Not long ago, I traveled to Istanbul for a vacation. I was of course excited to see what kinds of notebooks I might find there! The only Turkish brand of notebooks I’d ever heard of was Arwey, but oddly enough, I didn’t spot a single Arwey notebook on my trip. I did see some other interesting things, though!
These were the first interesting notebooks I saw for sale, from a street vendor near the main touristy area around the Aya Sofya. They seemed to be handmade, with cloth covers.
Near the Grand Bazaar, there is an alley called Sahaflar Carsisi that is full of book and print dealers. There were also a few notebooks for sale there:
These were pretty cheap, as 4TL is only about $3.00, but the notebooks didn’t look all that great in terms of quality. I liked the marbled covers, though.
My next notebook spotting was on a Bosphorus ferry ride– these two kids seemed to be writing notes about their travels:
It took me a while to find any actual stationery stores, but I eventually stumbled across a few blocks where there seemed to be a cluster bookstores and art/office supply stores, where I couldn’t resist just snapping a few window photos:
I did buy a couple of notebooks in these shops, but most of the selection in this neighborhood wasn’t all that exciting. I was surprised to see some Moleskines for sale in one of these shops, as for the most part the merchandise seemed to be geared towards basic uses by local business people and students, rather than high-end stationery snobs! I wish I could tell you exactly how to find these shops, but I was a little lost at the time, which happens easily in Istanbul. But I did note that one of the streets was Ankara Caddesi, somewhere north of Divan Yolu.
Towards the end of my trip, I was strolling up Istiklal Caddesi, a pedestrian street famous for its shopping. And here, I hit the goldmine! The photos below are from a shop called Panter:
They sell a lot of nice fountain pens…
And amusing gift items:
And a ton of notebooks! Many of these are from a German brand called Brunnen, but they also had Ciak and Cartesio, among others. No Moleskines, which I found interesting given the upscale, international clientele in this area.
And here are the friendly proprietors. If you visit, tell them Notebook Stories says hi!
I ended up buying a total of 5 notebooks in Istanbul, which I’ll be covering in a future review. I only wish I’d had more time to find even more stationery stores! If anyone else has recommendations for notebook shopping in Istanbul, please leave a comment!