Istanbul Artisan Walking Tour

From

34 EUR

Discover both contemporary and age-old arts and crafts alive and thriving in the backstreet workshops of Istanbul’s Beyoğlu district.

Duration: 3 hours
    Available in
  • English
There are many sights to see in Istanbul of course but if you want to have a more personal encounter with its citizens, I’d highly recommend the Artisans tour with Duygu in the Beyolglu District. It was a refreshing change from the tourist venues as we had a chance to have conversations (with Duygu frequently acting as our translator) with Turks who don’t often interact with Americans. They are involved in trades which are vanishing. Some had been in their businesses for over 50 years and were eager to tell us how they went about their work and their history in the area. (One seemed so interested in talking to us that he bought us tea, which was promptly put before us!) Duygu seemed to have a special rapport with them so it was a very enjoyable time.

Duygu was an amazing resource not only in telling us about the artisans but answered questions about the city, its history and what is current in Turkish politics. She is friendly, and has a warm, thoughtful way of talking. It was so great to spend some time talking to her about her experience in Istanbul. She made the tour quite special. I was resistant to spend so much money on a tour but it was money well spent!
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Highlights

  • Navigate Beyoğlu’s backstreets with a knowledgeable local
  • Engage with the local artisans in their workshops
  • Get to know the local creative culture and its contemporary development

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Description

During this tour you’ll visit several backstreet workshops, engage with local artisans and learn about their work and ways of living. Through these encounters you’ll develop a personal understanding of the local creative culture and its contemporary development.

Your experienced and charismatic English-speaking guide will meet you in a comfortable café and then accompany you through Beyoğlu’s backstreets.

You’ll be taken to hidden-away workshops and introduced to artisans who will be proud to show you what they do. Some will have been working their trade for generations, keeping ancient Ottoman skills alive, while others are fashionable and new, adding a contemporary flair to the city’s creative scene.

Your guide will accommodate your particular interests as much as time allows. There will not be any pressure to buy anything, and there are no commissions involved. You’ll feel very different about Istanbul than you did four hours earlier!

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What’s included & not included

  • Friendly and professional English-speaking guide

Meeting point

Karakoy, Galata, Beyoglu, Taksim

Reviews from travellers (3)

4.7/5

R
There are many sights to see in Istanbul of course but if you want to have a more personal encounter with its citizens, I’d highly recommend the Artisans tour with Duygu in the Beyolglu District. It was a refreshing change from the tourist venues as we had a chance to have conversations (with Duygu frequently acting as our translator) with Turks who don’t often interact with Americans. They are involved in trades which are vanishing. Some had been in their businesses for over 50 years and were eager to tell us how they went about their work and their history in the area. (One seemed so interested in talking to us that he bought us tea, which was promptly put before us!) Duygu seemed to have a special rapport with them so it was a very enjoyable time.

Duygu was an amazing resource not only in telling us about the artisans but answered questions about the city, its history and what is current in Turkish politics. She is friendly, and has a warm, thoughtful way of talking. It was so great to spend some time talking to her about her experience in Istanbul. She made the tour quite special. I was resistant to spend so much money on a tour but it was money well spent!
S
My experience of our trip to Istanbul was transformed by this tour with Duygu. At one point, when we were spending a lot of time at one spot, I expressed concern about that, and Duygu said not to worry, that we would finish the tour no matter how long it took. I didn't really time the tour after that, but I can say that we did finish the tour, and we were relaxed and enjoyed every artisan we visited.
There was no mention of us buying anything anywhere. I did buy a beautiful small glass vase at the glass making place, which was not expensive. The man there did a demonstration for us, which happened at several places. Sometimes we talked about the political situation as well as the crafts they were doing. All of them were glad to see Duygu and us, and they were friendly and welcoming, including one place where the man treated us with tea.
We visited a man restoring tin interiors to copper bowls for a restaurant, a glass craftsman, father and son wood carvers, a woman who makes a Turkish musical intrument, a metal artist, a man who gold leafs frames and furniture, and an architect who is restoring a large, interior court area and former orphanage to be a ... we'll have to go back to see! He showed us many things including beautiful architectural features that he has collected over the years. There were three similar things he was not sure of, and I was able to identify them as parts of stations of the cross from a Catholic church. That was a special encounter for me, and there were several such.
The last artisan we visited was not in when we got there, so while we waited for him to return to his shop, we went for lunch at a nearby restaurant that Duygu knew. It was excellent. We returned there a few days later and had another delicious meal.
Duygu is quite knowledgeable and informative. She is a gentle spirit who is well received by the people we visited. She freely shares her knowledge and gladly answered all our questions about the city.
If I return to Istanbul, I might do this same tour again. I would certainly do another tour with Duygu.
Resourceful guide, great experience
Duygu Ozay, my guide, went the extra mile in researching exactly what I wanted to see, and instead of the regulation tour took me to the Grand Bazaar to look at textiles, embroiders, and traditional clothing. She researched the best places, asking friends who worked in this area for advice, and took me to shops inside the Bazaar which I would never have found for myself. Not only that, she is personable, has great English, and has a good eye for Turkish antiques and folk art. She also taught me how to use the tram!
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34 EUR
  • Full refund if you cancel up to 72 hours before the tour
  • No booking fees
  • Pay by credit card or PayPal

Tour operated by: Offbeat Istanbul