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A Rummage Around Ferikoy Flea Market.

Ferikoy Flea Market in Istanbul.

A Rummage Around Ferikoy Flea Market.

September 2020.

It was a warm late afternoon as Sladja and I wandered through Istanbul’s Ferikoy district. We were on our way to the nearby neighbourhood of Bomonti, a fashionable culinary hotspot where we hoped to grab dinner and drinks. I can’t say we stumbled upon Ferikoy Flea Market, because actually our Airbnb hostess had recommended it to us.

Ferikoy Market Istanbul map.

“Istanbul’s most authentic market” wrote one reviewer online. “The antidote to the tack and hassle of The Grand Bazaar!” claimed another. Mm, sounds like our kinda place, let’s do it.

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A Rummage Around Ferikoy Flea Market.

Figuring this was the perfect opportunity to kill two birds with one stone, we decided to pop our heads into the market on our way to Bomonti. Timing wise, we hadn’t exactly aced our visit. In fact, with the market closing at 19:00 we arrived to find the place already in the gradual state of winding down for the evening.

An afternoon Rummage Through Ferikoy Flea Market.

A Rummage Around Ferikoy Flea Market.

Indeed some vendors had already vacated their wooden tables. Others were packing up. As we entered, one man had just picked up his table and was now trudging off to wherever it is wooden tables go at the end of the day. Back of the car? Storage room?

A Rummage Around Ferikoy Flea Market.

A Rummage Around Ferikoy Flea Market.

A Rummage Around Ferikoy Flea Market.

Amusingly, other vendors hadn’t yet decided if they were staying to the bitter end. Due to the fact that they were fast asleep. Hm, a slow day I guess. Or perhaps that’s just how things roll at the market. I’m not sure if there was someone keeping an eye on her stuff, but she certainly didn’t seem concerned about theft.

Sleeping on the job at Ferikoy Antiques Market

A Rummage Around Ferikoy Flea Market.

Established in the mid 1980s, the market is home to over 200 vendors and goes by a number of names. Many people for example call it Ferikoy Antiques Market, as it’s known as one of Istanbul’s best places for antique lovers. Moreover, come here on a Saturday and there is a whole different atmosphere for the weekly Ferikoy Organic Bazaar.

A mural at Ferikoy Organic Bazaar.

A Rummage Around Ferikoy Flea Market.

While there weren’t any fruit or veg stalls on the day of our visit, we did enjoy the many murals that celebrate the Organic Bazaar and its short history.

Ferikoy Organic Bazaar.

A Rummage Around Ferikoy Flea Market.

In addition to fruit and veg, the market is a great spot for locally produced honey, jam and cheeses. There are also usually a handful of folk cooking up hot snacks. Such as the much beloved Gözleme, a buttery, oily turnover stuffed with anything from minced lamb to spinach and eggplant. Oh, and plenty of people online claim the market has some of Istanbul’s tastiest fresh fish.

Ferikoy Organic Bazaar.

Fresh fish at Ferikoy Organic Bazaar.

A Rummage Around Ferikoy Flea Market.

Wandering the aisles, we immediately understood that the vendors who’d stayed awake were just as chilled as those who were napping. Beyond the occasional nod and smile, everyone seemed more than happy leaving us to our own devices. Thus we had all the time in the world to quietly check out this amazing stall of creative steampunk lights. Mr. Vendor even politely looked the other way as I lined up my photo.

Steampunk lights Ferikoy Flea Market.

A Rummage Around Ferikoy Flea Market.

Many older vendors simply don’t speak English, hence they can’t be bothered laying on the hard sell. It was a similar situation with the younger sellers, though I suspect in some cases there was a bit of too cool for school thrown in as well. In any case we moved on from this stall after a quick rummage through its unpredictable hodgepodge of underwhelming bric-a-brac.

Bric-a-brac for sale at Ferikoy Flea Market.

A Rummage Around Ferikoy Flea Market.

I did like how we never quite knew what was coming up next. A stall of vintage movie posters and early 20th century postcards. Rows of painted porcelain vases and a wobbly hillock of silver and iron coins. Furthermore, there were watches, teacups, polaroid cameras and craft jewellery.

Tosun Pasa 1976 Turkish comedy film.

Tosun Paşa: a classic 1976 Turkish comedy.

At one anything goes stall, pictured below, I enjoyed the unlikely combination of fancy brass candlesticks and some dried wood harmoniums. Not to mention the admittedly creepy dolls that could have once been the stars of some forgotten 1960s Mardi Gras horror movie.

A Rummage Around Ferikoy Flea Market.

The hidden delights of Ferikoy Flea Market

A Rummage Around Ferikoy Flea Market.  

Before long, I tracked down the obligatory collection of used vinyl. Featuring, among others, iconic Turkish singer songwriters and pioneering 60s rock bands, including The Kinks and The Byrds.

