Thursday, February 12, 2015

Top 5 of the Best Antiques Shops in Istanbul

From hidden gems in the Grand Bazaar to smoky bookshops in the back streets of Beyoglu, we hunt down Istanbul's fast-disappearing antique treasures.
istanbul antique shops
Sofa Antique Shop


Just outside the Grand Bazaar's Nurosmaniye gate, Sofa is almost more museum than shop. Arguably most visitors to Istanbul aren't in the market for priceless 19th century Greek and Russian orthodox icons, Ottoman miniatures and book illuminations, but for those who are, it's a must. The icons are often unusual examples of late Ottoman-era production and the miniatures and illuminations portray anything from mythological scenes to Ottoman sultans. Owner Kashif Bey has also lovingly built up a fantastic collection of Turkish, Ottoman and Islamic art, from delicately carved signet rings to maps of the region, engravings and ottoman landscape and portrait paintings, as well as huge art books. Admittedly none of this comes cheap, but Sofa has built its reputation catering for collectors seeking one-off historical objects, impossible to source elsewhere.
Nuruosmaniye Caddesi 53A, Cagaloglu, +90 212 520 2850

Sisko Osman 
sisko osman antique
Sisko Osman

Antique carpets, whilst synonymous with Turkey, remain somewhat of a pirate's trade. While machine-woven rugs – aimed at far eastern clients – are gradually replacing the ancient techniques used to weave carpets, deep in the heart of the Grand Bazaar, Sisko Osman is a truly old style carpet dealer, scouring the cities of Anatolia for rare kilims and halis. His findings are showcased in his shop in Zincirli Han – perhaps the Bazaar's most beautiful courtyard. Deeply knowledgeable, having studied in Cairo and at the Sorbonne, Osman takes great pride in the intellectual content of his work, keen to inform clients of the significance and meaning of their carpets, as they sip cups of hot tea while Osman's apprentices pull out masterpiece after masterpiece.
Zincirli Han 15, Kapali Carsi, +90 212 528 3548

Art House 
art house antiques
Art house

Tucked away behind the many tourist traps for which the Grand Bazaar is becoming a little too famous lie vestiges of the bazaar as was – before the influx of tacky souvenirs and cheap machine-produced carpets. Antique copperware remains an insider's secret, and for those not looking to buy, the copper shops are some of the bazaar's most picturesque corners. Art House in the charmingly rundown Ic Cebeci Han (hans are old trading inns) offers a range of antiquities – from elegant Kütahya porcelain to burnished copper dishes. Pick up a hamam tasi – the water bowls used in the hamam – or an elegant copper plate.
Ic Cebeci Han 17, Yaglikcilar Caddesi, Kapali Carsi, Eminonu

A La Turca

A La Turca antiques

Erkal Aksoy, the irrepressible owner of Cukurcuma's richest antique shop, is as much a curator as he is an antiques dealer. A La Turca has been designed to maintain the illusion of an Ottoman private house overflowing with possessions. Kilims are rolled up and stacked on shelves while tables overflow with the earthy colours of Turkish ceramics: green from Adana and Tokat, yellow and brown from Balikesir, and glittering platters, many covered in macaroons and other sweet delicacies for those who pass by.
Faikpasa 4, Beyoğlu, +90 212 245 2933

Sivasli Istanbul Yazmacisi

sivasli istanbul yazmacisi

It's easy to miss this gem of a shop in among the garish storefronts of the Grand Bazaar. Murat Hashas, however, is where Istanbul's fashion and interior designers go to pick up ikat fabrics (fantastic central Asian woven silks) for couture dresses and expensive cushion covers: clients are said to include Rifat Özbek and Dice Kayek. The walls are lined with a rich kaleidoscope of antique and new, printed and woven fabrics from all over Turkey and central Asia. Especially wonderful are the rolls of ikat, tucked away in a black bin-liner under the desk. They also do a very good line in Ottoman velvets and traditional Turkish wood-block printed cloths.
Yaglikcilar Sokak 57, Kapali Carsi, +90 212 526 7748

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