This massive, dazzling, and cacophonous covered market is the ur-bazaar of the Orient; if you’ve envisioned what it will be like, prepare to have your expectations exceeded. The hundreds of stalls here offer every imaginable temptation: elaborate silver jewelry, glass tea sets, silks, spangled cushions, ceramics glazed in azure and crimson, hookahs, candleholders, carpets that look like they just might fly, lamps from which genies might burst. It’s not just for tourists, and you won’t necessarily get ripped off—there are some genuine treasures here. But you need to be patient and cunning to find them. If you can bring a hard-nosed Turkish friend to help you, you’ll do better, especially when negotiating prices. Three shops worth seeking out:
Abdulla (53 Halicilar Caddesi; 90-(212)522-9078), which stocks chic bath amenities.
Can (29 Kalpakcilar Caddesi, Kapalicarsi; 90-(212)520-0397), the source for Byzantine-inspired jewelry.
Deli Kizin Yeri (42 Halicilar Carsisi Caddesi; 90-(212)256-1251), for fez-topped dolls—a perfect, packable gift.