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  • Turkish Radio Hour
    x0x SHOPPING FOR TURKISH DELIGHTS Publihed in the Travel Agent Hundreds of years ago, Istanbul was the last stop on the notorious Silk Route. Today, bazaars,
    Message 1 of 1 , Nov 30, 2003
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      Publihed in the "Travel Agent"

      Hundreds of years ago, Istanbul was the last stop on the notorious Silk
      Route. Today, bazaars, street markets and arastas are commonplace.
      Shopping is a ritual in Turkey. And haggling is a large part of that

      Some of the most popular items which visitors buy while in Turkey include
      copperware, jewelry, ceramics, leather goods and, of course, the coveted
      Turkish carpet.

      Depending on the materials used and the tightness of the weave, carpets
      can range anywhere from a few hundred to hundreds of thousands of dollars
      in price. Silk carpets are the most expensive, with often ornate Oriental
      designs and a vibrant range of colors. Kilims, which are flat woven rugs
      without any pile are extremely popular because of their traditional
      Turkish design, deep colors and affordable prices. Before setting forth on
      a rug purchase, however, it's best to do some homework on what to look for
      in a quality carpet before making any major purchase. Like anywhere, it is
      best for the buyer to beware. In the covered bazaars in major cities such
      as Istanbul, Bursa and Kayseri, shoppers can experience the trading
      practices which date back to medieval Ottoman times, where mall-like rows
      of stalls offer a wealth of souvenirs and keepsake items. Bargaining is
      one of the main aspects of shopping throughout Turkey, but most
      particularly in the bazaars, and visitors need to understand that
      shop-owners who are assertive in peddling their goods is just part of the

      As a rule of thumb, if you are interested in an item to purchase, it is
      best to offer a figure much lower than whatever you are interested in
      paying--usually about half of the shop owner's asking price. A bargainer
      can usually bring down the original price by about 20 percent, but keep in
      mind, when a shop owner finally tells you a monetary figure is his best
      offer, it's usually true--or close to true. Another rule of bargaining is
      that one never makes an offer on an item unless one is truly interested in
      a purchase. Moreover, while copious cups of Turkish tea and conversation
      may be offered, this is truly a gesture of hospitality and should not
      invoke feelings of obligation by shoppers to spend.

      Shoppers interested in international fashion may start with the many
      leather goods available, from Italian-designed jackets, vests and trousers
      to the chic handbags, belts, shoes and other leather crafts. Labels such
      as Benetton, Escada, Louis Vutton, Kenzo, Ralph Lauren, Pierre Cardin and
      Marks & Spenser are just a few. For true Turkish fashion, one only has to
      look to the world-renowned couture clothing of designer Rifat Ozbek.

      Turkish ceramic, much like the famous Iznik tiles that adorn the country's
      many fabulously decorative mosques, also attract shoppers who seek
      traditional items. Handmade tiles, trivets, plates, cups and bowls are
      widely available, with colorful designs that have been replicated from
      17th and 18th century works. Excellent values can be found throughout
      Turkey on ceramic goods, but in the town of Avanos, in the Cappadocia
      region, one can take advantage of both value and a wide-range of designs
      and colors in pottery made from the nearby Red River.
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