* When: always
- When: always
- How to get there: take a Tram to Eminönü
Istanbul just gained a place in my list of favorite cities! What makes it so exciting is the huge amount of cool young people (that stand strong for a secular state, by the way) and the instant feeling of history below your bones. There had been the Greeks, the Armenians, the Persians, the Romans, the Byzantine and the Ottomans. Atheists, Christians and Moslems. The Turks probably could actually not tell what exact origin they are. The perfect melting pot, like a crossover Muffin. And this is so very much visible in the buildings that are still preserved today, too. Former Cathedrals are nowadays Mosques and the Big Basar looks Roman, even though it was founded in the 15th century.
We are talking about Kapali Çarsi, which means Market with a roof and which is one hell of a Lomo-Location. It was founded by Sultan Mehmet Fatih and is incredible 31 hectares huge. Now this quite awkward: you take the main entrance in a part of the city which is called Eminönü and then you do the walk. After a few hours you get out at the blue mosque in a totally different part of the city, without noticing. But what happens in between is also entertaining. Huge chambers with fashion and carpets. Loads of fake garments and certainly huge amounts of dishes and bowls with lots of colors, which is a speciality of Turkey. There is not much of bargaining possible, but on the other hand you get not really bothered by the venders. But if you want to negotiate a little you might jump shortly into the neat little gun-stores that I detected there. With a barrel in your hand you might get a little discount after all.
There are a total of 4000 stores so you surely will find what you need. But even without buying it is very much worth checking out. Lots of tourists make the little alleys a quirky place. Mosaic-stones and great illumination make a very photo- and Lomogenic place, too. The nearby Egyptian market gets you the most exotic spices and you even get tons of Russian caviar. I would rather stick to Turkish candy, which is a true and sticky delight.