Turkey’s Best Shopping: Istanbul and Beyond

September 21, 2011 by

Best Of Lists, Day Trips, Local Recommendations, Things To Do

Grand Bazaar, Istanbul

Find a variety of souvenirs and crafts at the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul

Istanbul is one of the great shopping cities of the world. Shops, arcades and above all the labyrinthine Grand Bazaar offer handcrafts that come from all over the country. But if you want to leave the city behind and combine your sightseeing with shopping at the source, here are a handful of locations around Turkey to get you started.

Tiles in Iznik
The beautiful painted tiles you see everywhere in Turkey are universally known as “Iznik” tiles. Now a somewhat sleepy town, Iznik has a preserved wall and enough other historic remnants to remind you of its glory days as a one-time capital of the Byzantine Empire. And, of course, numerous outlets to buy those jewel-like tiles.

Silk in Bursa
The ancient city of Bursa was the first capital of the Ottoman Empire, birthplace of the kebab and is home to some of Turkey’s most outstanding mosques. Silk is the local specialty, and there’s no better place to buy it than the old market of Koza Han, with its elegant, arcaded courtyard.

Kilims in Konya
The real question is where can’t you buy kilims in Turkey. But the city of Konya, in the middle of the flat expanse of Anatolia, combines an authentic tradition of high quality vegetable dye rugs with must-see sights like the tomb of Sufi poet, Rumi. This is also the best place to witness “whirling dervishes” twirling their way to ecstasy.

Earthenware in Cappadocia
The Cappadocia region, where bizarre natural rock formations are made stranger and more wondrous still by human intervention, is one of central Turkey’s most popular attractions. Along with cave hotels and amazing underground cities like Kaymakli and Derinkuyu, visit Avanos for distinctive pottery made from local red clay.

- James Conway

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