CONTRIBUTED BY EMILY SMITH
What is the Women’s Market? Who participates and what do they sell?
The Women’s Market is a local gathering of women who are selling their made-by-hand items such as clothing, housewares, gifts and food. The market is divided into two sections: homemade food and handmade textiles or crafts. On the textiles and crafts side, many of the women will be knitting and crocheting scarfs, sweaters and hats at their tables. Other vendors will sell décor such as table cloths, doilies, pot holders and jewelry. It seems that every week there are new items and items vary according to season.
The homemade food side has something for everyone. Vendors make and sell homemade Turkish food like Börek, Gözleme, Çiğ Köfte, Içli Köfte and Dönors. Plus, many Turkish desserts such as Baklava, Tulumba and Künefe.
What are the prices like? Do they accept TL and/or credit cards? How much TL should you plan to bring?
The prices are very reasonable. Last winter, I purchased a hand-knitted baby sweater and hat for 10TL (approximately $5). Jewelry prices range from 1-10TL, and hand-knitted blankets range from 30-50TL.
On the food side of the market, prices range from about 1-2TL per item. Be sure to try different items from different vendors. I’m still learning the names of all the dishes, and this is a great opportunity and environment to not only practice your Turkish, but to learn about the different kinds of Turkish dishes. Most of the vendors do not speak English, but every vendor I’ve encountered is eager to talk to you, and teach you about their items.
Depending on what you are looking to purchase, 50TL should cover everything you would want. If you’re wanting to purchase blankets, or adult sized sweaters, a little more TL would not be a bad idea. Most of the vendors only accept TL, so leave the plastic at home.
What is the facility like that houses the market?
The facility is a large outdoor, covered pavilion. The market is open rain or shine! (And just a word of caution: Be sure to use the toilet at home; there is only a public “squatty” potty – for 1TL – available at the market.)
Is the market very busy? Would you recommend bringing small children? How about strollers?
The food side of the market gets really busy around 11am-2pm for lunch. The handmade side is never that busy. I have always taken my large stroller, and I’ve never had a problem getting around on either side, even when it is very busy. Due to the crowds on the food side, it does get a little hectic and time consuming maneuvering a large stroller, but it is not impossible. The vendors love babies, so bring your babies and children! They are definitely conversation starters.
How long should you plan to visit?
For a first time visit, plan on 1 hour. That should give you plenty of time to look at both sides of the market.
Directions: map Make a right out of the base front gate. Make a right on to the D400. Make another right at the light, onto Sezai Karakoc Blv (following the green signs towards Mersin). Follow this road all the way to the end and veer left onto the highway. Exit the highway onto Kasim Yener Blv and follow the road around to the right (making a sort of U-turn). Go around the small roundabout and your first exit will be Ahmet Sapmaz Blv, take this road. When the street dead-ends, make a left onto Ali Sepici Blv. The market will be located on the corner of the second street on your right.
*Look for a green roofed pavilion. Once you see a “Pizza Taxi” restaurant, you know you have made it to the Wednesday Women’s Market. Parking is on the street at no cost. I usually drive a little ways past the Pizza Taxi restaurant and park on either side of the street (Ali Sepici Blv).
Coordinates: 37.041000, 35.302277