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Mar 09
Friday
Features
Semt Pazarları, Civic Life Perfected

The Tarlabaşı Sunday Market, photo by Paul Benjamin Osterlund

“Two kilos five liraaa! Two kilos five liraaa!” bellowed a young and exuberant vendor of tomatoes to the ongoing stream of frugal-minded shoppers making their way through the snaking Tarlabaşı Sunday Market.

Hundreds of sellers of fresh produce, dairy, seafood, kitchenware, clothing, smuggled tobacco, jewelry, fresh baked goods and numerous other items set up side by side in the central Istanbul quarter of Tarlabaşı every Sunday, weaving an extended path down a backstreet that incorporates both unbridled chaos and strict organization. It is just one of hundreds of similar weekly semt pazarları, the beloved Istanbul neighborhood bazaars that have some of the cheapest prices on the widest variety of goods the city has to offer, while at the same time serving as a critical element in maintaining the vitality of Istanbul neighborhood life.

Read the rest of the feature on Culinary Backstreets.

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