Famous Craft Markets Around the World – Part 1
When visiting any new town or country, visiting a local market is a brilliant way of learning about the culture of the people that live there. Most local markets offer items that can only be found in that particular region, and often the fun of bartering and haggling is entailed. This blog looks at some of the best markets in the world from South America to Asia, we uncover some great treasures that are unique to the region.
The Grand Bazaar – Istanbul
One of the most famous markets in the world, the Grand Bazaar has featured in many Hollywood films and is synonymous with the Magical East. With small stalls interwoven in a maze of crammed paths that throng with noise and aromas. The Grand Bazaar started life as a giant warehouse in 1461, but today it is a sprawling mass of retail outlets selling exotic spices, handmade jewelry, lamps, carpets and naturally Turkish delight. The market is totally covered which gives it a unique atmosphere holding in all the chaotic noises and the aromas of a multitude of spices.
Tonala – Guadalajara
Tonala is a suburb of Guadalajara and visitors can expect an explosion of color and ceramics. It is the market for artisans from all over Mexico who specialize in pottery making. Tonala is like a living museum dedicated to ceramics. Everything connected with pottery and ceramics you can find in Tonala, and some of the craftsmanship is outstanding. The items are typically Mexican with vibrant colors and traditional designs.
Chatuchak – Bangkok
One of the largest markets in the whole of Asia is Chatuchak market in the heart of the Big Mango, which of course is Bangkok. Any prior visitors to Thailand will know that at time things are a little chaotic, and this 35-acre market is loud, hot, crammed with people and a struggle to understand, much like the rest of Bangkok. However, you can find just about everything and anything you desire in this hectic place. There are twenty-seven different zones, but things are not departmentalized as they should be, so finding what you want can be tricky among the eight thousand booths.
Les Puces de Saint-Ouen – Paris
It is a bit of a contradiction calling Les Puces de Saint-Ouen as a market, it could be described as an old fashioned flea market, and is the largest of its kind anywhere in the world. It is simply crammed with antique and vintage treasures. You do not have to be strictly an art lover or dealer to enjoy this masterpiece of a market, the two and a half thousand stalls are divided into categories of specialties, and you can find almost any traditional household good that is still practical today.
There is a distinct Parisian air to Les Puces de Saint-Ouen, it is not as busy or as brusque as most markets and you are encouraged to loiter and look at the goods. We leave Paris for being, and in part two of the journey to see the best craft markets around the world we travel to Egypt, Canada and Japan.