I never met a souk I did not love. The energy, mystery, and above all, the thrill of the hunt for exotic treasure, has always been one of my favorite pastimes. On Saturdays as a teenager when other girls were playing field hockey and basketball, I was in the backroom at Loehmann's honing my shopping skills. Even as an adult, my best friend and I spent every Saturday in NYC wandering through the 26th street flea market convinced at any moment we would uncover a vintage treasure we could not live without. Luckily for me and now for you, I found a way to combine my favorite hobby with a career. This holiday, as always Shop Latitude will be offering you the best from the bazaars around the globe, perfect gifts for you, your loved ones and your home. For those searching for a DIY experience, follow my guide below for unearthing treasure in three of my favorite destinations. Happy hunting!
Images courtesy of Assouline
The Grand Bazaar, Istanbul
?Grand? is an understatement when it comes to this sprawling bazaar, with 4,000 stores, 65 streets, and a past that dates back six centuries. Here you will find sought after gems both costume and fine, (some dating back to Marie Antoinette?s time), peshtamel towels, suzanis, rugs, Ikat galore and tons of evil eye everything to bring back as gifts.
Best Buy: Fine and costume jewelry can be found in an area of the bazaar known as Bedastan. The best peshtamel towels can be found at Abdulla. (Located at Alibaba T?rbe Sokak No:25 Nurosmaniye) I find the bazaar easiest to navigate when you enter by way of the Nourisame gate. Many merchants will offer you sweet apple tea or coffee as a way to entice you to shop; don?t forget to bargain as you sip your drinks. Open 9am-7pm, closed Sundays.
Images courtesy of travel and leisure
The city of Marrakesh was originally a desert trading post for caravans on their way to and from Timbuktu. This souk has not lost its exotic feel despite the new influx of trendy riads and chic caf?s. One needs to travel deep past the touristy Djemaa El Fna square to experience some really good shopping, but once you are in the heart of the medina you will find a world of delights our favorites being babouche slippers, easy kaftans and decorated baskets.
Best Buy: Marrakesh is still a great spot to buy rugs and Moroccan wedding blankets. These white fringed and sequined rug like textiles are thought to ward off evil spirits and make great gifts. Make sure to have an enough time set aside for shopping and bargaining. Open daily.
Images courtesy of Travel and Leisure and mapsofindia.com
Johari Bazaar Jaipur India
This is the where the world?s top jewelers still come to work with skilled craftsmen whose secrets have been passed down through generations. This pink walled bazaar offers a great assortment of typical Indian souvenirs, here you find every type of Sari and bangle bracelet imaginable as well as sandals, slippers and crazy bright patterned fabric that you can use as wrapping paper back home this holiday.
Best Buy: If you are really looking to buy a major piece of jewelry, we suggest you visit the Jaipur?s most infamous jewel emporium, the Gem Palace (No.348, MI Road). Open daily.