Turkish Handicrafts and Souvenirs: What to Buy and Where to Find Them
Updated: May 24
If you're planning a trip to Turkey, you won't want to miss out on the country's rich tradition of handicrafts and souvenirs. From the vibrant colors of Turkish ceramics to the intricate details of handmade textiles, Turkey offers a treasure trove of unique and beautiful items to bring home as a reminder of your travels.
But with so many options available, it can be overwhelming to know where to start. That's why we've put together this guide to help you navigate the bustling bazaars and hidden shops of Turkey and discover the best Turkish handicrafts and souvenirs to buy and where to find them.
Turkish Handicrafts: A Rich Tradition of Artistry
Turkey has a long and proud tradition of handicrafts, dating back thousands of years to the days of the Ottoman Empire. From intricate tilework to ornate metalwork, Turkish artisans have honed their craft over generations, creating unique and beautiful works of art that reflect the country's rich cultural heritage.
Where to Find Turkish Handicrafts and Souvenirs
If you're looking to purchase authentic Turkish handicrafts and souvenirs, there are plenty of options to choose from. Here are some of the best places to start your search:
Grand Bazaar in Istanbul - One of the largest and oldest covered markets in the world, the Grand Bazaar is a shopper's paradise, with thousands of shops selling everything from textiles and jewelry to spices and ceramics.
Spice Bazaar in Istanbul - Located near the Grand Bazaar, the Spice Bazaar is a colorful and fragrant market filled with stalls selling a wide variety of herbs, spices, and traditional Turkish sweets.
Kapalıçarşı in Istanbul - Another massive covered market in Istanbul, Kapalıçarşı is home to over 4,000 shops selling everything from handcrafted jewelry and textiles to antique carpets and furniture.
Kemeraltı Bazaar in Izmir - Located in the heart of Izmir's historic district, Kemeraltı Bazaar is a sprawling market that offers a wide range of handmade crafts, including ceramics, textiles, and leather goods.
Çarşı in Antalya - Known for its picturesque old town and stunning beaches, Antalya is also home to the Çarşı bazaar, where you can find a variety of handmade crafts, including pottery, textiles, and jewelry.
What to Buy: The Best Turkish Handicrafts and Souvenirs
With so many options available, it can be difficult to know what to buy. Here are some of the best Turkish handicrafts and souvenirs to consider:
Turkish Ceramics - Known for their bright colors and intricate designs, Turkish ceramics make a beautiful addition to any home. Look for hand-painted plates, bowls, and tiles at the Grand Bazaar or in smaller shops throughout Istanbul.
Turkish Textiles - From silk scarves to woven rugs, Turkish textiles are renowned for their quality and craftsmanship. Look for handmade items at the Kapalıçarşı or Kemeraltı Bazaar, or check out the boutiques in Istanbul's trendy Nisantasi neighborhood.
Turkish Spices - Bring home a taste of Turkey with a selection of traditional spices, including cumin, coriander, and sumac. You can find a wide variety of spices at the Spice Bazaar, where vendors will happily offer samples and help you choose the perfect blends for your culinary creations.
Turkish Delight - Also known as lokum, Turkish Delight is a sweet treat made with sugar, starch, and a variety of flavors and fillings. You can find a wide variety of lokum at the Grand Bazaar and other markets throughout Turkey.
Evil Eye Charms - The evil eye, or Nazar, is a traditional Turkish symbol believed to protect against bad luck and negative energy. You can find Nazar charms in a variety of forms, from keychains and bracelets to ceramic wall hangings and glass ornaments.
Are Turkish handicrafts and souvenirs expensive?
The cost of Turkish handicrafts and souvenirs can vary widely depending on the item and where you buy it. While some items may be more expensive in high-end boutiques or tourist areas, you can often find the same items at a lower price in smaller shops or markets.
How do I know if I'm buying authentic Turkish handicrafts and souvenirs?
To ensure you're buying authentic Turkish handicrafts and souvenirs, look for items that are handmade or produced using traditional methods. Avoid mass-produced items or those that appear to be of poor quality. Additionally, be wary of counterfeit items, especially those sold in tourist areas or at suspiciously low prices.
Can I bargain for prices at Turkish markets?
Bargaining is a common practice in Turkish markets, especially at smaller shops and markets. However, it's important to be respectful and avoid haggling too aggressively. Remember that the vendors are trying to make a living, and try to find a fair price that works for both parties.
From vibrant ceramics to handmade textiles and traditional spices, Turkey offers a wealth of beautiful and unique handicrafts and souvenirs to bring home as a reminder of your travels. Whether you're exploring the bustling bazaars of Istanbul or the hidden shops of Antalya, be sure to take the time to seek out authentic and high-quality items that reflect the rich cultural heritage of this fascinating country. So, don't forget to add "Turkish Handicrafts and Souvenirs: What to Buy and Where to Find Them" to your travel checklist and enjoy your shopping experience in Turkey.