Shopping In Turkey: 10 Souvenirs To Bring Back From Istanbul
A trip abroad is never truly complete without a bag full of souvenirs to remind us of the amazing memories made in that country. Istanbul, being a perfect blend of Eastern and Western cultures, with a rich history, has a large selection of items to offer. It’s a souvenir haven, as the Turks sell everything.
The Grand Bazaar alone, which is around 500 years old, has 4,000 shops, and offers not just a chance to buy goods but a cultural experience as well. As the choices are endless, we have rounded up the 10 must-have souvenirs that you can gift to family, friends or keep for yourself as a memento.
1. Turkish Tea (Chai)
Offered as a sign of welcome to guests in every household, Turkish black tea has to be consumed plain without any milk. Today, you can find numerous flavours of tea being sold, some of the favourites including green apple, rose, hibiscus and pomegranate.
Turkish tea is sold practically on every street corner or local shop. They are sold in single packs or a whole carton.
2. Turkish Delight (Lokum)
Made out of starch and sugar, with a filling of nuts or dried fruits, this delicious treat will appeal to even those who are not sweet eaters.
They come in different shapes and sizes, but each one promises to be just as tasty.
3. Evil Eye (Nazar)
This amulet was originally worn to protect the wearer from any curses. Today, it is sold for aesthetic purposes and is a tourist favourite.
It has a distinctive blue colour and resembles the form of an eye . You can find the evil eye used in keychains, bags, bracelets, and basically anything else.
4. Glass Lamps
Once you enter any place that sells Turkish lamps, it will be hard to resist to not buy them. Each lamp has its own individual design and helps to create a unique atmosphere wherever they are hung.
Made from glass and brass, they can be hard to carry but totally worth the trouble once they are displayed at home or work.
5. Turkish Towels (Peshtemal)
Turkish towels are thinner and lighter in weight than the usual terry cloth towels available in the market. They have a high durability and are very absorbent.
They are used mostly in Hammam baths. You can get the handmade (more expensive) towels, or you can opt for the machine made towels, which are available for a cheaper price.
Handmade natural soaps are a big hit with the tourists. Black soaps are used in hammam baths to exfoliate the skin, and make it soft.
You can find soaps made out of various ingredients such as lavender, olive oil, and rose. These soaps are sold without any packaging and have a natural fragrance.
7. Coffee Pot
A Turkish coffee pot enhances the flavour of any coffee brewed in it, making it an ideal gift for someone who enjoys a good cup of coffee.
They are usually made out of copper with an elongated handle, and make one or two cups of coffee per pot.
8. Carpets & Rugs
Turkish carpets are famous worldwide. Their unique patterns and designs, inspired by the Ottoman empire, usually include geometrical motifs. The carpets can be hung on walls or placed on the floor.
Carpet sellers will tell you some of the best stories (mostly untrue) and will try every tactic to make the sale. So make sure you really do want to buy the carpet or rug when you walk out of the store with one. The more expensive pieces are the kilim rugs, handwoven pieces that often depict stories.
Ceramic bowls, plates, and coasters are sold aplenty in Istanbul, with influences of ceramic tiles that cover the walls of the mosques. Places like Iznik produce the best ceramic pieces.
Image via mt.yasukoMake sure to check the authenticity of the products, as there is a chance you may stumble upon pieces manufactured in China.
You can find bags, belts, and jackets made out of good-quality leather for half the price that you will find anywhere else.
However, make sure you bargain with the vendors to get the best price.
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