Immerse yourself in the colourful sights of the Spice Bazaar, where the aroma of fruit, tea and spice hangs in the air, or take a nostalgic walk through stalls that sell old cassettes, posters and radios at the Feriköy Antique Market on a shopping trip through Turkey’s cultural capital.
Sitting at the crossroads of Europe, Africa and Asia, Istanbul has always been a trading hub. The city’s trade legacy can be explored at over 200 markets, some operating weekly and others year-round, where you can find great bargains, fresh produce and hidden treasures.
This Sunday market is a flea and antique market with over 200 vendors selling everything from Ottoman-era brass items to vintage European jewellery. You can also find goods such as old coins, glassware, china, retro radios and old cameras. Also, keep a lookout for nostalgic items, including videocassettes, posters, books and even war memorabilia. Exploring this market is a truly entertaining way to spend a Sunday afternoon in the Sisli neighbourhood, and chances are you’ll walk away with something great. The market is a 15-20 minute walk from Osmanbey subway station in Sisli’s Bomonti area.
Held in the same location as the Feriköy Antique Bazaar, this organic market is on every Saturday. Scour the stalls to discover what’s in season, and buy Istanbul’s freshest organic produce including lentils, flours, preserves, eggs and cheese. You will also find natural cleaning supplies, which are usually tough to find in Istanbul’s supermarkets. With items priced slightly lower than those at the organic section at major supermarkets, this bazaar is great for stocking up on your grocery list for the week. Fit in with the environmentally conscious shoppers here by bringing a shopping bag from home.
The Kadiköy Sali Pazar (Kadiköy Tuesday Bazaar) is a sprawling market on Istanbul’s Asian side. As a larger version of the weekly neighbourhood markets held around the city, this market offers everything from knock-off Nikes to curtains and fresh eggs. Haggle alongside the neighbourhood ladies at this truly local bazaar, and eat kebabs or fish sandwiches at makeshift food stalls. This market recently moved to a new location right in front of the Göztepe subway station. Follow the signs that say “Sali Pazari” (Tuesday Market) inside the station, and you won’t get lost.
Book lovers should take the time to explore this old book bazaar, located in the Old City between Beyazit Mosque and the Grand Bazaar. Once a Byzantine marketplace for books and paper products, the bazaar is now a great place to hunt for Ottoman-era volumes, Turkish manuscripts, copies of the Quran and rare coffee-table books. Trade has declined in recent years, and though it isn’t the massive bazaar it used to be, Sahaflar Çarşısı is still a great place to idle away some time in search of books, paintings, calligraphy pens and ink, maps and more.