited in Beyazıt… The bazaar is located between the rocky area on the left of Beyazıt Mosque and Sedefçiler Gate opening to the Grand Bazaar. Built for madrasa students in the past, the bazaar used to be located inside the Grand Bazaar in 1460, but was moved to where it is found now after the major Istanbul earthquake in 1894. Dating back to 1460, the Sahaflar Bazaar will take you on a magnificent journey accompanied with the familiar smell of books. You can also see the bust of İbrahim Müteferrika, the man to run the Turkish printing press.
Siirt (Women’s) Bazaar
The modern bazaars of Istanbul are also worth seeing as much as the historical ones are. Siirt Bazaar, also known as Women’s Bazaar, is located across Istanbul Manifaturacılar (Textile Merchant’s) Bazaar. For those who don’t know this bazaar, this special place located in the heart of the city may surprise visitors. Local foods from Siirt, Adıyaman, Mardin, Diyarbakır, Bitlis and Muş are laid out all around like an exhibition. You can see herbs you’ve never heard of before and try wonderful pastries made with these herbs. If you head toward the honey stands, you can take your pick from among the wide variety of tasty sweetness. The Siirt Bazaar is a must-go place… Right in the heart of Istanbul, this place offers you the chance to taste countless flavours from distant areas of Turkey.