The word for Sunday in Turkish is ‘Pazar’. Thus, the bazaar is a weekly event in most Turkish neighborhoods and towns. People from all over the area come to the local bazaar for produce, fish, nuts, cheeses, clothing, spices and household goods. It is a lively and overwhelming experience to many foreigners, but a part of everyday life for most Turks. The bazaar is where you find the best deals and the freshest produce. A normal back street is transformed into a lively market space. Vendors yell the price of their goods, and attempt to lure you to their stands. Large and small busses change their routes to bring people to and from the bazaar. The streets are covered with plastic tarps, and the products are carefully arranged. You can find almost anything in the neighborhood bazaar: bras, honey, shoes, head scarves, eggs, pickled vegetable, special sauces, socks, cheese graters, cutting boards and more… It is a vibrant experience that excites all of the senses.
Unfortunately, as the number of supermarkets and malls increase throughout the city, the neighborhood bazaars have slowly declined in number. Bazaars no longer occur solely on Sunday. Nor does each neighborhood host a bazaar of its own. In Istanbul, the major bazaars are spread out throughout the week.
It proved to be quite difficult to find an English schedule for the bazaars throughout the city, so below is my attempt to create one. It is not a comprehensive list, but highlights some of the most popular bazaars, as well as some of my personal favorites…
The Istanbul Bazaar Schedule
Wednesday: Fatih and Yesilkoy
Thursday: Akatlar and Erenkoy
Friday: Findikzade and Gultepe (Levent)
Saturday: Bakirkoy, Besiktas and Ferikoy (the organic market!)
Sunday: Gulbag (Mecidiekoy), Kosuyolu and Tarlabasi