Istanbul Shopping A to Z

Shopping Zones

Kapali Çarşisi (Grand Bazaar) and area has everything from carpets to glassware, plus cheap clothes. Sultanahmet is, predictably, for tourist-orientated souvenirs, while Eminönü has traditional market streets around Misir Ç[email protected] Trawl Çukurcuma’s streets for antiques, with furniture, handbags and 19th-century family portraits spilling onto the pavements. In Beyoglu, Turkish fashion stores and lively book and music stores center along Istiklal Cad- desiand its continuation Galip Dede Caddesiis the place for musicians. Fashionistas flock to Nişantaşi’s boutiques for Turkish and foreign designers.
What Time?
Opening hours vary wildly depending on area, but usually 10am–7pm and many stores on Istiklal Caddesi—especially books and music—are open until 11pm on Fri and Sat. Most stores city-wide open
on Sunday, except for small privately run places, Kapali Çarşisi (Grand Bazaar) and Misir Çarşisi (Egyptian Bazaar). Istanbul’s many malls, popular with locals at weekends, usually close around 9or 10pm.

Buying a Carpet?
How much do carpets cost? Anything between $100 and $10,000.
If you know what you want and what it’s worth, Kapali Çarsisi (Grand Bazaar) is a good starting point, with many stores competing for business. For novices, I recommend fixed-price stores with no hardsell, to indicate what your money can buy. Try the government-run Dosimm Ayasofya Çiftehamam(see p 91) with prices of carpets and kilims clearly displayed, starting from $100. If local ‘friends’, tour guides, or hotel staff take you to a store, their commission (anything from 20–50%) will be added to your price. Best go alone.

Antiques & Vintage

Chic showroom over four floors with European and Turkish treasures, from kilims (rugs) to early 1900s
pottery, metal milk churns and gilded mirrors. Oozing good taste.
4 Faikpaşa Yokuşu, 0212 245 2933. AE, DC, MC, V. Bus to Taksim, then walk.

Cihangir Eski Evi ÇUKURCUMA

In antique-filled Çukurcuma, this ‘house clearing’ dealer takes unwanted furniture, paintings and books. You might find Russian portraits, 1920s English silver tea sets, or Armenian textiles. 31A Agahamam Sokak, Kuloglu. 0212 2497170. MC, V. Bus or metro: Taksim, then walk.

Hor Hor Bit Pazari AKSARAY
Tucked away in a working-class neighborhood, this six-floor arcade has over 200 shops specializing in
early 20th-century French and Ottoman antiques. Expect to covet furniture and chandeliers, or candlesticks for easier transport home.
13 Kiriktulumba Sok, off Horhor Cad. Tram: Aksaray.

Levant Koleksiyon TÜNEL
A treasure trove of old maps, engravings, and postcards of old Istanbul scenes. With the city’s everchanging face, this gives a real hint of its past. 188 Istiklal Cad. 0212 293 6333. MC, V. Tunnel to Tünel.
Books & Music

Gözde Musik TÜNEL

On a street filled with music shops, swamped with the sounds of electric guitars and nay (bamboo flute), explore this tiny shop with baglamas(lutes) hanging from the ceiling, and second-hand accordions.
6B Galipdede Cad. 0212251 4364. MC, V. Tunnel: Tünel.

Homer Kitabevi GALATASARAY

A charming bookstore chock-full with English- and European-language books, specializing in international history, art and architecture. There’s also a children’s fiction section in the basement. 12A Yeni Carsi Cad. 0212 249 5902.
MC, V. Bus or metro to Taksim, then walk.
Istiklal Kitabevi BEYOGLU
The best thing about bookshops on Istiklal is they double up as music stores with cafés. This bookstore,
with decent English section, is also the areas’ main ticket outlet, Biletix (see p 160). 79–81 Istiklal Cad.
0212 292 9518. AE, MC, V. Bus or metro: Taksim.
Istanbul Kitapçisi BEYOGLU
Although staff seem uninterested, this council-run bookshop has a good selection of English-language
books on Istanbul and Turkey, plus CDs and local maps. 191 Istiklal Cad. 0212 292 7692. MC. V. Bus to Taksimthen walk.
Karakedi Plak Evi BEYOGLU
A tiny backstreet stall, here since 1964, the boss is happy to play you specialist Rum (ethnic Greek) and
old Jewish traditional music, available on CD, cassette, and vinyl. Behind 133 Istiklal Cad. No phone.
MC, V. Bus or Metro to Taksim.
Lale Plak TÜNEL

Jazz lovers flock to this tiny music store specialising in international jazz. Going strong for over 50 years, the store features all musicians in the Istanbul Jazz Festival (see Savvy Travelerp 161), sometimes selling autographed copies. 1Galipdede Cad. 0212 293 7739. MC, V. Tunnel: Tünel.

