How to Spend a Day in Istanbul's Çukurcuma Neighbourhood

Çukurcuma | © tomislav medak/Flickr
Çukurcuma | © tomislav medak/Flickr
Photo of Feride Yalav-Heckeroth
13 December 2017

Çukurcuma is known as Istanbul’s neighbourhood of antique shops and you’ll find some of the best the city has to offer. Of course, there’s much more to do than antique hunting, including art gallery hopping, chilling at cozy cafes, and eating some great pizza.

Go Antique Shopping

Visiting Çukurcuma wouldn’t be complete without paying a trip to the many antique shops you’ll see around. It’s best to just wander around and walk into any store that strikes your fancy. However, some of the best shops include: the sophisticated antique collection of interior designer Aslı Günşiray; the Ottoman antiques of the decadent A La Turca; and the original antiques of Modern Tarih from such countries as China, Africa, and Mongolia. If you’re a big fan of vintage clothing, then Çukurcuma’s favorite shop Pied de Poule is a definite stop for individually dry cleaned pieces as well as beautiful accessories from various eras.

Çukurcuma | © muffinn/Flickr

Eat Lunch at Çukurcuma Köftecisi

This down-to earth eatery happens to have some of the best köfte you can find in Istanbul. You’ll love Çukurcuma Köftecisi’s décor, with simple wooden tables and small antique paintings on the walls, as well as the open kitchen where the owners also serve up a daily changing selection of dishes. But we suggest you opt for the grilled köfte with a side of bulgur.

Visit the Museum of Innocence

Çukurcuma’s other claim to fame is the novel Museum of Innocence by Nobel-winning author Orhan Pamuk. Much more than a book, you’ll find the actual museum inspired by the forlorn love story, in one of the neighbourhood’s historic homes. Make sure to visit this museum to really delve into the book and to experience objects from an Istanbul of an entirely different era.

Museum of Innocence | © Feride Yalav-Heckeroth

Check out the Art Galleries

Apart from the many antique shops, Çukurcuma is also quite in touch with the more contemporary side of things thanks to the many galleries located all over the neighbourhood. Check out C.A.M. Galeri, Galeri Artist, MARS Istanbul, Gama Gallery, and BLOK art space if you want to see a good exhibition.

Get a Coffee at Café Cuma

The neighbourhood’s coziest café, Café Cuma is one of those places where you’ll want to hang out for a long time. You’ll be greeted by freshly made baked goods as soon as you walk in, all of which are on display on the second floor. In the outside seating area, you’ll always come across visitors from all over the world who were wandering about the neighbourhood and are taking a much-needed break.

Cafe Cuma | © Feride Yalav-Heckeroth

Eat Dinner at Çukurcuma 49

When night-time arrives and you’re still in Çukurcuma, this restaurant is the best place to end another great day in Istanbul. Çukurcuma 49 is known for its excellent pizza, which goes really well with their house wines.

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