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Weird & Wonderful

Top Rated Shopping in Istanbul

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Pandora is a brilliant little place in the heart of Beyoglu, with helpful English-speaking staff. The shop is spread out over three floors and the top level is totally devoted to English-language titles. There is an edifying range of contemporary fiction, as well as the classics. Books of local and international poetry and art tend to be popular with curious expats. Colorful flyers and posters adorn the windows advertising what's going on around town.

İstiklal Caddesi

This two-mile pedestrian boulevard is a must-see for any visitor to Istanbul. Formerly known as the Grande Rue de Péra, the street's name was changed to İstiklal Caddesi (Independence Avenue) after Turkish independence was declared in 1923. The grand boulevard's turn-of-the-century European-style facade is well cared for, and the shops and restaurants that line the promenade are not extremely touristy or expensive. If you start at Taksim Square, İstiklal Caddesi will lead you all the way to the famous Galata Tower. Before you reach Galata, you'll pass through Karaköy, where you can see (and ride) the world's second-oldest subway, the Tünel. The huge boulevard is full of history and mystery.

Grand Bazaar

From swathes of silk to intricately designed carpets, from filigreed Turkish tea pots to ornate Ottoman lamps, the lantern-laced alleys of Istanbul's Grand Bazaar are home to the city's finest treasures. Vaulted archways are covered with wall-to-wall wares of traditional Turkish souvenirs and products in this historic retail paradise. A walk through the medieval alleys brings on as much awe and delight as it does a smidgen of entertainment. The bedesten, or warehouses date back to the thriving times of the 15th Century, when the Grand Bazaar was first proposed to be built by Sultan Mehmet, in a bid to encourage economic progress in the then-city of Constantinople. Today, the bazaar is one of the oldest and largest covered markets in the world, its meandering alleys filled with as many as 4000 shops, and its grand sprawl consisting of nearly 61 shopping streets and alleys.

Old Bedesten

Old Bedesten is actually a cluster of little antique stores located in the heart of the Grand Bazaar in Beyazıt. Many of the shops here specialize in religious icons, which are imported by the truckload from the former Soviet Union. Many stock cases of ornate silver ornaments, including the ubiquitous Turkish "evil eye." You can also find old jewelry and cute Ottoman-era watches complete with Arabic numerals. When you're shopping, bargaining is the name of the game and the harder you bargain, the more fun you'll have!

Bağdat Caddesi

Considered to be among the top shopping avenues in the world, Bağdat Caddesi or Baghdad Avenue is located on the city's Anatolian side. Stretching across 14 kilometers (8.70 miles), this one-way street is straddled between the districts of Kadıköy and Maltepe. Dotted with old trees, it is lined with high-end boutiques, shopping malls, renowned brand shops, plush eateries, cafes, bars and luxury car dealers. This street is also a cultural spot which includes hosting the Republic Day's cultural parade or celebrating an sports victory.

Çiçek Pasajı

Çiçek Pasajı is unique covered market place full of Turkish wares and cuisine. This passageway is lit up at night with colorful lights strung throughout the area and live music can be heard from the table side musicians. Perfect for an evening night cap or quick stop for lunch, Çiçek Pasajı is an Istanbul gem.

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