Turkey grand bazaar

Sometimes the name is enough to tell most of the story. the grand bazzar, grand bazzar. Not the big bazaar, not the magnificent bazaar, grand.  The word itself sends you back a couple of hundred of years.

When we arrived to Istanbul, it was clear that everything was just preparation for the grand bazaar, and all other attractions were just something to do until we get there. I have a market fetish. You can always get good shots in a market.
And if you can always get good shots in a market, imagine what happens when I smell a grand bazaar around the corner. And it was there, around the corner. I could feel it. I could smell it.

When it comes to markets, the better ones are the indoor ones, where you have to wait a second until your eyes get used to the darkness, and all the small details are reveled to you like a Polaroid photo appearing as if by magic.

The first thing that struck me, well, at least after I managed to get my eyes off the hundred hypnotic blue eyes that stared at me from the nearest stall, is the decoration on the walls and the ceiling, the painted tiles , in different styles, painting a picture of Istanbul's story.

Like big markets around the world, the grand bazaar has some kind of internal logic, and different sections for different types of merchandise, but other than appreciating that fact I immediately let myself get lost in the small allies and roamed without any clear direction sampling the different sections .

One of my favorite parts was the lamps and copperware. The lamps are all round and playful, colored as a rainbow with geometric patterns and  themes that are primitive enough to be common to most aboriginal cultures, whether it is Navajo Indians or Burmese textile.



There is nothing like walking round a corner and facing a shop full of these lights, warm and tempting, like a crazy array of semi-arab Christmas lights, all glowing side by side, a jungle of beautifull glass and talented craftwork.

And then there are the copperware stores, flaunting the incredibly soft and warm old world visual value of copper, coffeepots and giant shishas, frying pans and long nosed tea samovars, cameras, telescopes, clocks….anything that can be turned into a real living artifact in this plastc infested world.

When you start looking closely at the decorations around you, the tiled walls, the carpets, the beautiful clay pots, you realize fast enough you are once again in front of one of the few artistic accomplishments of Islam – the calligraphy. As images are prohibited, the words themselves will be the decorations. Beautiful. And you can find calligraphy artists around the bazaar, ready to write your name in this ancient graphic manipulation.

After a long day of shooting in the surprisingly cool buildings , one should really rest for a bit and take some weight off the old tired feet, and a cold glass of almond juice and a hot and sweet small cup of tea is exactly what you need. Well, maybe a little baklawa too. and maybe a burekas, just one,  the one wth the salty cheese please.

We didn’t buy anything in the bazzar, not even one blue eye keychain. But it is such an intense experience , we all felt like we took most of it with us, carrying all this distilled richness of culture and  euro-asian lifestyle with us for the rest of the trip.



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