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The most famous shopping place in Turkey is Istanbul's Covered Market (Kapali Carsi).

You can find just about any craft, or anything, really, if you wander around the Covered Market long enough. To wander all the halls takes hours.

You can get a better deal, better selection, and better quality in most crafts out in the region where they are made. The finer items, at good prices, can be found in the government-run shops near many attractions. The Covered Market can't be beat for overall selection though!

We saved the Covered Market for the end of our trip and picked up things we didn't see elsewhere.

Be prepared for the buskers. The best line we heard from a hawker: "Hey lady, can I help you spend your money?"

Quite a way back in the Covered Market, far removed from the busy areas selling the typical stuff, we found a quiet little alley with a quiet little traditional costume shop.

What, with Halloween right around the corner, we hit a gold mine!

There was more stuff crammed into this tiny shop than you could ever imagine.

Anne totally scored.

Cheap too. You can buy the real thing for less than you could rent some lame knock-off in the US.

A fabric store in the Covered Market.

If it's loud, if it's bright, if it sparkles, if it's busy, and if it is just plain out there, you can probably find it here.

Much of the market activity is not under the covered Old Bazaar (Cevahir Bedesteni) at all. Rather, it's out in the narrow alleyways which radiate out in all directions.

I found one section that sold nothing but buttons for clothing. Another section sold hardware. Yet another, plastic items.


A typical shopping street in old Istanbul.

The plants growing out of the crumbling building are quite a trip.

Get twenty gallons of Round-Up, stat.

Expect a lot of bustle and chaos on the merchant streets. There's always something going on, and you'll find a minor traffic altercation every few blocks.
Another attraction is the Egyptian Spice Bazaar (Eminonu Misir Carsisi). The walk down "Long Market Street" (Uzuncarsi Caddesi) from the Covered Market is a fantastic trip in itself.
The area around the New Mosque (Yeni Cami) has more than its share of roving street vendors. The cops make half-hearted and ultimately fruitless sweeps now and again. If a sweep starts, everyone runs, dragging their wares. The stampede can get confusing.

On certain days, however, huge areas are turned over to what seems to be a sanctioned market for a single item.

It was Back-To-School time in Turkey as we visited. This day the market was in clothes. Nothing but clothes, with a strong tilt towards school duds.

Turkish carpets are quite the big deal.

If you are on an organized tour, you will almost certainly be deposited at a carpet shop for an hour or so at one point or another. It is worth a look.

Of course, they will not show you their wares without impressing upon you how much effort and skill goes into making a hand-made Turkish carpet. Oh, no. You've got a whole education coming to you first!

Here two salesguys show Anne what the silk cocoons feel like after a soak in hot water. (Nasty, apparently.)

Here the salesmen are attempting to gather the silk threads to start the spinning process.
This woman demonstrates the silk cocoons being spun in a more traditional manner -- i.e. outside, and by a woman.

I doubt if many men are involved in carpet making after the cocoons are harvested. Male chauvinism pretty much rules the day in Turkey.

Carpet making really tides over many families in the rural areas. The women work on the carpet between other chores around the house. The larger and finer carpets can take about a year to finish, a little at a time. This supplements what might otherwise be subsistence agriculture.

The spun silk locks are quite pretty as they dry...
After a complicated demonstration on making dyes, and dyeing, some cotton yarn hangs to dry.
And finally the weaving...
Et voila, the nearly finished product. Finally! We now can go to the showroom. We're fully aware that a lot of work is involved in hand-weaving Turkish carpet.
The carpets are shown in a large, well-lit room.

They are shown with a bit of flare: a quick unfurling, a snap, and...

... the carpet drops to the ground for display.

Now the pitch begins in earnest. Oh, yes, the pitching.

These guys aren't called carpet salesmen for nothing.

After a while, there can be quite a stack of carpet.
In Cappadocia, pottery is also huge. The town of Avandos is the center of the activity. We stopped in a large pottery place.

Of course, we started off with an education on the complexities and subtleties of making pottery. This guy is making a pot with a foot-turned pottery wheel.

We got to take a turn as well.

This guy shows how the pottery is made today: An electric wheel and a wooden chisel mold. The whole setup resembles a lathe and chisel more than 100% hand-thrown pottery.
The pottery is all painted by hand.
There were several skill levels of painters at the place we visited.

The novice painters paint large crude shapes on the cheap pieces. As the skill increases, the painting becomes finer, more complicated, and well, quite expensive.

Ahh. The pottery education is over. We can finally see the showroom.

This whole factory was carved out of the soft Cappadocian rock. The result is similar in many ways to the Cave Cities scattered around the region.

The pottery was cool.

In Cappadocia, you can also see onyx knick-knacks being made, as well as Meerschaum ('sea foam') smoking pipes. It can all be just too much.

A "Turkish Viagra" booth in the Derrent Valley, Cappadocia.
A Doner Kebap stand (Doner Kebapci or Döner Kebapçi). A Doner Kebap has a lot in common with your basic Greek Gyro.

Don't tell a Greek or a Turk this, but their countries' traditional foods, drinks and booze are quite similar.

This stand is in Antalya's bazaar, just across from the clock tower. We didn't find all that much unique or compelling in this Bazaar.

A melon cart in Istanbul offering sliced and peeled fruit.

While these were nice guys, I'd re-read your travel medicine book before diving in.

Fish for sale on Rihtim Caddesi in Istanbul's Karakoy district.

You can also see the Galata Bridge on the right and the New Mosque (Yeni Cami) behind the ship's bow on the southern shore of the Golden Horn.

A fish fry boat tied up along the Golden Horn at the Galata Bridge.

This boat is both a marine disaster and a culinary disaster just waiting to happen.

On the main street in Eyup, Istanbul, we found these most wonderful baked bread rings covered with sesame seeds. The bakery had hundreds of them, stacked up like auto tires on display.

Every kid that came out of the store was munching on one of these rings.

Years later, we still think back to them. Most tasty.

If you know what these rings are called, or, better yet, know how to make them -- please drop me an email!

In Istanbul, near the New Mosque (Yeni Cami), you can find Ali Muhiddin Haci Bekir. These guys literally invented Turkish Delight candy, and have been around for 225 years or so.

I like the name Turkish Delight, and the quaint old bakery, a heck of a lot more than the actual candy.

A pipe garden in Istanbul.

I ducked in and found this a dark and slightly forbidding place. I then, bravely, walked right out.

Of course, the ultimate purchase would be a Russian built, tinny-sounding, SUV from Lada.

We wandered into an "industrial fair" in Izmir. We checked out factory machines, industrial paints, cars, and household items-a-plenty.


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