Vinyl records at Ferikoy Flea Market.

A Rummage Around Ferikoy Flea Market.

On the subject of music, there were numerous stalls dealing in vintage audio equipment. Some pretty cool record players, amps and speakers. All of which had me feeling more than a little nostalgic for the personal hi-fi system I put together from separate parts back in the mid 90s when I was a teen.

Second hand audio equipment at Ferikoy Antiques Market

A Rummage Around Ferikoy Flea Market.

Eventually, we found something that we could claim for ourselves. A little memento, if you will, of our time in Istanbul. We had a good feeling abut this modest box of poster prints the moment we began leafing through them.

Browsing the poster prints at Ferikoy Flea Market

Decisions, decisions.

It was just a case of finding the right one. A print that now sits in Belgrade with all the other ones we’ve picked up during our four years together living and travelling the world. Soon, fingers crossed, we’ll be in a situation to gather all this stuff together as we close in (possibly) on the promised land of crafting a settled home in a new country.

Exploring Istanbul.

Visit Istanbul Ferikoy Flea Market.

Our choice.

Satisfied with our rapid rummage through Ferikoy Flea Market, we made for the exit with our stomachs rumbling. Past the stalls of paintings, comics, cassette tapes, dolls, crockery, DVDS and tablecloths.

A blog review of Ferikoy Flea Market

Somebody get these dolls some clothes!

Like this? Take a look at my series of articles on Istanbul.

I’ve been living, working and traveling all over the world since 2001. So why not check out my huge library of travel reports from over 30 countries.

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  • Irisje R

    I went to Istanbul in 2016. Unfortunately I only had about 3 full days to see the place. Reading your blogs about the city makes me want to go back there and stay a bit longer to see more of the city. Thanks for giving me ideas of where to go the next time I visit that amazing city.

    July 26, 2023 - 3:27 pm Reply
    • Leighton

      Thanks Irisje, I think this is a fun under the radar spot that not everyone takes the time to see when in Istanbul. It’s good for getting an idea of local life in a non-touristy neighbourhood.

      July 26, 2023 - 4:03 pm Reply
  • christinenovalarue


    July 26, 2023 - 3:52 pm Reply
  • Lyssy In The City

    You never know what you’ll find at a flea market! Jon and I went to some antique stores recently and we couldn’t believe how expensive things were. We were very careful not to touch or break anything ha!

    July 26, 2023 - 4:07 pm Reply
    • Leighton

      I think there are few such markets that truly offer amazing bargains anymore. Car boot sales and flea markets have generally gone the same way back in The UK, everything is getting gentrified with a “shabby chic” vibe, as they call it. Take an old clock that’s been sitting in grandad’s basement. Give it a polish and boom, that’s $300 thanks. Ferikoy Flea Market though seemed to channel that old vibe of what such markets used to be. I liked how it was informal, unpretentious and with plenty of interesting stuff with sensible price tags.

      July 26, 2023 - 5:25 pm Reply
  • Memo

    Flea markets can be such a hit or miss experience. The best ones seem to have vendors that have a particular specialty. Why did I know you’d head for the used vinyl. They should have had some way for you to listen to the unknowns. At least I picked up a useful new concept. Steampunk was unknown to me until I followed your link. Thanks for including the map at the beginning. Saved me from having to search in Google maps.

    July 26, 2023 - 4:45 pm Reply
    • Leighton

      Yeah, listening to some Turkish records would’ve been cool. Sadly they weren’t playing anything, which feels like a missed opportunity. Cheers, Memo!

      July 26, 2023 - 6:31 pm Reply
  • Stan

    i think its commendable that you include such a spot in your istanbul guide. its surely a place many would not think of visiting but clearly worth a stop when in this part of the city. you got some intimate people shots and a fine souvenir to boot

    July 26, 2023 - 6:06 pm Reply
    • Leighton

      Hey Stan, I’m glad you enjoyed this one. I had originally planned to include Ferikoy Flea Market at the end of the series in a wrap-up ‘Cool Spots’ article. But then I thought what the heck, why not mix things up and give it its own show. I also think it would be cool to see it on the weekend when it’s in Organic Bazaar mode.

      July 26, 2023 - 6:24 pm Reply
  • Annie Berger

    Steven and I are huge fans of markets when we travel as I like to think they give us a sense of a local way of life. Especially liked that you weren’t hassled as you made your way up and down the aisles past vendors who couldn’t speak English. You really found a market for locals, not tourists at Ferikoy!

    Wondering where you will choose to put your Istanbul print!

    July 26, 2023 - 6:41 pm Reply
    • Leighton

      Your’e spot on about markets being windows into local culture, Annie. I’m sure you guys have seen some awesome markets during your travels around the world. Sadly the Istanbul print will remain boxed up until Sladja and I finally make our own home. Thanks for reading and commenting Annie.

