You will need to make your shopping plan in Istanbul according to the object you will buy. Locals of the city know that there is a different neighborhood where each item can be purchased at an affordable price.
For example, Horhor Street for antiques, Mahmutpasa Street for cheap clothing, Sirkeci for electronic items and Galata for lighting items. I shared very detailed information on these topics in a blog post titled Shopping Places in Istanbul.
Foreign visitors coming to Istanbul think that bargaining is a part of everyday culture. However, bargaining is not welcomed except for the Spice Bazaar and the Grand Bazaar. Especially in the modern centers of the city, such as Beyoglu, Besiktas and Kadikoy, the price of everything is clear and bargaining is not accepted.
What to Buy in Istanbul
It is very difficult for first-time travelers to buy something in the historical bazaars of Istanbul. In these places where shopping takes place through bargains, you can never be sure that you have found the real price of a good.
1. Jewelry and Leather
The answer to the question of what to buy in Istanbul is leather, jewelry, tile and carpet. You can buy jewelery and leather from modern shopping malls or streets. Brands such as Desa, Deriden and Derimod offer very high quality leather products. These brands have a branch in each shopping mall.
Likewise, you can choose well-established brands such as Atasay, Altınbaş and Koçak Gold for jewelry. You may prefer these brands for silver and diamond shopping in Istanbul.
You can consider Grand Bazaar to buy gold. Because the Grand Bazaar is traditionally the center of the Turkish gold market. The answer to the question of “whether the locals do shopping at the Grand Bazaar” will be yes if the subject is to buy gold. The gram price of gold is fixed and will give you an idea of pricing.
3. Turkish Rugs and Iznik Tiles
I have said that you can easily find jewelery and leather outside of Istanbul Old City. However, I cannot say the same for Turkish rugs and Iznik tiles. Carpets and Tiles, which are products of traditional art, are found especially in Sultanahmet and its surroundings.
It is hard to find hand-knotted Turkish carpets and hand-painted Iznik Tiles. Because the number of people who can do this job is small and the job requires great skill. Carpet and tile workshops are located in the cities of Anatolia and have a traditional structure.
Since Istanbul is the city where carpets and tiles are sold the most, they are brought to the shops here. However, it is not an easy task to select, buy and sell these products at the right price. That’s why you need to choose the right place to buy Turkish carpets in Istanbul.
History of Turkish Rugs
In this article, I will try to give information on how to buy handmade Turkish carpets in Istanbul. However, you must have an idea of carpet art before going to the place where you will buy a carpet.
In order to find out in which region the carpets started to be woven for the first time and how they became popular around the world, I recommend you to read the article titled History of Turkish carpets.
Turkish carpets were first started to be woven in Asia. However, the character of today’s Turkish carpet emerged when the Turks settled in Anatolia. Turkish carpet art, blending the surrounding cultures, has gained worldwide fame since the 14th century. Famous painters such as Lorenzo Lotto, Hans Holbein and Hans Memling painted their Turkish carpets in full detail.
Best Places to Buy Turkish Carpets in Istanbul
In the lines below, I will introduce you to the best carpet shops in Istanbul. You can find references in many travel guides about these three reputable carpet stores.
However, keep in mind that even locals do not have enough information about authentic Turkish rugs. In order to understand whether a carpet is original, it is necessary to be an expert. Therefore, if you are going to shop yourself, I suggest you to be careful. You should really know what you are looking for in order not to be disappointed.
If you want to contact a trusted sales representative from one of these shops, you can consult me. If you go to the store with a reference from someone who is known in the market, you will be less likely to be disappointed. My mission in this process will be to get you in touch with a trusted store manager. It’s best to visit a shop with somebody’s reference. So that they would treat you like a local.
1. Nakkas Oriental Rugs
Nakkas Rug Store is adjacent to Hippodrome, a Roman era historical monument. One of the most important features of Nakkas is that it complements a visit to Hippodrome. Because the Hippodrome, where chariot races were held in the Roman and Byzantine periods, was the activity area of Constantinople.
In the 1500-year-old cistern under Nakkas, there is also a museum where you can see all the details of the races in the Hippodrome. In addition, Nakkas ranks first among the biggest carpet shops of Istanbul. Having a collection of thousands of carpets, Nakkas is the largest among the three Turkish carpet dealers I recommend.
Nakilbent Caddesi, Number: 13 – Sultanahmet
2. Punto Carpet
You can easily find Punto Carpet before or after shopping to the Grand Bazaar. When you exit Nuruosmaniye Gate, which is the 1st gate of Grand Bazaar, you will see a large mosque. The gate of the Grand Bazaar and the name of this Ottoman imperial mosque are the same.
You can go through the courtyard of this mosque built with the style of Baroque architecture and take a trip on Nurusomaniye Street, where there are many beautiful cafes.
If you enter the side street next to the local cafe chain named Kahve Dunyasi (Coffee World), you can see the Punto Carpet Store. Punto is a shop recommended in many international travel guides about Istanbul. You can find wool, cotton and silk Turkish carpets in Punto, which has a very wide collection of Turkish carpets and rugs.
Nurosmaniye Caddesi, Gazi Sinanpasa Sokak, Number: 17 – Sultanahmet
Where to Buy Turkish Carpets in Istanbul 2021