What To Buy In Turkey

what to buy in turkey
| 5 min read

Turkey is a country in the Middle East that sits beside eastern Europe and western Asia. Because of its unique location, this country has very rich ties with the different ancient empires like the Greek, Roman, and Ottoman. Turkey also holds a lot of UNESCO Heritage Sites like Göbeklitepe and Archaeological Site of Troy. Their colorful culture and heritage is eminent in the country’s cuisine, art and design, architecture, and many more! Take home not only memories and photos from your travel in Turkey but also a piece of their culture. So check out an interesting list of what to buy in Turkey in this article.

1. Hand-painted Iznik ceramics

Iznik glazed pottery 1490
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Unknown artist used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Iznik is a town in Turkey famed for its hand-painted ceramics. During the Ottoman Empire, hand-painted Iznik ceramics gained popularity because of their vibrant colors, especially turquoise, cobalt, coral, and malachite which were the traditional colors during that time as well. Throughout centuries, the attraction to these ceramics never faded. Today, you can see public spaces and important structures of Turkey are adorned with Iznik ceramic tiles or other forms. The process of creating these hand-painted artworks is very intricate and laborious, thus, it is also a popular souvenir for travelers because at the first sight of its patterns and colors, one can immediately tell that it is a product of Turkey.

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2. Turkish coffee

Turkish coffee and Turkish delight
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user E4024 used under CC BY-SA 4.0

Another proud product from the Ottoman Empire is Turkish coffee. It is done by brewing very fine coffee grounds of different variants like arabica and robusta. Cafes in Turkey serve you the powdered coffee, hot water, and sugar in a traditional pot called cezve that comes with a porcelain cup called kahve finjani. Aside from its delicious and distinct taste, Turkish coffee also has an interesting history. During the olden days and even up to the present times, this coffee was used to foresee the future of its drinkers. The pattern left by the coffee powder has meaning assigned to it; this is called tasseography. If you are a coffee lover traveling to Turkey, this is a must-buy item for you. Who knows what your cup will tell you!

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3. Turkish carpet and rugs

When you hear about Turkey, for sure beautiful patterns and lively colors come to mind. One way this country showcases artistry is through their world-famous woven rugs and carpets. Authentic Turkish rugs come in four kinds- the Hah, Kilim, Cicim, and Sumak. Each has a varying type of knot and density per square inch. Usually the greater the density, the better your carpet or rug will be. Bring home a Turkish carpet or rug and add a pop of color to accent your home. Surely, this purchase is something you will not regret.

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4. Turkish delights

Turkish Delight lokum
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Chris Brown used under CC BY 2.0

Got a sweet tooth? Take home these Turkish delights to satisfy your cravings. These little treats are made of starch and sugar but can also be mixed with dates, pistachios, and walnuts. Aside from that, Turkish delights are flavored with rosewater, lemon, orange, or mastic and dusted with sugar, cinnamon, or mint. According to locals, these delights are best paired with their famous Turkish coffee. So go ahead and try this flavor of Turkey!

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Turkey Tour Guide

Rose TheGuide

Rose The Guide

Professional Tour / Travel Guide and Photographer Certified by Turkish Republic Ministry of Culture and Tourism. I am a knowledgeable and motivated individual with years of experience in organizing group tours in several areas; have the ability to motivate different sets of audience; have the ability to communicate effectively and possess high degree of energy and enthusiasm.

5. Mosaic lanterns

Turkish mosaic lanterns
Source: Pixabay

Glass-making has been part of Turkey’s culture since the 1200s. With this craft, Turkey was able to create functional yet artistic oil lamps which they use on a daily basis. Each lantern and lamp is made with Byzantine stained glass that showcases different patterns and colors that truly stand out. These mosaic lanterns bring a cozy and homey ambiance and illuminate a kaleidoscope-like dance of colors. With great craftsmanship and beautiful aesthetics, a Turkish mosaic lantern is a must-buy for every traveler.

