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“Beware of jewellery conmen!”
Review of Arasta Bazaar

Arasta Bazaar
Ranked #58 of 1,042 things to do in Istanbul
Certificate of Excellence
Attraction details
Level Contributor
15 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 32 helpful votes
“Beware of jewellery conmen!”
Reviewed 13 July 2014

While some of the shops in Arasta Bazaar are, indeed, quite nice and the owners are very polite and accommodating, the only bad experience that I had throughout my otherwise enjoyable stay in Istanbul happened at a jewellery shop (opposite the cafe end) in this very bazaar. As soon as I looked at the necklaces in the window, the man standing outside insisted that I get inside "just to have a look, pleeze-pleeze". That's when the nightmare began... He took all kinds of necklaces from the shelves, made me put some of them on, implored that I buy something, when I said that they're too expensive he started literally begging me to choose one, as "the season is bad and I'm starving". He offered his hand for a handshake and wouldn't let me go. Then he started haggling on the price of one that I said I liked (just to get him off my back, silly me!), kept squeezing my hand and pushed it onto me for 1200 lira (the price started at 2200). He lied about it being silver with inset rubies, made in Anatolia (the truth, as subsequently proven - carneol, bronze, made in Thailand). I was so exhausted and confused by the attack that I finally surrendered and paid by credit card. On the next day, I asked my husband to accompany me and went back to return it. After a heated argument I had to ask for help the manager of Arasta Bazaar and was given back 900 lira - as they put it, the rest was deducted for expenses related to the credit card payment. Such a horrible scam! Istanbul is a wonderful city that I will surely visit again, but I will never ever go near Arasta Bazaar in my life!

Visited July 2014
4 Thank VaIeria
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Sao Paulo, SP
Level Contributor
50 reviews
5 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
“Friendly atmosphere - good English spoken”
Reviewed 28 June 2014

If you are visiting the historic centre of Istanbul and you have a few Lira to spend this is a great place to do it.

As mentioned by others, the shop keepers are friendly, but not over pushy and all kinds of merchandise can be bought here; spices, jewelry, rugs and carpets, fine pottery, clothing and leather goods to name but a few. Also most of the things here were not labelled "made in China" helping the 'feel' of the market - and for those that love to haggle you will not be disappointed.

There are restaurants and cafes here where you can sit and watch the world go by, and wonder how many tourists actually do buy a carpet!

Visited June 2014
1 Thank Fractalize
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Wollongong, Australia
Level Contributor
19 reviews
6 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 20 helpful votes
“Shop till you drop!”
Reviewed 26 June 2014

I had read and heard so many negative reviews about the pompus Grand Bazaar and Spice Bazzar and their maddeningly pushy shopkeepers and high prices that I decided to skip them totally and head straight onto this one in anticipation of an enjoyable experience. Arasta Bazaar didn't disappoint. Sellers are polite, calm, and they speak good English (some in other languages also). This market is loaded with a variety of traditional souvenirs at reasonable prices. If Turkish tea, coffee and hooka is your thing, check out the nicely arranged cafe area at the end of the bazzar!

Visited May 2014
3 Thank Mostafagraphy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
St. Helena Bay, South Africa
Level Contributor
74 reviews
25 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 37 helpful votes
“Great Quiet Market”
Reviewed 23 June 2014

I agree, much better than Grand Bazaar and so close when you are at Blue Mosque or Hagia Sophia. The corridors are wide and found a great shop that had prices on all their items (so no need to negotiate) which was a pleasure! That shop was also cheap, we got magnets for 1TL.

Otherwise, some very nice Turkish towel shops and the Mosoacs Museum is there as well (didnt go in though). One nice thing was that you can visit all by yourself and you are not haggled, you can shop at leisure.

Visited May 2014
Thank Jaxi
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Halifax, Canada
Level Contributor
29 reviews
3 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
“Pleasant shopping area in Istanbul”
Reviewed 14 June 2014

If you're in the vicinity of Hagia Sofia or the Blue Mosque be sure to stop by this little open air shopping district. It is far less hectic and crowded than the Grand Bazaar, and the shopkeepers are not pushy. I went specifically to go to Jennifer's Hamam (textile shop) but there are lots of lovely shops in the district.

Visited May 2014
Thank sarainhalifax
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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