Souvenir Shopping (Self Guided), Istanbul

Istanbul, throughout its history as Byzantium and Constantinople, has been a center of commerce and trade- a place to buy all kinds of exotic items. Today’s modern traveler in Istanbul also enjoys an interesting and colorful shopping experience. The sheer number of shops, bazaars, products, prices and insistent shopkeepers, however, can be overwhelming. To focus your search and improve your shopping experience in Istanbul, here is a list of suggested gift items that reflect true Turkish culture along with where they can be bought and their price ranges.
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Souvenir Shopping Map

Guide Name: Souvenir Shopping
Guide Location: Turkey » Istanbul (See other walking tours in Istanbul)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 5
Tour Duration: 1 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.5 Km or 0.9 Miles
Author: Daniel
Sight(s) Featured in This Guide:
  • Artrium
  • Galip Dede Caddesi (Street)
  • Eller Sanat Galerisi
  • Çukurcuma
  • Migros
1
Artrium

1) Artrium

Located at Tünel Geçidi, Artrium offers an impressive selection of miniatures, old and new ceramics, maps, cards, prints, paintings, Turkish calligraphy, prints, jewelry, curios, old Turkish movie posters, and much more.

Operation hours: Monday - Saturday: 9 am -5 pm.
2
Galip Dede Caddesi (Street)

2) Galip Dede Caddesi (Street)

What to buy here: Turkish Musical Instruments – Traditional Turkish music boasts a number of instruments that can easily be packed into a traveler’s suitcase. Wind instruments such as Kaval, Mey and Sipsi and stringed instruments known as Baglama make unique gifts for music lovers and collectors. You can buy a Mey for 30TL, or a basic Baglama starts at 100TL. Instrument prices greatly vary depending on quality. It is best to discuss your needs with a shop owner to buy the right instrument. The best place for travelers to buy instruments in Istanbul is on Galip Dede Caddesi (off the end of Istiklal Caddesi towards the Galata Tower) in the Tunel district. It is an old cobble-stone street lined with music shops on either side. Some shops are closed on Sundays.
3
Eller Sanat Galerisi

3) Eller Sanat Galerisi

What to buy here: Ottoman Jewelry – Locally produced jewelry inspired from authentic Ottoman pieces make unique gifts. A current Turkish TV program, Muhtesem Yuzyil, has reinforced the locals’ desire for Ottoman inspired jewelry. Turkish jewelry is available at the Grand Bazaar and Spice Market, but the best place for Ottoman jewelry is Eller Sanat Galerisi on Postacilar Sokak just off Istiklal Caddesi next to the Dutch Consulate (Phone: 212 249 2364). They are experts on all eras of Anatolian jewelry and their premises is like a museum. They also run workshops on traditional jewelry making. All pieces are made on the premises and prices start at 50TL for simpler pieces and go up according to the metals and stones used. Working hours can be flexible and start times delayed.
4
Çukurcuma

4) Çukurcuma

Found in the heart of Beyoğlu district in Istanbul, surrounded by Cihangir, Tophane and Galatasaray, Çukurcuma is a historic neighborhood hosting over 150 antique shops. The place's history starts 550 years ago, at the time when the Ottomans settled here under the rule of Fatih Sultan Mehmet. Once home to a large Greek community, Çukurcuma has a great deal of an old neighborhood flea market charm. Many shop owners here are descendents of non-Turkish residents whose families have inhabited the area for centuries. A candelabra engraved with the official signature of an Ottoman sultan is tough to find anywhere else but here. Some shops are bursting with Ottoman-era odds and ends and Turkish cultural memorabilia. Beside them are avant-garde art workshops and high fashion boutiques. The best way to experience this neighborhood is to lose yourself in one of its many winding side streets or alleyways and stumble on a store packed to the ceiling with everything, from century-old artifacts to cigarette packets dating from the 1930s, art works, carpets, historic maps, retro furniture and just about anything in between.
5
Migros

5) Migros

What to buy here: Raki | Turkish Coffee.

- Raki – The traditional national drink of Turkey. This anise-flavored spirit is also known as Lion’s Milk. It can be drunk straight but is usually drunk with ice and water which turns the clear liquid a milky white color. It is frequently drunk with fish and seafood meals. The beloved Turkish leader, Kemal Ataturk, was known for his fondness of raki and he apparently loved to debate with his friends and advisors over raki late at night. The most popular brand of raki in Turkey is Yeni Raki. You can buy it from any liquor or grocery store in Istanbul for about 40TL per bottle (70cl).

- Turkish Coffee – Coffee originated in the Middle East and the Ottoman Empire developed coffeehouse culture. Turkish coffee involves boiling finely ground coffee in a pot, cezve, with sugar. The coffee powder settles to the bottom of the cup and the top is covered by a layer of foam. After drinking the coffee, Turks turn their cups upside down on their saucers and wait for them to cool. Once cooled, a fortune teller (usually any Turkish woman) “reads” the coffee grounds and predicts the coffee drinker’s future. In order to enjoy Turkish coffee at home you need to buy a Turkish coffee pot, cezve, and the finely powdered Turkish coffee. The best place to buy these items is in a grocery store as the prices are much better than in the tourist markets. The price of a steel, 4-cup cezve is 8TL and the average price for Turkish coffee is just under 2TL/100g in most grocery stores. Migros is a higher-end grocery store with 173 stores in Istanbul alone. Their website (only available in Turkish) is www.migros.com.tr

Operation hours: Daily 8:30 am - 9:30 pm.

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Istanbul Shopping Guide: 16 Turkish Items To Bring Home

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Istanbul, known throughout history as Byzantium and Constantinople, has been a major center of commerce and trade, a place where merchants and general folk would rush to regularly in search of exotic things. In our days, modern travelers to Istanbul are also bound to enjoy a truly magnificent...