The Spice Bazaar, popularly known as Egyptian Bazaar (Misr Carsisi) owing to the fact that the market was built out of the taxes collected from Cairo during the Ottoman empire.
Previously called Valide Bazaar or New Bazaar, the spice bazaar is the second covered shopping complex in the city after the Grand Bazaar.
The bazaar is a part of the Yeni Mosque complex and revenues from the shops help to fund the expenses of the mosque. It was originally designed by the chief court architect Koca Kasým Aga, but completed by architect Mustafa in 1660.
There are 88 shops inside the bazaar which used to be mostly spice shops but nowadays, there are lots of shops selling variety of stuff -- from souvenir items, trinkets, lamps, shawls, clothing, jewelries, bath and beauty stuff, etc.
There are two entrances at both ends, the more popular one is the one near the Yeni Mosque.
Tourists who'd like to have a more authentic local market experience must walk along the Uzuncarsi Street of Tahtakale neighborhood. Most shoppers here are locals though you'll find the occasional brave tourists getting lost amidst its busy activities and traffic. But if you don't like the rush, then be contented with the more tourist-oriented Grand Bazaar or Spice Bazaar.
The Uzuncarsi is actually beside the Spice (Egyptian Bazaar) and also at the farther backside of the Grand Bazaar. It's one of the exciting walking tour of the city.
You can start the walk either from the beautiful Rustem Pasha Mosque ending at the Grand Bazaar or do it the oppositre way by starting at the back of the Grand Bazaar and end up with a visit to the Rustem Pasha Mosque and the Yeni Mosque at Eminonu.
What to buy: Almost everything.
There's this small shop below the Laleli Mosque beside the tombs of Sultan Mustafa III and Sultan Selim III that sells nice olive oils, olive oil soaps, shampoos, bath and other stuff made of olive oil. Quality products and cheap.
What to buy: soap, shampoo, bath, etc.
What to pay: From 2 up.
Another huge mall a bit out of the central touristic part of Istanbul but very accessible by public transport. Two trains, take the tramvay from Sultanahmet or any station along this line and get off at Yusufpasha Tram Station and connect with the Metro train at Aksaray and get off at Kartaltepe-Kocatepe metro station, the station right before the main Otogar station.
The Forum is a large mall with several designers brand and the mall is very family friendly with a lot of programs geared for the kids. It also houses the Turkuazoo with several huge aquariums and a tunnel aquarium.
Several restaurants on the upper floor, cinema and a childrens playground outside the mall.
What to buy: clothing apparel and other stuff.
35,000sqm total area for shopping mall alone, the Sapphire is one of the huge malls in Istanbul. Sapphire is situated in the busioness district of Levent. The building itself is more than 261 meters tall with the observation deck on the 54th floor with the best 360 degrees of the whole city (entry at TL15).
The mall part is on the lower floors and it's so spacious and I have that dizzy symtptoms on huge space that I immediately felt that in this mall. Several shops, dozens of restaurants each floor and stuff for kids.
Like many other big malls in Istanbul, Sapphire is home to several international and local designer brands.
Take the Metro train from Taksim Square and get off at Levent 4 and you're there.
What to buy: clothing apparel, fashion accessories, etc..
Abdulla is a soap shop, all kinds of aromatic soaps in blocks from Olives to Basil, various kinds and sizes of scrubs made out of goat hair and cloths. Envigorating smell when you get inside the shop.
Soaps are not expensive at all, costs from TL3 up.
Located inside the Grand Bazaar beside some cafe and restaurants.
What to buy: soaps, scents, scrubs, etc.
What to pay: TL2 onwards.
...and more shopping at the Grand Bazaar.
The trouble is, even if we're not planning to buy anything inside the bazaar - I would bet it would also happen to you once you're in - we were enticed (not by the salesmen, but by ourselves) to buy something.
Like we bought some pouffs (leather thing that you put some cloth stuff to make it like a seat), it cost us only TL5, sometimes they sell it for 10, some stores sell it for TL25/3 pieces.
What to pay: Just haggle fairly.
The Grand Bazaar has lots of merchandise in it's more than a thousand of shops.
Took some pictures so you'll have an idea on what you expect to see and probably buy inside the bazaar.
Just don't forget to haggle, it's a form of art, and well expected.
What to pay: Just haggle, start with half the given price, then work your way to 60-70% the most.
I've never noticed this before in my previous trips to Istanbul, only this year (2010) when we accidentally stumble on it.
There are several discount shops, more of like factory overruns, or budget clothing stores along Istiklal Caddesi in Beyoglu. If you're coming from Taksim square walk until you reach almost the end before reaching the tunnel, or way between Galatasaray and the Tunnel Square, though a bit nearer to the tunnel. There are several shops that sells really cheapbut trendy clothings - shirts, pants, accessories.
You will see the signs like TL5 which means the items costs 5 turkish lira, yeah, most shirts costs from TL3.50 to 5, most of them factory overruns or bootlegs of famous brands.
