Istanbul – Feriköy: the bazaar of bizarre things

Who doesn’t like buying junk? Golden junk, silver junk, paper junk, aluminum junk, steel junk, wooden junk and all other sorts of things you buy to personalize your living space and show off, elegantly and subtly. Antiquity stores, vintage flea markets, stockpiles of old stuff – whatever you call these places. They are awesome.

Well I don’t like to buy junk because I do not exactly own a living space to personalise. But when my dear friend T. invited me to come with her on a hunt for hipster analog cameras and random old postcards I could not possibly pass on the opportunity to see and photograph old dusty leftovers of someone’s lives.

As it turned out, Feriköy bazaar is more of a tourist attraction than an actual flea market. I believe that most of the things here actually arrive from someone’s family houses rather than museum collections, but the prices bite – believe me, there are cheaper places in Istanbul to buy a grandmother’s tea set and grandfather’s saber. Anyway, Sunday afternoon and until late in the evening is a brilliant time to spend an hour or two strolling among the beautifully arranged rows of old cameras, sepia photo albums, blunt knives, golden compasses, army pistols and gigantic horse-headed chandeliers.

I dared not imagine that someone actually ever used these things, but then came across my favourite stand with old photo albums and postcards. Most of the postcards come from France, Russia, Italy, Germany – all signed in Turkish, with best wishes for the family on someone’s marriage, birthday, anniversary. Some photographs capture the image of mustachioed men drinking tea, small children in traditional clothes, young couples on the beach, family gatherings around the table… Sort of photographs that you can easily find in your own grandmother’s drawer, except there you will at least recognise a face or two. Leafing through those old albums made me feel like I was accidentally intervening into somebody’s life, stealing the people from those photographs as if they were characters of some unwritten book.

‘We should get those swords and have a fight,’ I said to T.


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