Shopping in Turkey is
great, with open-air markets, covered
Turkish bazaars and chic boutiques
The only drawback is the çığırtkanlar, the touts who shout at you as you approach or pass their shops, restaurants or other places of business. The first one is a curiosity, the second one local color, the third one annoying, and the 15th one insanity. They can be terribly annoying, not letting you even think as you walk along a street.
I never go into a shop at which someone has shouted at me.
Here's how and
where to shop
in Turkey for:
If you do shop in Turkey, watch out
for this VAT tax refund scam.
some help choosing the best-quality goods? You may need
Want an adventure on your own? Follow my Istanbul
Bazaars Walking Tour.
The color, grain and light passing
through this pretty stone is why you
like it. More...
Old stuff is found all over Turkey,
but the best antique shops are undoubtedly
But don't buy antiquities! More...
Turkey produces a lot of wool and cotton, and manufactures
a lot of clothing from it. Quality varies from
poor to excellent. You'll see many knock-offs (fake
goods) bearing famous brands, names and logos. Should
you buy them?
Istanbul has the best places to shop. More...
They're attractive, decorative,
useful and relatively inexpensive,
but don't use copper items for cooking
or serving unless the surfaces
that contact food are completely covered
in bright, silver-colored tin. More...
Carpets and kilims were part of
Turkish nomadic households a thousand
years before the Turks settled in Anatolia and
lived in houses instead of tents and
everywhere in Turkey, but their
carpets may not have been made in Turkey
(did someone say China?). More...
Turkey has been famous for excellent faience (colored
tilework) since the 16th century, when
the kilns of İznik turned
out some of the most beautiful work
ever made. The classic İznik pieces
are now classified as antiquities and
may not be exported, but the master
potters of Kütahya are
still making excellent plates, bowls,
cups, tiles and other items in the
traditional way. They're sold all over
Turkey for prices from a few US dollars
to several hundred, depending on the
item and its quality.
Evil Eye Beads
See Nazar Bonjuks
Turkey is a good place to look
for big, bold, old necklaces, brooches,
clasps, belts and other items,
as well as finer, more delicate modern
work. Istanbul's Grand
Bazaar is good, as is the Egyptian
(Spice) Market, but shops and bazaars
in other towns will have interesting
selections as well. When buying silver
or gold, be sure to look for the maker's hallmark stamped
into an inconspicuous part of the piece,
certifying that it is genuine. Pewter
and nickel-silver are sometimes passed
off as sterling silver, though not
by reputable dealers.
A kilim is a woven mat. Unlike
a carpet, it has no nap. The bold designs
and earthy colors so valued in kilims
are a Turkish hallmark. A few decades
ago kilims were seen as inferior to
carpets, and were much cheaper, but
today the bold, forthright kilim designs
and colors are valued, and priced appropriately.
Shop around for what you like, and
compare prices. More...
the center of the trade, but all cities
have shops soft leather and
suede coats, jackets, skirts, dresses,
vests, hats, gloves, handbags, wallets
and many other items. More...
This soft white stone is carved
into cool-smoking pipes and cigarette
holders, and also used to make necklaces,
earrings and brooches. More...
Turkish evil eye beads are a delightful
handcrafted item with a tradition
stretching back at least 5000 years.
Wear them for good luck, and decorate
your house and car to keep away the
"bad spirits!" More...
If you'd like help deciding which are the best-quality items to take home with you, contact Marilyn
been the center of Turkey's silk trade
for centuries. Silkworms are
raised on mulberry leaves in nearby
districts and brought to Bursa's Koza
Han (Silk Cocoon Caravanserai)
each May to
be auctioned. The fine silk thread
is unwound and woven into scarves,
shawls, blouses and
other items which are sold in Bursa's Covered
Market and other shops
and markets throughout Turkey.
near Antakya at
the far eastern end of Turkey's Mediterranean
also a traditional silk-weaving center
because of its position on the historic
Road, and the mulberry trees growing
at the Roman resort of Daphne. More...
Items such as boxes, chess and
backgammon boards, etc. make attractive
and relatively inexpensive souvenirs.
Look carefull to make sure you're really
buying inlaid wood. Surprisingly accurate
decals are sometimes used to give the
look of inlay without all that work
of cutting and fitting.
—by Tom Brosnahan