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Buying Scarves in Turkey

I am not a shopper but I have been charged with bringing back ladies scarves from Turkey.
Where would the best place to purchase these items be?
I want to be efficient in this task.
Cheers,
Bob

Posted by
2499 posts

If you are on the RS tour, you will have multiple opportunities to buy scarves. Head scarves are a thing in Turkey after all. In Istanbul, there is the Grand Bazaar. When we were in Cappadocia walking with our guide in Mustafapasa in Cappadocia, a local woman saw our group passing by and came out of her home with her lovely hand crocheted bordered scarves. I suspect she is used to RS groups coming through and was lying in wait for us. LOL! Anyway I bought one of her scarves which were inexpensive and a nice souvenir. Others in our group purchased one or two scarves as well. On our tour we also visited a rural market and there were scarves to purchase there as well although not as nice as the one I bought in Mustafapasa.

Posted by
27419 posts

I'm giggling at the thought of a male person wandering into the Grand Bazaar in search of scarves. There would be tales to tell, I am sure.

Posted by
4935 posts

The Rick Steves Best of Turkey and Best of Istanbul tours take their groups to the Cashmere House in the Grand Bazaar:
http://cashmerehouse.com.tr/

They have (must be) thousands of scarves in every shape, size, fabric and price range. I bought a colorful cotton scarf for $15.

You may want to ask questions about what the recipients of these scarves are hoping for, to help you narrow down the choices.

Their address in the Grand Bazaar is:
Keseciler Cad. No: 49-51

Looking at this map, it's near the bottom, one of the "streets" (indoors) in green:
http://www.istanbultrails.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/10/istanbul-grand-bazaar-map-1.jpg

My photos show that it is steps from the intersection where you'll see one of 2 fountains in the map, which are 5 or 6 foot marble-looking washing fountains.

Posted by
525 posts

I bought two cashmere scarves at the above-mentioned Cashmere House. I love cashmere because it is light, soft and warm! Of course, they are more pricey, but I love them and use them a lot. The people at this store in the Grand Bazaar are friendly and helpful.

Posted by
4935 posts

I was chuckling to myself (and at myself, not at you!) last night because a) it might be difficult (even with the map) to find your way to the Cashmere House - although I'm sure that other helpful vendors will point you in the right direction. And because b) you'll probably pass a dozen (or 3 dozen) places selling scarves on your way to the Cashmere House.

Ah well, they really did have a nice selection. And I suspect if you show a Rick Steves book, or mention Rick Steves, you may get a warm welcome, or perhaps a warm apple tea, as we all did while we shopped.

Posted by
2267 posts

I'm giggling at the thought of a male person wandering into the Grand Bazaar in search of scarves.

These forums are generally so polite, I'm surprised to see a comment so rooted in outdated stereotypes.

Posted by
27419 posts

Sorry about that. I'm female, and I was thinking more about the getting-lost part and being awash in a sea of textile booths that look very much alike if you're not an expert (been there, done that). I apologize for the offense.

Posted by
2267 posts

Thanks for the apology. To be clear, I was not offended, but truly surprised to see someone talk like that here.

Posted by
11505 posts

I want to be efficient in this task.

If on an RS tour I think I would seriously consider asking one of the females on the tour to do the shopping. Odds are at least one will be shopping for a scarf at some point.

Posted by
738 posts

Good suggestion from Joe:

If on an RS tour I think I would seriously consider asking one of the
females on the tour to do the shopping. Odds are at least one will be
shopping for a scarf at some point.

Turkey is a paradise for a scarf junkie like me. There will be pretty scarves everywhere. The Grand Bazaar will have a tremendous selection, although not necessarily the best deals. (I am heading back to the US from Istanbul today, and .... well, I am not saying how many scarves I bought on this trip.)

Do find out if your friends have any preferences for colors, materials, or uses.

Posted by
738 posts

A little more about scarves in Turkey ...

You will see everything from lovely cotton scarves that cost just a few dollars (I have some lovely ones that I paid 50 cents for back in 2017, but they run more like $5 these days) to gorgeous silk or cashmere scarves with $100+ price tags.

The most common scarves you will see in Turkey are:

  • Printed silk tulip scarves. The most traditional color is white or off-white with turquoise, navy, and red -- very much like what you would see on Iznik tiles in the Blue Mosque or Rustem Pasha. However, they come in every color imaginable these days. The quality varies considerably. They almost always have 'Bursa' printed on the scarf because the finest silk (in the world?) traditionally came from Bursa. The truth is that almost all of the Mulberry trees in Bursa are gone now. They import the silk from China and print the scarves in Bursa. You can still get real Bursa silk, but it's very pricey --- and you have to know what you're doing. 99% of what you will see now is Chinese silk printed in Bursa. They are still lovely scarves, though, and the prices are quite reasonable. If I were bringing a scarf back for someone, that's probably what I would choose.

  • Cheap pashminas. There's no telling what they are made of --- could be cotton, viscose, wool, or some combination. (Weird story: there was a big scandal in Italy a few years ago when they discovered that some of them were made at least partially from rat fur.) They seem to run about $10 these days (used to be $5). You can find them a bit cheaper if work at it. I love them for dog walking and casual use. My favorites all came from Turkey -- they just pay more attention to colors and details.

  • Cotton, polyester, or modal/viscose scarves. There are some very pretty ones, and they don't cost much. I always pick up a few when in Turkey.

Other scarves to look for:

  • Very light silk scarves. I suspect they come from India, but I am not sure. I have several and love them.

  • I have one of the crocheted scarves from Cappadocia. It's very pretty, but I don't wear it often.

  • Museum scarves. Just like museum scarves in the US, they are high quality and pricey (~$100) -- and very Turkish themed. I have one from 2015 that is based on the mosaics from the Hagia Sophia. Heck, you can't even see the real mosaic these days, and I am sure they aren't making mosaic themed scarves anymore.

Posted by
484 posts

The Arasta Bazaar is also a good place to buy scarves. Much smaller than the Grand Bazaar and low pressure from the vendors :-)
Its near the blue mosque so right in the main tourist area.