Adnan & Hasan BEYAZIT
A pleasant novelty in the Bazaar’s carpet shops, fixed prices are all displayed here. Laid-back owners
love their selection of carpets and kilims from Turkey, Caucuses and Afghanistan, with a great interna-
tional following among the great and the good. 89–92 Halicilar Cad, Kapaliçarşi. 0212 527 9887. AE, DC, MC, V. Tram or bus to Beyazit
Ali Textile BEYAZIT

In a courtyard lined with workshops mending old carpets, Ali has small bags and cushion-covers made from carpets and kilims, plus traditional Central Asian coats, all very affordable. Fixed price and friendly. 36/15 Çorlulu Ali Paşa Medrese, Yeniçeriler Cad. 0535 367 5333. MC, V. Tram: Beyazit.
Hand-made felt accessories come in bright colours, all from traditional Central Asian designs using bold patterns and naturally dyed fabrics, plus tribal kilims, hand-woven filikli (long-pile fur made from goat hair) and Angora fleece. Great for gifts. 13–17 Küçükayasofya Cad. 0212 638 6450. AE, MC, V. Tram: Sultanahmet.
Dosimm Ayasofya Çiftehamam SULTANAHMET

Located inside a historic hamam(see p 22) this government-run carpet shop has clearly displayed fixed prices, with no hard sell. The small collection covers a good range of prices and styles from throughout Turkey. 2/4 Bab-I Humayun Cad. Tram: Sultanahmet.
Galeri Hediye EMINÖNÜ
This textile store sells unusual and traditional fabrics using Anatolian designs, usually multi-colored
ornate stripes. Check out kumaş, acolorful striped design that makes wonderful tablecloths or throws and sold by the meter. 72 Misir Çarşisi. 0212 511 0506. MV, V. Tram: Eminönü.
Güneş Carpet & Kilim House NISANTASI

A woman’s touch in this male-dominated business, Gü[email protected]Öztarakçi has been selling carpets for 35 years, with an astounding collection in her ‘carpet museum’. An expert in quality old Turkish carpets, she makes you welcome without the high-pressure sales pitch. 5 Mimar Kemal Öke Cad. 0212 225 1954. AE, DC, MC, V. Minibus: Nişantaşi.
Clothes & Accessories

Great for men’s gear, especially jeans, this also has a selection of bright, quirky womenswear from their own design label Antijen plus a small funky collection of bags and coats. 9B Yeni Çarşi Cad, Kuloglu. 0212 251 8614. MC, V. Bus or metro to Taksim, then walk.
Bahar Korcan NISANTASI
Istanbul designer Korcan’s elegant showroom shows off her one-off pieces, usually mixing fabrics like
patchwork coats and appliquéd fishtail skirts, with obvious inspiration from Ottoman designs. Isparta Palas, 19/3 Abdi Ipekci Cad. 0212 296 9276. MC, V. Minibus: Nişantaşi.

My favorite shoe shop specializes in chunky shoes and boots, often in bright colors with flower motifs. Men’s designs are more conventional! On the pricey side; check out their seasonal sales. (Other city-wide branches). 69 Istiklal Cad. 0212 292 5786. AE, MC, V. Bus or Metro to Taksim.

Local designer Mehtap Elaidi puts a twist on conventional styles, like crisp tailored shirts with balloon sleeves, or fitted skirts with a fish tail. Check out the small collection of striking, simple jewelry. Ayde Apartmen, 11/1 Boston Sokak . 0212 236 3783. MC, V. Minibus: Nisantasi.
Gonül Paksoy NISANTASI
Using the very best fabrics, Paksoy’s designs mean luxurious clothing and accessories. Silks, linen and
wool with natural dyes of mulberry and brown tones, all her pieces are unique, from exquisite hand-made shoes to the simplest of elegant jackets. 6A Atiye Sokak. 0212 261 9081. AE, DC, MC, V. Minibus: Nisantasi.

