Sunday, July 13, 2008

Bizarre in the Bazaar

I spent friday wandering around the Old Town of Istanbul doing the shopping district. I started at the Grand Bazaar after some impressive views from the tram into town. The bazaar is sectioned into shopping subjects. If you want jewelery, hey are all in the same area. Carpets in another, books in a separate bazaar and pottery in another. I think this is a very guys mentality of getting in and getting out, but for me there are only so many jewelery shops I can see in a row, I ended up zigzagging through the place a few times just to get some variety.

I love the ceilings here. Anything public is painted in gorgeous patterns or tiled to create a visual feast. This is art that is useful. I spent about as much time looking at shops as looking at the ceilings.

I felt a little uncomfortable walking around the bazaar on my own. I kept getting followed around my shop attendants and asked if I'm single and if I want to go out somewhere one night with them. Its a little creepy. You'd think it would be nice for the ego, but its not really.

After the bazaar I went around the past a cemetery which housed high ranking officials, the tombstones are beautiful and depict a culture heavy respectful f the dead. The mausoleum attached to the cemetery had many tombs drapped in rich carpets and a chandelier. You had to cover remove your shoes and cover your head to go in, but since all the signs are in turkish, so I could not read who they people were.

The Suleyimaniye Mosque (Suleiman the Magnificent) is a partially closed for restoration. When I arrived it was prayer time which meant all visitors were banned from the prayer area. In Istanbul, the mosques are all open during the day barring the 5 times a day for prayer, which means 1 hour before and the 20-30 mins for prayer. The grounds they sit on were beautiful, something I have found typical of the city.

After the mosque I cut through the back streets to reach the Spice Bazaar. The streets are covered by massive flags bearing th colours of the winning soccer team, yellow and red. The streets are a hive of people, dogs, cars and wares making it hard to navigate without bumping into anyone. Once again whole streets are sectioned into fabric, electrical, kitchen, clothes.

It you get lost on the way to the spice bazaar. just follow the smell. You can smell it about 2/3 streets away. Its an array of shops that try welcome into the store with tea and ask you questions about where you are from. The attention is over the top and weird.

After this I headed across the Galata bridge and into Taksim. This is like going shopping down Long Street or some shopping street. Picked up a wonderful skirt with embroidery and bells.

1 comment:

Andrew said...

I have heard about this before. Some men in Arabic countries seem to assume Western women are loose and easy. Sad really, but Hollywood probably doesn't help with some of the stuff it puts out.