Ortaköy Mosque (Büyük Mecidiye Mosque) is the most important symbol of this neighbourhood. The counters that are set up on the streets are full of colorful, unique handmade giftware which are impossible to find anywhere else. May be a wool knit hat, may be a book marker or a piece of jewelry… Besides, eating Ortaköy’s famous “kumpir (stuffed baked potatoes)” whilst walking through the counters is most enjoyable.
Named after the mosque built in the name of Süleyman the Magnificient’s son Cihangir, this neighbourhood is one of the most vivid, cosmopolitan places in Istanbul. Neighbouring Çukurcuma is a true antiques center. You can find original antique pieces as well as designer items manufactured from the blend of old and new. Nearby Tomtom neighbourhood is on it’s way to being today’s designer hub. Shopping there and enjoying your Turkish Coffee in fine cafes will let you live an unforgettable day in Istanbul, full of art.
“Lokum” means Turkish Delight and it is an indispensable part of our festive treats and coffee ceremonies. It is also in our verbal culture for describing “perfection”. Turkish Delight holds a significant place in traditional Turkish dessert culture. You can establish a sweet bond with your loved ones with a box of Turkish Delight that you can buy from one of the historical sweet shops.
Turkish Coffee is an important part of daily life in Turkey. We have an old saying in our country that “having a cup of Turkish Coffee with a beloved one creates unforgettable memories which will be remembered for forty years”. It’s always part of our happy memories, long conversations and break times. One of the reasons which makes Turkish coffee so special is that, it has its own rituals. Its acquisition, the way it’s prepared and drank is considerably different from other coffee varieties. It’s one of the indispensable flavors you can buy at Eminönü and sip with your loved ones. After enjoying your coffee, you may make your fortune read from the cups which is part of the tradition in Turkey. Another saying regarding Turkish Coffee is: “The heart neither wishes coffee, nor the coffee house; heart wishes to be with companions, coffee is the excuse” which emphasizes its role within our communication culture.
The history of “Akide Candy” goes back to the Ottoman Empire times. It takes its name from the word “akid” which means “agreement”. Akide candy was distributed to the janissaries during important ceremonies and their acceptance of this candy was symbolizing their loyalty to the Empire. You can purchase Akide Candy from one of the historical candy shops during your visit to İstanbul.
Galip Dede Street is the road that goes down from Tunnel Square to Galata, Kuledibi. Musical instruments stores are here for almost 30 years, taking the place of antique shops, philatelic stores, bookstores and patisseries. While walking around this street where you can find every kind of musical instruments and equipment for sound systems and you can also witness the history dating back to the Genoese times.
In different alleys and passages of Beyoğlu, you can find second hand book shops where you can live distinct experiences. In second hand book shops you can discover new things on every visit and find books in different languages as well.
Besides, Beyoğlu is also one of the best places to shop for giftware. Either inside historical arcades or alleys extending along the road, you may find unique giftware reminding Istanbul.
Chandelier, is one of the most important decorative elements which brings warmth to our living spaces and reflects the soul of the location. Nowadays Şişhane is a region renowned for stores where chandeliers are produced and sold. On your visit to Beyoğlu, you can buy a chandelier from the stores at Şişhane and enlight your home.
A new advancement was made in Ottoman glass art at the beginning of 19th century. A Mevlevi Dervish named Mehmet Dede was sent to Italy (1807) by Sultan Selim III, to learn glass art and enhance his knowledge. After working in Italy for a while, he has opened a glass work shop in the town of Beykoz and started to produce a variety of glass work. Later on, this art was named after the town where it was produced. Beykoz Style Glass Art offers examples of gulabdans (rose water bottles), pitchers, casters, bowl examples with different techniques and patterns such as Çeşm-i Bülbül, Maydonozlu, Mine (glazed) Décor and Yaldızlı (gilded). On your visit to Istanbul, you can make your loved ones happy with gifts of Beykoz Style Glass Art.
During the Ottoman Empire period, Eyüp neighbourhood became a toy manufacturing center and the toys manufactured here were named as “Eyüp Toys”. On your visit to Eyüp you can witness history and buy one of the many toys such as nightingale whistle, çınçın cars, pin wheels, timbal (dümbelek), wooden chairs, wooden cradles, wooden trucks-buses, trumpets, tambourines.
“Eyüp Ring” is a type of brittle salted cookie made of flour, oil, salt and small amount of water. Just like simit, buns, cookies; eating Eyüp Rings is a way of filling one’s appetite cheaply and quickly. It can be enjoyed as a snack during tea hours and between meals. You can also leave a nice taste in your loved ones’ palates by buying Eyüp Rings on your visit to Eyüp, one of the oldest neighbourhoods of İstanbul.
Sahaflar Çarşısı (Second Hand Book Market) behind the Beyazıt Mosque is used to be known as the Engravers’ Market. Second Hand Book sellers started to settle in Beyazıt and around the Grand Bazaar in 1890s. After the fire in 1950, the bazaar was rebuilt with concrete and completely reserved for book sales. In the market, where you can feel the history of centuries, it’s possible to find used books and giftware.
