Ankara has a wide range of shops to enjoy including modern stores selling well-known brands, traditional craft and antique shops in the cobbled streets of the old part of the city. The Karum Is Merkşezi in Tunali Hilmi Avenue is one of the largest malls in Turkey. The two main shopping streets are Koyunpazari and Cansokak and Çikrikçilar Yokusa is the huge colorful open-air bazaar. If you are feeling energetic, it is a ten-minute uphill walk to Ankara Castle – which is well worth doing and has the bonus that there is an open-air bazaar close by! Bargaining over prices is fully expected in Ankara everywhere except the shopping malls and the traders who bargain the hardest are those in the castle bazaar!
1. Enjoy the selection of copperware
The traditionally styled local copperware can be found in many places but it is great fun to head for the Bakircilar Çarşisi – the copper bazaar- there is an array of coffee pots, trays, water jugs, etc. with the chance to watch the craftsmen as they work.
2. Why not hunt for an antique souvenir?
There is a great place to hunt for antiques called Pirinç Han which is a large two-story arcade filled with small antique shops on each floor. Apart from being the perfect place for browsing, there is a lovely café in the central courtyard.
3. Choose a gorgeous silk scarf
The top Turkish brand to look for is ‘Vakko’. The scarves are made in 100% fine silk in a rainbow of different colors with various traditional designs. ‘Vakko’ is a quality brand and also produces lovely accessories such as belts, bags and wallets, clothing and even home textiles.
4. Admire the wonderful selection of glass
There is a wealth of different glass items including ornaments on sale in the city and Ottoman inspired designs and others with Iznik motifs. Glassware made by Paşabatiçe is highly regarded. There are attractive Beykoz bowls and dishes that have been hand painted with floral designs embellished with gold paint. There are some particularly beautiful pieces made from opaque glass that is hand painted with gold patterns and highlighted with red and green artwork. If you would like something more practical, but stylish, look out for the snazzy sets of tea and coffee glasses.
5. Buy a truly unique meerschaum pipe
The handmade pipes are very special because each one is different, elaborately carved and unique. A really good place to see a wide selection is the Traditional Hand Crafts Store Directorate (GES), which also has many other beautiful handicrafts to buy.
6. Choose some beautiful leather
Turkey is well known for its excellent leather and you will definitely be tempted by the colorful range of jackets, skirts, and trousers – all at good prices. There are also plenty of stylish bags, belts, wallets, and purses too.
7. Pack some exotic herbs and spices
One of the best places to get these is in the open air bazaar by the castle. They are bought by weight so they are perfect for popping in your suitcase. Pul Biber – red chili flakes – is one of the most popular as is sumac which is a mixture of ground red berries.
8. Taste some delicious baklava
Everyone enjoys this delicious traditional pastry and when eaten straight from the bakery, it just can’t taste any better! Baklava is made from sheets of filo pastry with walnuts and a rose-water flavored syrup. There are a number of bakeries in the city selling it in well-protected gift boxes – ideal to pop in your case!
9. Invest in some gold
You will be dazzled by the glittering window displays of the jewelry shops – and delighted with the prices! Gold in Turkey is of good value and is purer than usual (it is a higher carat). The gold is available both in traditional Turkish designs and classic European favorites and it is quick and easy to get pieces altered to ensure the perfect fit. If you find a piece you like, it is well worth bargaining to get a really good price.
10. Buy a Nargile!
The traditional nargile smoking pipes are widely available in a variety of sizes and colors and are great fun to buy for decoration in your home. Having said that, the nargile pipes are fully working and can be used to smoke a variety of different fruit tobaccos – if this is what you have in mind, why not pay a visit to one of the numerous nargile cafés to try one out and get instruction on how it works?
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