Istanbul's A La Turca.

Istanbul's A La Turca.
Incredible A La Turka

Have you ever been to Istanbul? Recently back from my third trip there and I just plain love it. I simply cannot wait to go back. I will not go on and on just now as this will not be my only post about Istanbul. First, I must tell you about this amazing store I found there.  As an avid shopper anywhere I go or live, I have found it hard to be this impressed with any shopping experience as much as this one.

My first trip to Istanbul was inspired by my husband. He had been going there frequently for work and returned raving just a bit more than the last time about the city. With each trip he would uncover a new little secret —  a sweet restaurant, a little store or an enchanting mosque next to a pulsing night club — that made him fall more in love with Istanbul. He insisted that I join him there convinced I would love it as much as he does so I happily joined him.

The magic that is Istanbul is never knowing what will be just around the next corner. We just happened upon this store, A La Turca, while wandering the side streets late one morning. Housed in a really old townhouse with gorgeous details on the facade in the area called Cukurcuma, one would have no idea that it is a store at all. We ended up peeking through the windows because we thought the house was so beautiful only to discover that it had a buzzer on the door and a little plaque on which A La Turca was inscribed. Curious, we rang and entered.

Turns out this was not just a store but a complete experience. The best pages of The World of Interiors had come to life and you are standing in the middle of the spread. Every corner, every mantle and wall is bursting with amazing objects and art. A La Turca takes you to another time and place.

One of the many amazing mantel displays.

There is nothing displayed there that doesn’t perfectly fit together and you end up freaking out a little bit more with every turn of your head or corner. In fact, I found it to be a bit intimidating! There are no price tags so one must ask about anything you are interested in. How exactly does one ask the uber-tasteful shop owner, “How much for that entire mantle display? Can you wrap it all up for me, ship it, and tell me how to exactly unpack and display it myself so it looks just like this in my home?” Once I had the courage to speak, I found everyone there to be helpful and friendly like most of the people in Istanbul we encountered. I was utterly charmed.

All photos by Tanya Zaben.

A La Turca specializes in fine antique kilims and accessories as well as antiques. If you are passionate collector, or just looking for that special piece from Istanbul to take with you back home, then this store is the one place you must visit. Personally, I would not bother trying to find that special something in the Grand Bazaar which is on the well beaten path. Trust me. You will be hard pressed to find another place, let alone an actual store, anywhere like it. Happy exploring.