Shopping in Turkey
Shopping in Turkey is not idle walks through fashionable malls, but gambling in the markets, treasure hunts in souvenir shops, fashion experiments in the boutiques of local designers. The most popular among tourists are unique Turkish handmade carpets, jewelry and all kinds of leather goods: sheepskin coats, raincoats and jackets. A nice little gift for loved ones is the “eye of Fatima” in pendants, earrings, key chains and bracelets: the famous amulet will save you from damage and complement the image. A more expensive souvenir is a Turkish hookah: the inhalation of fragrant vapors is almost a cult here.
It is most profitable to shop at sales: in summer (from July to August) and in winter (from January to February), discounts in Turkish stores reach 70%.
Cappadocia is famous for its earthenware, Marmaris for rich-tasting honey. In Bursa, you should definitely buy a branded chestnut dessert, in the resorts of the Aegean coast – natural soap based on olive oil. Gourmets are unlikely to leave without a box or two of famous Turkish sweets, and fans of stronger drinks – without a bottle of local raki vodka.
Most retail outlets are open from 10:00 to 22:00, from 13:30 there is a half-hour lunch break, Sunday is a day off. Shops in resort areas are open until late in the evening, large shopping centers in megacities are waiting for customers all week.
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Turkish Cuisine and Restaurants
Pillars of Turkish cuisine: beef (rarely lamb), legumes, vegetables (tomatoes, onions, garlic, eggplant), a wide variety of spices, rice and bread as main side dishes. Popular dishes are made mainly from minced meat – these are variations of kebabs and kyufta, grilled or stewed in sauce. An indispensable component of the meal is “meze”: a bunch of caps with tiny portions of all kinds of cold appetizers (if you do not restrain your appetite, you can fill yourself up with meze alone).
It is worth trying Turkish sweets – endless varieties of baklava and Turkish delight. Of the drinks, as elsewhere in the East, coffee and tea are the most popular. Among the local highlights, one can single out “boza” – a mixture of water, flour and sugar, and “sahlep” – sweet milk with orchid root and cinnamon. Famous alcoholic drinks: “raki” (strong anise flavored liquor), many varieties of good local wine and beer (Efes, Tekel Birasi). By the way, do you know why Turks drink coffee with water ?
In mid-range restaurants, you can tip 10% of the bill. In more expensive places, it is customary to leave about 5% personally to the waiter, even if the service fee (10-15%) is already included in the bill. Taxi drivers are usually given change, and tour bus drivers, porters and maids are given 1-2 USD.
Many restaurants in Turkish cities specialize in a single type of food. For example, “kebapchi” offer to taste dozens of varieties of kebab, “keftedzhi” are treated to branded kyufta (you can have a tight bite for 15-20 TRY). “Balyk locantasy” are common in coastal cities: fish rule the culinary ball here (lunch – from 20 TRY). Chefs in “ishkembeji” skillfully prepare tripe soup (5 TRY), in “dener saloon” – shawarma (from 8-10 TRY), in “pideji” – local pizza: pancakes with minced meat, cheese and tomatoes (from 15 TRY).
“Tatlydzhi” is a dream of a sweet tooth: eyes widen from the abundance of desserts, the wallet is empty by 10 TRY.
In “meyhan” people come to drink and chat, the cost of pleasure is from 30-100 TRY. And “locants” are restaurants with traditional dishes typical for each particular region (the average check is from 25 TRY). Dinner in a good Istanbul restaurant will cost from 100 TRY per person, in a similar establishment in Antalya – from 70 TRY.
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Entertainment and attractions
People go to Turkey more for a beach holiday than for a sightseeing holiday, but in vain: there are an incredible number of sights here. Monuments of culture and architecture – fragments of different eras and witnesses of high-profile events – are found in almost all corners of Turkish land with its thousands of years of history.
Most of the attractions in Istanbul are in the Sultanahmet district: Topkapi Palace (the first palace of the sultans, the former residence of the Ottoman Empire), Hagia Sophia (Church of the Holy Wisdom), Blue Mosque (Sultanahmed, the world’s first mosque with six minarets), Basilica Cistern (Yerebatan-saray, underground water storage), Ahmediye square. In the New Town area, you should definitely see the Dolmabahce Palace and the famous Bosphorus Bridge.
Cappadocia is a region in Central Anatolia, one of the most visited places in Turkey. See other countries beginning with T. Nevsehir is the administrative center of Cappadocia, its main attractions belong to the Seljuk and Ottoman periods: the citadel, mosques, a religious school and a museum. 8 km from Nevsehir is the town of Chad with ancient dwellings carved in soft tufa and long labyrinths. Or, finally, the amazing Van Lake, where only 1 species of fish lives.
More information about interesting places in the country is described on the Turkey attractions page.
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10 things to do in Turkey
- Walk the streets of Ankara and understand why it deserved the title of the Turkish capital.
- Of all the palaces, mosques and museums in Istanbul, find and choose your favorites.
- Trust the tempting offers of hoteliers and find out if the notorious all-inclusive vacation is so good.
- Break the mold and go to Turkey not in summer, but in winter, changing your bathing suit for ski equipment.
- Taste the best kebab in “kebapchi” or delicious sweets in “tatlydzhi”.
- Bargain at noisy bazaars and take away a new leather thing with you.
- Make time for your health: take a steam bath in a real hammam or venture into a “fish massage” in Kangal.
- Go to the rock monasteries of Cappadocia and admire the joint creations of nature and man.
- Visit inside the Trojan horse (albeit a copy, but still) and see how Troy lives in peacetime.
- Listen to the silence in Kayakoy, an abandoned ghost town near Fethiye, the largest in the entire Mediterranean.