Souvenirs from Istanbul

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Jan 22nd, 2013, 07:20 PM
  #1
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Souvenirs from Istanbul

I hardly ever buy anything significant when I travel - usually a trinket or two, something I can either hang on the wall or put on the shelf to remind me of my trip when I look at it, or some table item that reminds of the trip when I use it. We are likely going to Istanbul later this year, so I wonder what might be of particular interest to bring home.
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Jan 22nd, 2013, 10:45 PM
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sf - you might have better luck posting this on the Europe forum, but I'll see if I can give you some ideas.

Assuming you will be going to the Grand Bazaar, here are my favorites (I've been several times, LOVE that place!). I've tried to include photos to give you an idea.

- bags (of all sizes) made from carpets
http://shard1.1stdibs.us.com/archive...21810080_1.jpg

- ceramics - bowls, plates, cups, tiles, hanging balls, etc
http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-JWxqShXJmH...aar+Turkey.JPG
http://www.flickr.com/photos/chiangkang/3138720225/

- mosaic candle holders and lanterns
http://image.shutterstock.com/displa...e-49399753.jpg

- inlaid mother of pearl items (we got a chess board similar to this one)
http://www.flickr.com/photos/pictureclara/6055847292/

And, of course, lots of carpets and jewelry.
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Jan 23rd, 2013, 04:25 AM
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not fair, not fair at all! Wait until the wife sees these great pics. Was wondering about a stopover there on next trip to East Africa.
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Jan 23rd, 2013, 04:48 AM
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rsnyder - oh....that's just the beginning of what you'll find at the Grand Bazaar!!!!
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Jan 23rd, 2013, 08:04 AM
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Grcxx, thanks - I don't know why I posted it here, and eventually I will repost in Europe (well, I do know why, it's because someone else had asked about 3 days in Istanbul....)

I just looked at the pix. I love ceramics, so I know what I'm destined to bring home
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Jan 23rd, 2013, 08:50 AM
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I bought a rug that I absolutely love. The ceramics are just beautiful and I wish I had brought back one of the beautiful handpainted plates (a reason to return!). I also bought spices since I love to cook and apple tea! I bought some beautiful scarves (pashminas), too, as gifts. Just be careful with the scarves, many are made in China and you have to go with the higher quality ones to get Turkish made ones.
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Jan 23rd, 2013, 10:42 AM
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Lots and lots of choices at the bazaars as well detailed above. Carpets are lovely, but you'd better know about weaving, threads, overall quality and prices before putting down your plastic.

But for me, if/when I return or someone who is and wants to bring be a gift... a scarf or two or three or more from Vakko. These by far, put Hermes, Chanel, Dior or others to shame. Available in various sizes, colors - the prices are a steal. The few I own, are of the finest silk, some with hand paintings or golden threads... amazing. We couldn't decide which to purchase with dozens in front of us and I can tell you the Japanese tourists were buying up almost everything... but we sure didn't leave empty-handed. At their main store on that vehicle-free street (believe Istikal or somthing like that)... as you walk thru the front door, there they are.

Anyone who has seen, purchased or received one of these as a gift, will immediately recognize them for their uniqueness. I've been stopped on the streets of NYC by strangers, asking 'where did you find that, or I know that's a Vakko scarf'...

If you're from the States, these can be difficult to find, though at one time Needless Markups (Neiman Marcus) carried some though not a full line... but no longer, though you might find Vakko leather items in the States somewhere and these too one doesn't turn their back on.

One of these scarves for yourself or a gift to another, can just as easily be framed. Look for them.
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Jan 23rd, 2013, 03:19 PM
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Thanks sandi - I love scarves!!
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Jan 23rd, 2013, 03:24 PM
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Sandi, what constitutes "the prices are a steal"?
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Jan 24th, 2013, 07:27 AM
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I found some lovely ceramics in Istanbul. Firca is one Ger nice (and pricey) store. I brought back a variety of interesting spices from the Spice Market where I enjoyed
the browsing more than at the Grand Bazaar.
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Jan 24th, 2013, 08:33 AM
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"what's a steal?" Just happens I can across the receipt the other day while cleaning out stuff. And though these purchases were a few years back, can't imagine the prices are that much higher. What the receipt showed was 1/ea for mom and sister, the traditional 36-40" squares, for myself two... an oblong (hand painted design, with gold threads, perfect for a suit) and large 60" square for myself... less than $300 total. They've been dry cleaned over the years, with no fading of colors, threads being loss/pulled out and the silk fabric weight was as those other named designers.

A single 36-40" square Hermes was going for more than that!

Even though Turkey has a secular government, with a large Muslim population, more and more women, young (especially) and old are covering... these are their #1 choice, so are priced to accommodate the local populace besides only for visitors. Vakko is a Jewish owned company and has been in business a few generations.

Any hotel will know about and be able to direct you to a Vakko store.
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Jan 24th, 2013, 08:56 AM
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Thanks Sandi!
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