If you enjoy shopping you have come to the right place, and if you don't you will probably get caught up in the frenzy anyway as it is difficult to escape the friendly Turkish shopkeeper or stall owner. Turkey is definitely a shoppers paradise.
To wander around the bazaars and streets is a task in itself.. there is really no secret in how to avoid the shopkeepers eye and the chances are that he will have spotted you long before you arrive to his shop.
Shops are also difficult to miss as they sprawl out onto the pavements. Every item imaginable is displayed in an interesting fashion. But before you have time to explore these goods, a friendly face will be talking to you in your language and inviting you to take a much needed seat and refreshment, usually apple tea.
Most of the shops accept major credit cards, but have been known to incur a small charge for this service. You may also pay by using travellers cheques or your own currency, especially US. Dollars and sometimes this can improve your bargaining power.
Leather and Suede goods also offer bargains for everyone and the quality is superb. You can have shoes custom-made by small craftsman but more typical is the Turkish slipper.
As for jewellery, the best finds are in the Bazaars. Gold is normally sold by the weight with something added for workmanship. Most of the gold is 14 carat.
Of all the things Turkey is renowned for, their carpets must be best known. Turkish carpets are steeped in the history and traditions of this fascinating Country. They were brought to the Mediterranean coast in the 12th Century and since than, the craftsmanship of weaving has been handed down from mother to daughter. The best carpets come from the small villages of Turkey, for example silk carpets come from Hereke, near Istanbul and wool carpets are woven in Yahyali, near Kayseri. Artificial colours are not used and only the finest silk, cotton and wool are used as weaving materials. When visiting Turkey why not meander leisurely through the bustling streets and step inside one of the many vividly colourful shops, selling these wonderfull, mystical carpets. To look as though you know what you are doing when buying a carpet follow these simple guidelines:
- Turn the carpet over and look at the closeness of the weave.
- Ask how many knots per square centimetre and the tightness of the weave, the smaller the knots, the higher the quality.
- Compare the colours on the front of the carpet, the pattern should be easily recognisable on the back.
The export of antiques is prohibited. In order to avoid confiscation at customs upon your departure from Turkey, keep receipts of all purchases and be sure that the artifact you have bought is not classified as an object of historical value.