For backpackers who seldom bring a lot of clothing (I normally bring only 4 shirts) and bargain hunters, this is a clothing haven!
Really cheap quality and trendy clothing.
What to buy: Shirts, pants, jogging pants, sweatshirts and shorts, headcaps, and other accessories.
Kanyon is a multi-purpose complex, metro stop is Levent.
We were staying in Taksim area so we have to take the metro train from the main square, get down at Levent (not Levent 4, where we've mistakenly got down, the station next to Levent).
There are two shopping malls here, Kanyon and Metro City which are beside each other. We first went to Kanyon. It's huge shopping complex, more high-end which houses many european brands, and a foodcourt on the upper level.
We went there twice, upon arrival and before flying out, to buy some shirts and pants - my favorite shop is the Jack & Jones on the upper level. The tall tower houses a residential apartments and office towers.
Kanyon holds 180 residential flats, 160 stores, 9 theater halls with a capacity of 1,600 spectators, and a parking facility for 2,300 vehicles. The shopping mall itself resembles a dramatic canyon in architecture and won the 2006 Cityscape Architectural Review Award in the "Commercial Built" category.
The metro stop in Levent has a direct access to the mall complex.
What to buy: signature brands, clothings, bags, etc.
The grand bazaar is a maze of shops selling all kinds of stuff from antiques, semi antiques, look-like antiques, lamps, carpets, kilims, jewelries, clothes, handicrafts, local crafts, in fact you'll find a lot of stuff and souvenir items in it's 4,000++ shops. There are also restaurants and nice cafes inside and outside.
Now, the bargaining. haggling for bargain price is somewhat an art in this place and it's totally acceptable and expected for buyers to haggle for the best price. I am not expert on this skill but it's worth it if you try. Ask for the price and always...I repeat... always go for the 50% of the seller's price, say (this one is real, happened to me Oct. 2009), am buying this medium-size kilim rug. The seller said it's TL70, I continue on looking at other rugs in his store and I said TL35, he said 60, I said no I could only go as far as 35, then he said 45, I said I'm always here in Istanbul and I saw this very kilim in Bodrum and it only cost 30 there but I don't want to carry it during travel. In 10 minutes - and over a complimentary cup of hot apple tea - I got it for TL35.
Stand with your bargain and smile every now and then pretending that you have been there several times and you always get that price.
Don't worry and it's not a shame to bargain, everybody does it and it's totally expected. If your conscience bothers you thinking that you busted the seller's profit - NO! at half the cost, there's still a profit. At the grand bazaar, you don't pay only for the goods but also for the experience of the great ancient shopping center that started the concept of all the malls worldwide. It's a tourist attraction after all.
Have a great shopping!
What to buy: carpets, kilim rugs, colourful lamps, antiques, local crafts, etc...
What to pay: bargain...bargain...bargain...for the best price.
On the ground floor where you pay for the entrance fee, check out the silver jewelry pieces with Turquoise, Amber, etc. You will find nicely designed pieces at prices the airport shops will be ashamed of. I compare the prices and design in other shops and I regret that I only got one piece.
What to buy: Souvenir items but pay attention to the silver jewelries.
What to pay: I paid only US$ 12 for a ring with high quality silver (925, nicely polished), prettily-designed with real Turquoise.
It is a modern shopping and entertainment centre. Cevahir Mall is the largest shopping centre in Europe, and the sixth largest in the world. The mall has more than 300 shops.
The mall also has cinema centers, entertainment center, many high quality restaurants. There are some annual events conducted at the mall.
Opening Hours: 10:00 am TO 10.00 pm.
How to reach: take the METRO going from Taksim to 4.Levent and leave it at Sisli Station. The mall is very close to Sisli Station, but I think the next station, after Sisli, drops you directly at the mall. This station is not shown at metro map. See this metro station at the attached photo.
What to buy: Since the mall has more than 300 shops, you can find almost every think you need from traditional malls. you can buy clothes, Jewelry, Shoes, Toys, Gifts, etc.
What to buy:
Ofcourse chocolate!!! :)) If you re very keen on chocolate like me, you should try "Beyoglu Cikolatasi". Chocolate bars are covered by gray cellophane paper. There are many types of them, with almond, peanuts, hazelnuts, milk etc...
I always buy many bars of them when I go to Istanbul & Istiklal Street :))
1-can of coke - 0.7 $
2-can of tuna - 2 $
3-usual internal public bus ticket for a distance like 15 km - 0.8 $
4- usual train ticket for a distance like 150 km - 6 $
5- kfc dinner box meal for one person - 6 $
6- mobile phone call (a minute) in mobile shop - 0.2 $
7-a nice pair of pants - 50 $
8- a sim card to use for calling overseas - 20 $
9- internet cafe ( per hour) - 1.5 $
10- sandwich of beef - 3 $
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