Bartering, Shopping at Arasta Bazaar vs Grand Bazaar Comparison

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Travel – The Arasta Bazaar, Istanbul, Turkey

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Here is a little more about my favorite store. It’s called By Moses Arasta Bazaar, Istanbul, Turkey, located in Sultanahmet, Istanbul. The owner is by my friend, Moses. How the looks, smells, and most importantly how it’s different from other shops is interesting to me. The store sounds like a shop in the West End of London. It sells handmade gift with friendly sales people that speak several languages. I think the best way to do this is with photos. 

The store, By Moses Arasta Bazaar, Istanbul, Turkey sells Turkish natural products. The store isn’t on Trip Advisor because they won’t except his listing without a website. It is on Facebook. someday I would like to make an online storefront for Moses.The colors in his store were stunning. Most importantly, the shop is a Happy Place.

 I haven’t been paid to write this!

By Moses Arasta Bazaar, Istanbul, Turkey

By Moses Arasta Bazaar, Istanbul, Turkey

By Moses Arasta Bazaar, Istanbul, Turkey

The Shop Sold Gifts

They sell lots of scarves: Silk, wool, cashmere, shahtoosh, blends of these fibers. There were cute patterns with lovely quality and a great selection of colors. It was easy to find what you were looking for, although the amount of merchandise is overwhelming. Customers would come in and gawk, standing with their mouths open for a few seconds as they looked around the shop. Customers were often a little stunned, overwhelmed by the variety in such a small space. If approached, they would say, “Just taking it in.

A shop owner’s point of view is — “Yes, can I help you? Are you going to buy something? When are you going to decide what you want? Why is it taking you so long? Yes, please. Yes, please, buy something, please.”  Besides scarves, they sold leather shoes made of kilims – wool carpets. they also sold handbags made of black and brown leather and kilim carpets are beautiful.

Finely Woven Handmade Fabric

We all felt exhausted by the end of each day. It’s hard work to wait for customers, and it can be physically exhausting to do squats and stretches to get the merchandise put away and folded. It’s simple very hard work at the bazaar. So, Moses took little cat naps from time to time.

By Moses Arasta Bazaar, Istanbul, Turkey

Prayer, Smoking, and Zeki

By Moses Arasta Bazaar, Istanbul, Turkey

Zeki, another salesperson, helping at the shop, smoked a lot and prayed five times a day. He tried to maintain Ablution. Ablution is the tradition Muslims follow to be clean, a ceremonial wash for pray. By accident, I kept touching him, making him unclean. This annoyed him, a lot. He would rewash when I touched him. It wasn’t intentional when I touched him. But, routinely in a day. while selling, and doing my story we accidentally touched each other. So I learned that when you shop or work with men if you are a woman do not touch and make sure you don’tt touch Muslim men.

From Beliefnet, here is the explanation

Why wash?

Most religions employ some form of ritual washing. Islam refers to this activity as wudu’, an Arabic term with two principal meanings. First, it stands for a set of ablutions people use to cleanse themselves before prayer; secondly, it signifies a purified state of being. When you wash, you are said to be performing wudu’; having finished, it is a condition you possess. You ‘have’ wudu’, as you have a state of being. Until you ‘break’ it — by falling asleep, for instance, after which the state should be renewed.


In reflection,  his ability to pray was beyond my understanding

by moses, By Moses Arasta Bazaar, Istanbul, Turkey

By Moses Arasta Bazaar, Istanbul, Turkey

It was annoying to think I was making Zeki unclean. Somehow, my touch affected his Ablution, cleanliness, and entrance to Heaven. To me, the doors are open to everyone, based on belief, action, and reaction to others. My head has a hard time keeping my path straight and pointing towards heaven, I didn’t want to make anyone else’s path crooked either. So my goal isn’t to make him annoyed, unclean, or unable to pray. I thought God liked to hear from us, He wants his prayers. 

Customers at By Moses Arasta Bazaar

Unintentionally, I touched Zeki at times. I tried not to touch or bump into him but it’s very hard to not to bump into someone when you are working in close quarters.

Moses ignored the whole thing. When the customers weren’t in the store, he took cat naps. We spent a lot of time waiting, each year there seemed to be fewer customers so each year we spent more time waiting.  Globally the political unrest is deterring tourism. In Istanbul, the political climate makes a significantly impacting tourism. Every day we waited for the next customer; we needed more customers. Unfortunately, there were fewer and fewer customers to be found. If we didn’t have customers, I didn’t have a story.

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Kate started traveling for work. Now with grown children, who are travelers, she travels for pleasure looking for great travel experiences. Currently, her home is in Bellevue, WA, and lives with her cat Angelina Jolie. She has a Bachelor's of Fine Arts, Studio Arts and Art History from the University of Colorado, an MBA and Master of Arts, Management. Her favorite things are exploring new cultures, traveling the world, creating a painting and sour or spicy foods.

1 Comment

  1. Engin Cemal CAPKIN

    April 17, 2018 at 6:36 am

    A Note: Turkish peoples vast majority are Muslim, YES. But there are different sects. For example: Hanafi, Shafii and Alawi. (It look like in Christianity Catholic, orthodox, protestant, Anglican, evangelic, etc…) Turkish peoples mostly Hanafi depends on the sect. In Hanafi belief Ablution does not fail. I think Mr. Zeki is Shafii member. Because in Shafii sect YES. If a men or women touch with the opposite sex occurs ablution deterioration. I think Mr Zeki East or Southeast Anatolian origin. It’s not important, it’s a detail but do not hesitate to shake hands with Turkish men with the worry that your ablution will break down. Best Regards.

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