Istanbul is a magical city that is rapidly becoming one of the top travel destinations in the world, due to the variety it offers in terms of sites, activities, and entertainment. Home to world-renowned attractions and monuments, magnificent architecture, fascinating history, and beautiful natural sites; which it is most visited, Istanbul also happens to be a great shopping destination. Featuring lively bazaars and large shopping malls, the city is a shopaholic’s paradise. Because Islam is the city’s most practiced religion, Muslim-friendly facilities in Istanbul, especially at major shopping sites, are not hard to find. Here are some must-visits for Muslim tourists looking to shop their way through Istanbul!
The Grand Bazaar in Istanbul is a must-see for every individual visiting the city. Located in the heart of the Old City, the chaotic bazaar is hundreds of years old and is the world’s oldest and largest covered market. It is also one of the top attractions in the world, let alone in Istanbul. The colorful Grand Bazaar today covers an area of 54,653 square meters and houses over 4000 shops. At the atmospheric market, visitors will find numerous stores selling jewelry, tea, spices, local ingredients, souvenirs, lanterns, and much more. Muslim shoppers will not have to worry about missing their prayer while at the attraction, since there are two mosques in the Grand Bazaar, and also close by is the iconic Suleymaniye Mosque. Since all restaurants and cafés in Turkey are believed to be Halal, Muslim tourists can dine at one of the numerous eateries found at the bazaar. Although no trip to Istanbul is complete without a trip to the Grand Bazaar, shoppers must be aware that while they will be able to find great deals here, some traders tend to cheat and over-charge tourists.
Also known as the Egyptian Bazaar, the Spice Bazaar is one of Istanbul’s largest bazaars and is the most famous covered market after the Grand Bazaar. Located in the Eminönü quarter of the Fatih district, the bazaar is the center for spice trade in Istanbul and is thus where locals and tourists go to find shops selling all types of aromatic spices. It also houses stores selling the popular Turkish sweet – Turkish delight, souvenirs, nuts, dried fruits, jewelry, coffee, and other food items. Visitors will be able to snack on the variety of food items found here, and at prayer times, they can visit the New Mosque or Yeni Cami, which is located right next door.
The famous İstiklal Avenue, located in the Beyoglu district of Istanbul, is visited by thousands each day. The atmospheric pedestrian street is packed to the brim with stores to suit all tastes and budgets. The impressive 19th-century buildings found here house boutiques, cafés and restaurants, chocolateries, patisseries, art galleries, and more. While Muslim tourists can dine at one of the numerous Halal bistros found here, the avenue also houses some bars, which are best avoided. The Hüseyin Ağa Mosque is where shoppers can head at prayer times.
Located on Istiklal Street, Demirören Shopping Mall is a popular shopping center in Istanbul. Although it is home to stores selling internationally recognized brands, what attracts visitors to the mall is its elegant castle-like exterior. Visitors will also be able to get some food to eat at the kiosks found here, or at the café on top, and they will be able to offer their prayers at the adjoining Hüseyin Ağa Mosque.
In the İstinye quarter of Istanbul is İstinye Park, a large shopping center home to 291 stores, an entertainment area, a park, a bazaar, and more, in closed and open-air sections. Shoppers will be able to satisfy all of their needs and want here since the mall houses a variety of stores selling all types of products. The mall’s food court has a variety of options, and there is a prayer room within İstinye Park. While these are some of Istanbul’s more popular shopping areas, there are countless other markets and malls that shoppers are sure to stumble across when exploring the incredible city.