Shopping in Turkey is a completely different experience than shopping in a western country. It could be argued that the Turkish shopping culture is more similar to Middle Eastern countries.
When you like a product, even if the price is not that high, do not forget to bargain and do not be shy to bargain in the Grand Bazaar. It is almost like an unspoken, unwritten rule that applies in this place. If you bargain with the seller, it will quickly become somewhat of a game between you two and you will get good discount afterwords. That is what I call a win-win.
Sometimes you may be interested in a product and you may have spent a good amount of time talking to the seller, however, you do not have to buy it. If you end up deciding not to buy the product, you can just walk away and it is completely okay.
If you are going into antique shops or any shop that sells products that have a long history, the shop seller usually a person of great knowledge in the field. They will tell you all about the history of that product, how its made, when its made, or even whom it is made by. Sometimes it is a good idea to learn history not by strictly reading about it from the books or the internet, like you are doing now, but to learn it by talking to the locals who have crazy stories to tell of their ancestors and history.
Do not be afraid to chat with the seller because they will be willing to chat with you! The Turkish are very friendly and they can speak a lot of languages. Even if you will not end up buying their products, they will probably offer you Turkish tea or coffee to show hospitality. Do not be afraid of accepting the offer.
Istanbul especially is quite famous for its historical shopping districts. If you prefer to shop outside, there are weekly bazaar setups in almost every major district in Turkey. The Turkish Bazaar culture is a whole other topic that deserves its own article. Be sure to follow our blog for more readings like below!
The Turkish carpet is world-renowned. Due to being handwoven with silk or wool, these carpets have been a source of attraction for centuries. Even though there are mass-produced rugs in the bazaar, there are also shops that sell hand-woven carpets or even antique ones. Sisko Osman is the most famous antique carpet seller in the Grand Bazaar if you are interested in getting a rug that has a rich and long history. He is known to be a man who knows a lot about the history of the carpets.
Fabrics were one of the most important trade goods in the Ottoman Empire. Similarly, today, there are many textile shops in the bazaar. You can find all sorts of fabrics from cheap to expensive, from cotton to silk, anything and everything is right here. The leather industry was originally based in Ankara and central Anatolia, but the other two largest provinces like Istanbul and Izmir have taken over the workforce. Great purchases are jackets, although prices will vary depending on the brand and shop.
Antique shops are always a fun way to explore the history of the place you are visiting. If you are a collector, there are amazing shops that sell unique items in Istanbul. You can also simply lose yourself in the living history just for the sake of it.
Istanbul's Grand Bazaar especially is quite famous for its variety in jewelry, from bronze to gold, anything you may need. While there are modern and minimalistic designs, you can also find the traditional Turkish and Ottoman designs with luxurious stones like diamonds, emerald, or ruby in these jewelry shops. There are both high-end and budget-friendly shops. Depending on your personal budget, you can find the right one for you as there are endless options to choose from.
Ceramics with Turkish and Ottoman styles are quite famous in Turkey. Most of these ceramics are handmade with blue and red paint. They come in all shapes and sizes, which could be perfect gifts for family and friends as well as great decor objects for your house.
There is a Spice Bazaar that has been operating since the Ancient Silk Road, now offering the spices of the Turkish kitchen with the world. Saffron, sumac, pine nuts, and olive oil are the most popular options.
The Turkish designed lanterns are absolutely magical. These lanterns that are leftover from the Ottoman-era are designed with colorful glasses in the traditional style. The light shining through those little colorful glasses look stunning and give off a different vibe.
Sweets and Desserts
In the Grand Bazaar, there are many shops where you can find Turkish sweets and desserts. The most famous sweet sold here is the Turkish Delight. You will be amazed by the colors and the flavors of these sweets. The shop sellers may offer you some to try out. Do not feel forced to buy them but it is hard to believe that you will not buy them after tasting how good they are!