A hard one to pronounce, but Kigili (kee’lu) has top men’s clothes over its three floors, from fine cotton shirts to the best woolen suits and silk ties, using top European designs. 56 Istiklal Cad. 0212 245 0011. MC, MC, V. Bus/funicular: Taksim.
Köstebek BEYOGLU

T-shirts with cheeky designs that guys will Th ove, witty one-liners and simple line-drawings with slogans. 11 Alt Kat, Asnavur Pasaji, Istiklal Cad. 0212 244 9913. MC, V. Bus or Metro: Taksim.
Midnight Express BEYOGLU
Tucked away new boutique from Istanbul’s husband-and-wife team Banu Bora (fashion) and Tayfun
Mumcu (furniture). Luxury meets bohemian for womenswear, using soft silks and crushed gold, plus
sequined bags. (The name is an ironic tip-of-the-hat to the movie!) 3/F Misir Apt, 163 Istiklal Cad.
0212 215 1968. MC, V. Bus/funicular:Taksim.
V2K designers NISANTASI
Achingly fashionable outlet for established Vakko department store. Labels include jeans by dVb and J Brand, and top designers Alexander Wang, Karl Lagerfeld, and Running Dog. 29 Abdi Ipekçi Cad. 0212 219 9498. AE, DC, MC, V. Minibus: Nisantasi.
Antre Gourmet CIHANGIR
Top-quality delicious local foods, including mouth-watering cheeses, jams, pickles, and the best Turkish olives and oils. Ideal for a quality picnic. 40A Akarsu Cad. 0212 292 8972. MC, V. Bus or metro: Taksim, then walk.
Hafiz Mustafa SIRKECI
Sample some of Turkey’s best lokum (Turkish Delight), here since 1864, or satisfy a sweet tooth with pastries and fruity boiled sweets. Escape to the simple café upstairs for a glass of tea. 84-86 Hamidiye Cad. 0212 513 3610. MC, V. Tram: Sirkeci.
Kurukahveci Mehmet Efendi EMINÖNÜ

The granddaddy of Turkish coffee (‘Turks’ gift to the world’, as they point out), Mehmet Efendi has roasted beans since 1871. The perennially popular family store still roasts and grinds beans in all varieties. 66 Tahmis Sokak. y0212 511 4262. MC, V. Tram: Sirkeci.
Homewear & Handicrafts

Gorgeous hand-made fragranced olive-oil soaps in wooden presentation boxes, natural loofahs, and hand-spun wool shawls make this a popular choice for quality gifts. 62 Halicilar Cad, Kapaliçarşi. y0212 527 3684. AE, MC, V. Tram or bus to Beyazit.
Haremlique AKARETLER
Duvets designed with Ottoman scenes, organic Turkish cotton towels and pashmina blankets will give
your bathroom or bedroom a touch of glamour. Their special blends of Turkish coffee with cinnamon and beautifully packaged 100% olive oil soaps make lovely gifts. 11 !air Nedim Bey Cad. 0212 236 3843. Bus to [email protected]
Iznik Foundation KURUÇESME
This showroom has unusual handpainted tiles and ceramic vases and bowls. Some are recreations of classic Ottoman designs, other are contemporary styles which make great wall tiles. 7 Öksüz Cocuk Sok. 0212 287 3243. AE, MC, V. Bus: Besiktas.
Pasabahçe BEYOGLU

Creating household glassware since 1935, [email protected]çe’s showroom goes up a few notches with exquisite tableware, ceramics, contemporary vases and candlesticks. Check out their handpainted coffee cups downstairs. 150A Istiklal Cad. 0212 244 0544. AE, MC. V. Bus to Taksim then walk.

A dazzling display of creations, some of them in the Archaeology Museum (p 14), taking ancient pieces and recreate them from silver, gold or marble. Look out for miniature versions of a Topkapi Palace pillar and Hittite relics from around 14000 BC, recreated as gold jewelry.18 Abdi Ipekçi Cad. 0212 246 7194. AE, DC, MC, V. Minibus: Nisantasi.
Anatolian Chalcedony SULTANAHMET

This showroom exhibits the valuable and ancient blue chalcedony stone, mined in Eskişehir and said to have special powers, in the form of beautifully polished carved jewelry and rough pieces. 2 Ayasofya Caferiye Sok. 0212 527 6376. AE, MC. V. Tram: Sultanahmet.
Chris Kami BEYOGLU
Kami hand-makes rings, necklaces, and bracelets weaving and bending wire with polished stones. No precious materials here, making everything affordable and wonderfully creative. My favorite Istanbul jeweler! 116/1A Hangecidi Sokak, Hazzo Pulo Pasaji, off Istiklal Cad. 0212 292 6819. MC, V. Bus or metro: Taksim.
Edel Jewels BEYAZIT