      July 26, 2023 - 7:30 pm Reply

    I don’t remember visiting Ferikoy, clearly we missed something. I do remember Bomonti though, for unfortunate reasons. Having been in gentle, rural parts for a couple of weeks, we forgot to switch on our big city defence mechanisms and got ripped off twice in the first few hours! It’s great reading your takes on Istanbul though, I think we share many opinions.

    July 26, 2023 - 7:00 pm Reply
    • Leighton

      While Ferikoy is hardly an essential Istanbul sight, I think if one has enough time it’s definitely worth checking out. Just a real nice change of tone and pace from the buzz of the main tourist treadmill. How did you get ripped off in Bomonti?

      July 26, 2023 - 7:34 pm Reply

        1) by the amount on the bill not corresponding to what he’s keyed into the card machine and 2) purposefully misinterpreting “can I have the bill?” as “can I have another beer” and insisting that we had to pay because we’d “ordered” it…

        July 26, 2023 - 7:36 pm
      • Leighton

        Sneaky, sneaky. I’m sure I’ve fallen foul to the card trick before, though the “beer” vs “bill” thing is perhaps a new one for me. People…

        July 26, 2023 - 7:39 pm

        C’est la vie, you live and learn. We’re normally pretty savvy but like I say we’d just failed to switch in to city mode…

        July 26, 2023 - 7:41 pm
  • kagould17

    Ahhh, flea markets…One man’s trash is another man’s treasure. What a great place to see the local life and the bonus is to be away from the hard sell. Just local people cleaning out their closets and such. I imagine there may even be a few finds in such a place. Thanks for sharing Leighton. Allan

    July 26, 2023 - 7:20 pm Reply
    • Leighton

      I’m glad this article landed, Allan. As a kid I used to love going to car boot sales to seek out second hand comics and video games. I guess Ferikoy reminded me of that in a way. We’re glad we went, it offered a totally different perspective to the city.

      July 26, 2023 - 7:36 pm Reply
  • Mike and Kellye Hefner

    I’m not a shopper per se, but I love wandering around antique stores – mostly to see the things that I had as a kid or young adult that are now considered “antique”. The Ferikoy Flea Market would be a place where I could spend hours just browsing. I love the poster you and Sladja bought, but I’m sorry you didn’t pick up one of those red phones or a naked Barbie doll. Wouldn’t those make great conversation pieces? 😁

    July 26, 2023 - 7:43 pm Reply
    • Leighton

      You know, I begged Sladja to let me get one of the Barbie dolls but alas she put her foot down 😉 I agree that the red phones are really cool. Having one of those in the apartment would make me feel just a little more like Winston Churchill. I totally understand your sentiments about antique stores Kellye.

      July 26, 2023 - 8:01 pm Reply
  • Travels Through My Lens

    I love flea markets, there’s a surprise around every corner, some lucky finds, and others not so much like the creepy horror movie dolls. 😉 There are quite a lot of them here in France, with some terrific bargains to be found, as long as one has the patience to sort through some undesirable stuff. I’m curious to read more about your new home country, and hope you and your lovely wife all the best during your transition.

    July 26, 2023 - 8:51 pm Reply
    • Leighton

      Hey Tricia, it’s been fun to see how many readers have a genuine affection for flea markets like Ferikoy. As for our new home country, we are still in the process of seeing if Armenia can work out for us. It’s all a bit complicated and long-winded, but we are hoping for the best. One of these years (some distance down the line I’m guessing) I will definitely be writing about our experiences here.

      July 26, 2023 - 9:22 pm Reply
  • Little Miss Traveller

    Ferikoy Market looks to be an interesting place for a browse. I always like to discover local non-touristy neighborhoods too. Another useful, informative post Leighton.

    July 26, 2023 - 10:01 pm Reply
    • Leighton

      Thanks for reading about Ferikoy Flea Market, Marion.

      July 26, 2023 - 10:39 pm Reply
  • Rebecca

    The Ferikoy Flea Market is certainly a huge difference from the gaudy, touristy Grand Bazaar. It appears the flea market is more for the locals themselves, and from the photos you took, there looks to be a lot of unexpected gems there. Looks like a lot of fun taking a gander there!

    July 27, 2023 - 2:25 am Reply
    • Leighton

      I think had we not been digital nomads perpetually travelling out of suitcases we might have taken a chance on an antique or too. As it was, the poster was a safe purchase that eded up travelling by hand as carry on luggage. Thanks for reading, Rebecca.

      July 27, 2023 - 9:36 am Reply
  • Anna

    I love poster art, you made a good choice with your Istanbul one!

    July 27, 2023 - 3:15 am Reply
    • Leighton

      Cheers Anna, it has since been sitting in Sladja’s bedroom in her parents house in Belgrade these past three years.