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6. Nazar boncugo (evil eye)

Nazars Greek evil eye charms
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Guruharsha used under CC BY-SA 3.0

A nazar boncugo is a unique amulet that Turkish people carry with them to protect them from any unfortunate event or mishap. This traditional piece is made from cobalt blue glass with white, yellow, and black circles toward the center. According to their folklore, nazar boncugo works if it breaks for whatever reason. This means that the person carrying it was protected from the “evil eye” without being conscious about it. Every country has its own amulet that stems from its far history and ancestry. For the Turkish, it is this blue bead. So whether you believe in these things or not, try purchasing one and appreciate the history that lies within it.

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7. Spices

Spices in Istanbul
Source: Pixabay

Throughout history, Turkey has been a trading hub for exotic goods that include unique spices. Presently, Turkey produces a ton of freshly ground spices on a daily basis and are a favorite purchase in the market. From local bazaars to gigantic supermarkets, these stacks and stacks of colorful spices just catch the eyes of every tourist. Try some of Turkey’s famous spices that are in almost every dish like oregano, hot red pepper flakes, allspice, nigella seeds, and sumac powder. Bring home some flavors of Turkey and try incorporating them into your own cooking!

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8. Meerschaum pipes

Vintage Hayim Pinhas Briar Tobacco Pipe With Meerschaum-Lined Bowl
Source: Photo by user Joe Haupt used under CC BY-SA 2.0

Meerschaum is a kind of a white stone that is mined in the villages of Eskisehir and Aegean Turkey. This natural gem is used by its locals to make beads for their earrings, bracelets, and necklaces and also to make their famous pipes. Each pipe is made with great artistry and dexterity resulting to a masterpiece that many locals and tourists alike collect. For smokers, meerschaum is considered to be one of the best materials for pipe-making, not only because of its quality but also due to the flavor it adds with every puff.

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9. Peshtemal or Turkish Towel

Turkey puts so much craftsmanship to their goods, from everyday carpets and rugs, to decorative lanterns, and even to their sweet treats. peshtemal is another prodcut of Turkey that is also considered as a handicraft. Each peshtemal is produced by weaving handlooms of linen or cotton that is soft to the skin and absorbs water or sweat well. Traditionally, you can tell where a person is from based on the print and colors of their peshtemal. No doubt, these Turkish towels are not like any ordinary towels you have at home–they showcase colorful designs, a rich cultural background, and great artistry. Enough reasons for you to purchase one!

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10. Nargile

Source: Pixabay

If you are fond of smoking and would want to try the Turkish tobacco, Nargile is then a must-buy for you! The nargile, or hookah, is a water pipe that is composed of four major pieces, namely the gövde (body), lüle (top bowl), marpuç (tube), and agizlik (mouthpiece). To use this, water is poured into the gövde, Turkish tobacco is placed in a bowl with charcoal and covered with a cap., and lastly, a smoker can suck from the agizlik. Nargiles come in different sizes and designs and the most famous of these are made in Istanbul.

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Heritage in a trinket

Turkey has a lot of beautiful places to visit. Tourists and locals alike enjoy Blue Mosque that sits behind an amazing landscape, the famous Pamukkale that mixes thermal relaxation, the Heirapolis ruins, and the ‘fairy chimneys’ of Cappadocia, where hot air balloons decorate a grand natural backdrop. Keep your memories of Turkey alive with their handcrafts, created with so much artistry and history. For sure, every trinket will showcase a bit of this country’s heritage. If you do not have an idea of what memento you want to bring home, then this article will tell you what to buy in Turkey!

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Any must-sees we missed? Tell us about them in the comments section or write a post here to help out fellow travelers!

In light of the February 2023 earthquake that devastated Turkey and Syria, Trip101 urges you to be apprised of the latest news if you have any plans to travel to Eastern Turkey. Other parts of the country remain open to travelers.

Disclosure: Trip101 selects the listings in our articles independently. Some of the listings in this article contain affiliate links.


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A Filipino travel enthusiast who is passionate in experiencing life to its fullest and in going beyond her horizon. She has traveled to some parts of Asia, especially the islands of the...Read more

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