The Grand Bazaar
in Istanbul is known throughout the world for its amazing array of goods. Located near busy waterways and regal mosques, this huge, tiled building encloses stalls of oriental spices, exotic teas, colorful glassware, hand-made pottery, silver tea sets, gem-inlaid jewelry, traditional rugs, and even belly-dancing gowns. You can find a woven coin bag for just a dollar or a gold necklace in the "Sultans of Harem" styleâ€”for thousands.
In nearby Kocaeli
, you can see bakeries, candy shops, fresh vegetable and fruit markets, and even the outdoor gypsy stalls. Wedding gown boutiques are common, and you won't believe the flounces and frills attached to those blooming skirts with low-cut necklines. Sequined evening gowns are displayed in windows near full-length traditional skirts and head veils. Muslim shops feature Arabic writing on gilded mirrors, shawls, and prayer beads.
In southern Mediterranean areas like Antalya
, old stone markets are sheltered in castle walls. Cobbled streets guide you through carpet shops, craft stalls with hand-painted gourds, brightly-colored pottery aisles, and hand-blown glassware lit by candles. You can admire traditional silver pomegranates used as sugar bowls in cafes, next to tiny spoons and tea glasses shaped like women's torsos. Florists display fresh-cut flowers done up in huge bouquets placed on wooden stands. Modern items like name-brand shoes and handbags are often hung opposite traditional plateware.
Wherever you go in Turkey, you will wonder what are those dried, mushroom-looking things hanging from the ceiling, what is the name of that machine through which people smoke watery tobacco, or how can they make such tiny coffee cups out of metal and graceful dispensers shaped like Aladdin's lamp. Even if you don't have money to buy anything you see, you can always take photographs to remember the shops in Turkey.
Lonna Lisa Williams
You can see more travel adventures on my Blog
, and in my books.