Cağaloğlu is one of the neighbourhoods of the historical town of Fatih that is famous for publishing companies, printing houses and secondhand books dealers. There is no Turkish writer, journalist, artist who had not witnessed the historical identity of Cağaloğlu along with its scent of books. On your visit to Cağaloğlu, you can visit many bookstores either on the same street or in the same building.
Gedikpaşa is one of Istanbul’s oldest neighbourhoods that is located in the Historical Peninsula. On your visit to Istanbul you can find almost anything related to “footwear” from materials to manufacturers, from wholesalers to stores at Gedikpaşa.
With more than 500 years of history, Grand Bazaar is known as the grand mother of all shopping malls. The building which is a symbol of Ottoman architectural identity was completely destroyed by the 1894 earthquake and rebuilt at 1898. It’s possible to purchase jewelry mainly made of gold or silver and other gem stones in Grand Bazaar. Rugs, fabrics, antiques and giftware shops are other must see spots of this center. Visiting Grand Bazaar allows you to breathe the history of Istanbul and witness it’s economic dynamics. Paying a visit is “a way to experience Istanbul in a covered bazaar”.
“Horhor Bit Pazarı (Flea Market)” is one of the most important centers for antiques in Istanbul. It’s practically impossible not to find an item for your taste in one of the 200 stores sited in the 7 storey han (large commercial building). Even having a conversation with experienced antique dealers and following the history of antiques will be an experience to cherish. If you want your weathered antiques to be restored, Flea Market is also the place to visit.
Laleli is situated between Beyazıt and Aksaray and it takes its name from Laleli Baba who lived during the period of Sultan Mustafa III (1757-1774). Today it is one of the important trade centers of Istanbul . A wide variety of clothes, textile materials, shoes, accessories are produced here and exported to other countries. There are also many giftware stores for tourists in this area.
Nowadays part of the town of Fatih, Mahmutpaşa has always been an important shopping hub. Adjacent hans and stores in narrow streets are clustered according to the goods they sell from towels to slippers, clothing to accessories. Going to Mahmutpaşa and shopping for important ceremonies such as engagements, weddings, circumcision celebrations is a must do for the Istanbulites. Dowry is carefully selected from the stores at Mahmutpaşa, all the necessary supplies for engagement and wedding preparations are also found there. Boys are also brought to Mahmutpaşa for circumcision ceremony to buy the clothes they like most. For Hajj, the religious obligation that requires the most preparation, Mahmutpaşa is also the first place to visit. Presents for friends and family are also available in Mahmutpaşa.
Sirkeci is one of the most dynamic and touristic places in Istanbul’s Historical Peninsula. In the hans (historical large commercial buildings) between Eminönü and Sirkeci it is possible to find electronics, watches, eyeglasses, sunglasses and many other goods for every budget.
Sited next to Yeni Mosque at Eminönü, Spice Market was commissioned to Architect Kasım Ağa by Valide Turhan Sultan at 1660. Spices which were brought from Egypt were distributed from this market back then. That’s why it is also known as Egyptian Bazaar. In the bazaar, it is possible to find spices from all over Turkey and the world, including giftware. Upon entrance, the visitors are struck by the aroma of a variety of spices.
In the streets of Sultanhamam, you can easily find hundreds of varieties of fabric from crep to taffeta, poplin to cambric, silk to satin. The neighbourhood, which is between Sirkeci and Mahmutpaşa, where rows of fabric stores are sited always held an important place in the old town. It’s one of the centers where you can purchase fabrics on your visit to Eminönü.
Sited between Unkapanı and the Bozdoğan Kemeri (Valence Aqueduct) this bazaar was built in the 1960s. Developed and planned to meet the need of a new space for drapers and fabric wholesalers around Sultanhamam; this bazaar is one of the first modern architectural buildings of Istanbul and includes decorative elements from some of the foremost artists of the time. Today, besides being the center of upholstery fabric, curtain, wall paper and flooring material stores, it’s also an important center for music companies.
The center which was built in the 1960s is a main hub for Turkish textile commerce. Merter, where you can find any textile products, hosts thousands of brands. The area in which you can find both retail and wholesale stores is always vivid with its hotels, restaurants and centers of trade.
“Şile cloth” is a cotton cloth which is produced in the town of Şile with techniques specific to the region. Şile cloth weaving, which is named after the town, is one of the most important handicrafts of the region. Şile cloth is highly sought-after because of being comfortable, light, healthy and natural. Şile cloth is still being woven today in Şile and in its villages. You shouldn’t return from a trip to Şile without buying products made of this special cloth.
One of the most fashionable neighbourhoods of Istanbul is Nişantaşı that is nearby Maçka, Teşvikiye, Harbiye and Osmanbey. Trendy clothing and accessories are put on display here. Anything related to clothing from world’s high end brands to haute couture can be found in this area. It’s possible to step into the elegant world of art from sculptures to furniture, galleries to auction houses in Nişantaşı.
History of leather trade at Zeytinburnu dates back to the reign of Sultan Mehmet the Conqueror. During that period the region became a main production hub after tanneries located in different areas of Anatolia were moved to Zeytinburnu, to produce leather goods which are required by the soldiers. Relocation of leather businesses run by Greeks to this area, also accelerated the development of leather tanning in this area. Today, even though tanneries which used to be in the region are relocated to Tuzla for environmental reasons; the district continues to be one of the places where visitors can easily access all kinds of leather goods.