The Bazaar’s (see p 8) outlet for top designer Cemil Ipekci, whose collection includes rose gold and diamonds set on oxidized silver, all in simple and elegant designs. 73 Kalpakçilar Cad, Kapaliçarşi. 0212 527 9797. AE, DC, MC, V. Tram or bus to Beyazit.
Ela Cindoruk-Nazan Pak NISANTASI

Young designers Cindoruk and Pak showcase their own exquisite jewelry in usual materials, including paper and resin, plus collections from other up-and-coming designers. 14 Atiye Sokak, off Abdi Ipekçi Cad. 0212 219 6292. AE, DC, MC, V. Minibus: Nisantasi.

Gorgeous chunky jewelry including rings, necklaces and bold strips of handtwisted silver, by local designers Nurettin Ayan and Zeynep Güven. 16/1 Sarayhan, Turnacibasi Sokak. 0212 292 8817. MC, V. Bus to Taksim, then walk.
Sevan Biçakci AKARETLER
Superb one-off pieces by a master jewelry designer means sculpted Ottoman-inspired rings the size of
golf balls, using traditional and unique techniques like micromosaics and miniature paintings.
His first store in this designer-filled street opened in May 2008. W Hotel, 1A Sair Nedim Cad. 0212 236
9199. AE, DC, MC, V. Bus: Besiktas.

Markets & Malls
Beyoglu IsMerkezi BEYOGLU

A three-story mall with stalls, trawl through 95% rubbish to find the gems, from Pink men’s shirts or Miss Sixty jeans at a fraction of their original price. Terzi (tailors) downstairs make fast alterations for a couple of lira. My best bet for a wardrobe revamp. 187Istiklal Cad. Most stalls cash only. Bus to Taksim then walk.
Caferaga Medresesi SULTANAHMET

Located in an old medrese, a tiny jewelry and handicraft workshops surround the courtyard, where artisans produce hand-painted ceramics, Ottoman calligraphy, and ceramics. Caferaga Sokak, 1 Sogukkuyu Çikmazi. 0212 513 3601. Tram: Sultanahmet.
Dolapdere Bazaar TARLIBASI

Sunday street market where locals go for the best and cheapest fruit, vegetables and honey plus headscarves, stripy socks and bed linen. Forget souvenirs; this gypsy area is wonderful for peoplewatching. Note: guard your valuables! From Omer Hayyam Cad. Bus to Şişhane (Tarlibaşi Cad)
then walk.

The most architecturally stunning and upmarket of Istanbul’s malls has boutiques, restaurants, cafés and cinemas. Look out for Remzi Kitabevi(books), Harvey Nichols(high-end fashion), Vakko(fashion) and Paşabahçe Bütik(homewear). Büyükdere Cad. 0212 353 5300. Metro: Levent.
Kapali Çarşisi (Grand Bazaar) BEYAZIT

The grande dame of all markets, this is a great historical as well as shopping destination. Istanbul’s best selection of carpets, leather, painted ceramics and gold, with emphasis on helping tourists rather than the traditional trading center of centuries past. (See p 8 for more details.) Beyazit. Some stores accept CC. Tram: Beyazit.
Misir Ç[email protected] (Spice, or Egyptian, Bazaar) EMINÖNÜ
An historic Istanbul spice market, although now veering more towards souvenirs and jewelry shops. A good Spice Market’s plethora of olives. selection of spices, dried fruit and lokum, with more at the stalls outside. (See p 9 for more details.) Eminönü. Some stores accept CC. Tram or bus: Eminönü.
Ortaköy Craft Market ORTAKÖY

Fabulous fun weekend market with jewelry and accessories. In summer, it’s packed with locals enjoying a day out. Browse the stalls along the waterfront with good-natured vendors (see Best in Three Days, p 18). Ortaköy Meydani. Some stores accept CC. Bus or ferry: Ortaköy.

Istanbul is preparing to host the two-day 13th Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) Summit next Thursday and Friday. According to a statement from the president's...


Istanbul is preparing to host the two-day 13th Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) Summit next Thursday and Friday. According to a statement from the president's...