      July 27, 2023 - 9:38 am Reply
  • salsaworldtraveler

    A great but dangerous find if one is short on time. There is something for everyone in that amazing market. Actually many things for everyone. The stereo equipment looked really interesting to me.

    July 27, 2023 - 3:26 am Reply
    • Leighton

      Hey John, it’s wonderful to have you back. The stereo equipment would have had my teenage self’s eyes lighting up with hunger. Back when a) I actually put together an audio system of my own b) had an actual record collection and c) a home to put audio equipment and records in. Still, it was nice to be reminded of those simple days.

      July 27, 2023 - 9:40 am Reply
  • bronlima

    The Kinks alive and well in Istanbul! What a great market!

    July 27, 2023 - 6:14 am Reply
    • Leighton

      What can I say Geoff, this market “really got me”.

      July 27, 2023 - 9:47 am Reply
  • jackrussellterrier23

    You uncovered a great market here! Thanks for sharing your life Turkey adventures.

    July 27, 2023 - 7:08 am Reply
    • Leighton

      Thanks for your comment!

      July 27, 2023 - 9:48 am Reply
  • anoush

    I love this! So cool that you stayed away from the central area and got to schmooze around your neighbourhood and discover less touristy spots. Markets like this one are great spots to explore and while away an afternoon as long as you are not being pestered by the vendors, which you were not. The murals add to the atmosphere of the place. Also, I like how you showed the human element of this place as well. Must be difficult to spend the whole day essentially outside selling these bit and bobs.

    July 27, 2023 - 10:52 am Reply
    • Leighton

      Hey Anoush, thanks for your considered comment, your contributions are always valuable! I agree that it is probably not half as romantic being a seller as it is a wide-eyed visitor. I think many of the vendors looked quite weathered and weary, I wonder how much money there is to be made and how much ‘rent’ they have to pay in order to have a stall at Ferikoy.

      July 27, 2023 - 10:55 am Reply
  • Toonsarah

    This place looks great for a rummage and for photos – I love your shot of the woman asleep beneath the mural, for instance 🙂 It’s good to hear about a place where you don’t get the hard sell treatment. It reminds me a bit of the market we visited earlier this year in Tirana, with that eclectic mix of goods on each stall. And I love the poster you bought – I hope you find the right home for it in due course!

    July 27, 2023 - 12:37 pm Reply
    • Leighton

      The sleeping woman under the mural was a gift from the photography gods. I’m sure the markets of Tirana are equally fascinating and atmospheric, thanks for reading and commenting Sarah!

      July 27, 2023 - 1:15 pm Reply
  • WanderingCanadians

    The nice thing about visiting the market close to closing was that you probably didn’t get hustled as much since the vendors were busy packing up. The murals are beautiful. Love the shot of the steampunk lights.

    July 27, 2023 - 1:41 pm Reply
    • Leighton

      True enough, the sellers that evening may have had enough of the day’s doings. Whatever the reason, we sure are grateful for the lack of nonsense. The murals really transformed the look of what is actually quite a drab space. Thanks for reading and contributing!

      July 27, 2023 - 1:48 pm Reply
  • grandmisadventures

    I do love wandering through places like this and seeing the vast difference in what you can find. And those murals along the walls are really great. And where it came without the pressure and haggling of the Grand Bizarre makes it all the more appealing. Although hard pass on the creepy Mardi Gras dolls, or any doll at a flea market, because that is what nightmares are made of.

    July 27, 2023 - 9:33 pm Reply
    • Leighton

      Yeah, it’s a big no to the dolls. I wonder how many of those he sells in any given month. I also agree that the unpredictability of markets like these is a big part of the appeal. Thanks for checking out Ferikoy Flea Market, Meg.

      July 27, 2023 - 11:51 pm Reply
  • travelling_han

    I love places like this so much and especially with those murals!!

    July 27, 2023 - 10:59 pm Reply
    • Leighton

      Thanks for your comment Hannah.

      July 27, 2023 - 11:52 pm Reply
  • wetanddustyroads

    I can see that it’s hard work to man your stall here all day – great photo of that lady asleep beneath the mural! I like your choice of poster … I guess you’re going to need a big wall in your house to display all your memories of your travels together.

    July 30, 2023 - 9:52 pm Reply
    • Leighton

      Oh boy, yes, our communal art collection from the places we’ve visited together and the stuff we did before we met could probably fill an apartment. The tricky thing is, half of it is in Belgrade, the other half is in the north of Scotland. That’s gonna be challenging when the time comes.

      July 30, 2023 - 10:13 pm Reply
  • NortheastAllie

    Flea markets are the best, and this seems like such a cool way to take in the local culture!

    August 3, 2023 - 6:56 am Reply
    • Leighton

      Couldn’t agree more Allie, thanks for checking out Ferikoy Flea Market!

      August 5, 2023 - 10:00 am Reply

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