Istanbul

350. That is the official number of operating bazaars in Istanbul. But this number is far understated—many of the small, informal markets of this metropolis of 18 million are not counted. The marketplaces in Istanbul are as diverse as the people who live there.

Kasımpaşa İnebolu Pazarı

Kasımpaşa is a conservative district inhabited mostly by religious citizens. It covers the hills and the valley of Beyoğlu with a perfect view of the Golden Horn. Every Sunday, a little street of Kasımpaşa changes into a colorful open-air Black Sea village food festival with unique products from Tosya, Kastamonu, and Inebolu. There are usually not more than 35 stands, but all of them belong to the farmers or merchants with seasonal vegetables, village dairy—butter, milk, süzme yoghürt—homemade loaves of bread, village eggs, fresh and alive chickens, organic honey in many variations, handmade jams from mulberry and rosehip, and a selection of wild plants like borage (starflower), fresh mint, and wild herbs.

Samatya Pazarı

The market of Samatya is situated a 5-minute walk from Samatya Meydanı with all the fish restaurants and fish stands. The pazar operates only on Sundays and stretches between a few streets in the neighborhood with many vegetable, fruit, cheese, and nut stalls. The market location on the slope of Samatya makes it one of the nicest situated bazaars in Istanbul, with beautiful light and a view of the Princes Islands. The vendors set up their stalls early in the morning and end their activity by sunset. The energy of the pazar escalates towards afternoon when most of the clients arrive. The pazarcı (bazaar sellers) of Samatya are kind, talkative, and quick to get into friendly interactions with customers. The sellers offer a variety of high-quality products for a reasonable price, politely inviting every passerby to their stalls. The new neighborhood's demography is visible at the Sunday Pazar: many middle-class Turkish citizens mingle with new immigrants like Russians, Ukrainians, Congolese, or Angolans. The Samatya sellers are also of a diverse origin, with many Ukrainians who sell the Eastern European products (sausages, handmade jams, cakes, pickles, cheeses) to their community.