What are some of the best shops in the Grand Bazaar?

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Abdulla, bath products and linens (Halicilar Cd. No 62). Abdulla sells some of the most popular items in the bazaar – olive oil soaps, peştamels (the fine cotton towels used in hamams), other linens – but the quality and packaging is unparalleled. A perfect stop for gifts for discriminating friends.

Eğin Tekstil, aka Doctor’s #1, for woven linens (Yağlıkçılar Cad. No:1, Örücüler Kapısı). “The doctor” – as the friend who introduced me likes to call this shop – is the expat favorite for colorful peştamels and blankets (less expensive than Abdullah). Though many in the bazaar have these products, no one seems to have quite the variety as “the doctor.” And I can tell you that his towels have held up to many washings in my – let’s say not gentle – Turkish washing machine and to consistent gnawings-on by our cats.

Old Textiles & Kaftan (Yaglikcilar Cd., Cebeci Han Girisi No. 1) for suzani embroidery and ikat fabrics. For these traditional fabrics, pillowcases and embroidery, find this little shop and hunker down with a cup of tea, or six. The quality is good and the prices fair – particularly if you buy in any bulk. When buying fabric, just remember to look at the entire piece – all the repeats – in order to be sure you don’t have any variation you don’t like.

Dalida Ceramic (Yağlıkçılar Cd. Çukur Han No. 4) for ceramic and porcelain. Tucked into an alleyway, Dalida occupies three separate rooms, each one chock-a-block with colorful, patterned dishes, tiles, planters, etc. The most expensive pieces are a composite with quartz, which lends both heft and richness. All of the dishes are glazed with food-safe materials, so they make both beautiful and useful gifts. I’ve bought a few of the basic wall tiles, attached felt stickers to the corners and used them as hot plates.

dhoku for rugs. My favorite rug shop is actually slightly outside the Bazaar (see below). Inside, my favorite shops are actually ones that sell modern, not traditional designs. While not exactly cheap, these outlets sell to members of the trade the world over, and therefore don’t bargain much. What you see for the price is essentially what you pay – often a comfort after a long day of haggling. In particular, the clean, Ottoman-inspired designs and organic dyes and wool at dhoku seem to provide an oasis within the riot of the Bazaar. Across the hall, their second shop features more color saturation, assembling rugs in patchwork then overdying them in a single shade. More versatile than they sound, these rugs are among the more affordable ones at the Bazaar and maintain traditional elements within an overall updated design.

Punto for rugs (just outside the Bazaar: Gazi Sinan Pasa Sk. Vezirhan No. 17). Housed in a well renovated, multistory building, Punto is the go-to shop for the US consulate. With a knotting demonstration on site, a tremendous selection of traditional carpets, and a very friendly English-speaking staff, they ensure that most of us walk out with more rug than we intended.

Sait Koç for fine jewelry (Feraceciler Caddesi No.6). Another expat favorite, Sait Koç has an outpost in one of the city’s luxury malls as well. Set in the midst of hundreds of other glittering windows, Sait Koç is known for elegant, simple designs at decent prices.

Anemira for semi-precious jewelry and scarves (Kalpakçılar Cd. Divrikli sokak. No: 45 / 47). With the requisite stack of cheap scarves outside, this shop’s entrance belies its attractive selection within. Their scarves – both wool and silk – feature more interesting patterns and designs than their neighbors, and the semi-precious jewelry selection is equally enticing.


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Emily Von Kohorn •Istanbul, Turkey

American Expat living in Istanbul - working, exploring, and eating all the mezes she can get her hands on.

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