The Grand Bazaar in Turkey- Best Souvenirs to Buy
The Grand Bazaar in Istanbul is one of the world’s greatest shopping destinations, with over 4,000 shops, restaurants, banks, and even a police station, making it almost like a miniature central city. The bazaar first appeared in 1461 and grew steadily over the centuries of Ottoman rule, swallowing up the surrounding land.
The Grand Bazaar is one of the world’s top tourist attractions, and a visit here is at the top of many people’s to-do list while in Istanbul. There’s a vast array of items that you can find in this magnificent and market and since being spoilt for choice isn’t always easy, here are a couple of purchases we recommend.
The southeast produces some of Turkey’s best modern metalware, and much of what you see in the Grand Bazaar comes from places like Gaziantep, Anlurfa, and Mardin. Some of the most popular items to buy are intricately engraved metal platters and tea and coffee serving sets with traditional Ottoman pattern designs. Engraved Turkish coffee pots, for making coffee on the stovetop, are a useful and attractive item that can easily fit in your hand luggage.
Pillows and Cushions
If you’re looking for items that are easy to pack, the many smaller textile items like pillows and cushions are excellent choices. These are a wonderful way to bring some genuine Turkish style homewares into your house without the high cost, and extra baggage weight, of buying a carpet.
There are numerous textile styles and designs to choose from with a plethora of low-cost mass-produced cushion covers and smaller textiles printed with traditional Ottoman designs. Look for small textile items made from original suzani fabrics or old kilims for something more one-of-a-kind.
Turkey has a long and rich ceramic heritage, with Iznik and Kütahya producing some of the country’s most famous ceramic works. Today, in addition to traditional Ottoman designs, which frequently incorporate tulip motifs and other floral patterns, Turkish ceramic workers produce a large amount of contemporary style work.
Look for Hittite style jugs and carafes with the circular middle section, which are based on Anatolian designs from the Bronze Age, for some unique souvenirs to gift. The ceramic artists of Avanos in Cappadocia are well recognised for producing this Hittite style work.
On the main streets of the Grand Bazaar, you’ll find a lot of cheap mass-produced ceramics for sale and if you wish you wish to purchase a custom hand-painted ceramic, check out one of the market’s specialists ceramics stores.
Spices and Turkish Delights
Although Istanbul’s Spice Bazaar is well-known for its spice and Turkish delight sweets, the Grand Bazaar also has a plethora of opportunities for purchasing edible gifts and souvenirs. Sumac, dried crimson-coloured fruit of the sumac plant, and pul biber, dried Aleppo red pepper, are two spices to look for if you wish to recreate some authentic Turkish cuisine.
Sweet-sour pomegranate molasses and pekmez are another two condiments worth bringing home as well. As for Turkish delights, there’s quite a selection of delectable sweets stuffed with nuts and flavoured with rosewater or fruit. Another mouth-watering delight you can try is the many helva confectioneries that are made from sesame seeds.