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Yarn Shopping in Istanbul – Tarihi Kürkçü Han

I didn’t want to interrupt my Knitting & Crochet Blog Week posts, so this has been a little delayed. As I mentioned, I went to Istanbul the weekend before last, and here’s how I found the yarn market…

First we took the tram to Çemberlitaş. The next stop says “Grand Bazaar” but the tram was so packed we couldn’t stand another stop. Don’t go on saturday afternoons!

At Çemberlitaş we asked for directions, and a shopkeeper told us to follow the mosque round until we got to Mahmutpaşa Street. Following the mosque around is fairly easy, but figuring out what street you’re on, is not. Your best bet, if you’re a foreigner, is to have “Kürkçü Han” written on a piece of paper, and show it to someone every few steps. According to my friend, it’s best not to take just one person’s word for it.

Walking down Vezirhan Street…

Passing Nuru Osmaniye Mosque on the left…

Turning left here…

Having entered Kapalı Çarşı by the Kürçüler entrance, we turned right, and this is the street we were on.

At the end of this street we turned right…

…and were finally on Mahmutpaşa. We asked directions again, and someone pointed out the tiny corner of red building in the distance. There it is!

So close…

…and yet so far.

Here at last. The entrance is right below the sign. You can see the Nako advertisement that everyone mentioned on the Ravelry forums. It’s actually an advert for one of the shops upstairs, which is where I ended up going.

Squuueeezing through the narrow entrance…

… and into the courtyard. We couldn’t see much yarn at first glance, so we headed upstairs.

A view from upstairs, with a lovely display of acrylic fun fur. Mmm…

Gülüm Yün was the first shop we came across when we went upstairs (after the acrylic fun fur), so I dove in. There wasn’t anything very different from what I get in Ankara, though there was more choice in colour. They did have some oddments of yarns which are produced in Turkey, such as King Cole, and some Lion Brand (not much Alpine about Alpine Wool, I’m afraid), but I doubt that will tempt tourists all that much. :) Here’s what I got (without duplicates):

Fridica wrote a fascinating post about Unitas yarns that are different but have the same label, and someone commented that they did the same thing in Turkey with the “export” label. You can see from my “haul” that I have 2 yarns that are “Ormo Export” but are completely different. I’ve also seen a “Nako Export” label. I think these are just surplus yarns that they package up and sell any-which-way. From left to right: Nako Saf Yün (pure wool), King Cole Riot (70% “premium” acrylic, 30% wool), Ormo Export (nothing on the label), & Ormo Export (85% wool, 15% acrylic). The unidentified Export yarn knits up very soft and has nice colour transitions. It’s similar to the Riot, which I also bought purely on account of its colours. It’s a bit like a cheap acrylic version of Rowan Tapestry. The turquoise yarn is actually very nice too, and about 4ply weight. I really look forward to knitting with it.

On the Map


Cemberlitas Tram Station to Mahmutpasa St

The red spot marks the “Kürçüler” entrance to Kapalı Çarşı (sounds about right!).


Down Mahmutpasa to the Kürkcu Han

Of course, you don’t necessarily have to go the way we did. If possible, avoid going at the weekend, too. As you can see, all the streets are very narrow. We were so tired of being jostled, that we didn’t look anywhere else. Unfortunately getting out of the Kapalı Çarşı area took us almost longer than getting in! It’s still a great experience though, and if you have the time & perseverance to look around, I’m sure you’ll grab many good bargains.

What to Buy in Turkey?

Cotton. Everyone says this & it’s true. There’s some really nice cotton around, though most of it is mercerised. A brand called Rozetti recently released an aran-weight natural cotton that is really nice (I used it for some potholders). I’ve noticed some nice bamboo yarn too, though I haven’t tried knitting with any.

Accessories. You’ll find some really cheap & colourful notions in Turkish yarn shops. Some of the local knitting needles & crochet hooks can be a bit rubbish, but there’s plenty of really nice, cute stuff. Surprisingly, I’ve also come across a lot of Clover products here!

Embellishments. Turkish haberdasheries are wonderful. Buttons, ribbons, lace, and loads more is to be found in profusion. I recommend you fill your boots. :)

Other things to do in Istanbul

Have mint gelato on Istiklal Street.
mint choc chip gelato

Have a late breakfast at the weekend. This was at Savoy in Cihangir. We also went to Midpoint on Istiklal which had a beautiful view, and unlimited tea.
breakfast at the savoy

I hope this post was helpful, and that you’ll visit Istanbul soon. If you know of any other good yarn shopping destinations, let me know in the comments!

10th April, 2011  // Travel, Yarn // tags: , , , , .


  1. Julie says:

    I used to live in Istanbul (2002-2004), and your pictures brought back great memories!! They also have some excellent bead shops, if you are into beading. There is definitely an abundance of acrylic yarns in Turkey, that’s for sure!

    • savvina says:

      hi i found your blog by luck.
      Lovely post!!!
      i ll go to Instabul soon.
      im looking for beads and supplies for jewlerries.
      could you suggest me some shops for wholesale?

  2. fridica says:

    Lovely post! I went to Istanbul some time in 2005, but I had no idea then that I would become a knitter some day… :)

  3. katiemckinna says:

    Hi there, found your blog through your blog week posts on Ravelry. (Still am trying to get around to as many as possible.) I like your blog, I’ll be adding it to my blogroll. I like the Istanbul post. When I travel, I love to shop for yarn.

  4. Barbara says:

    Thank you for this . Your photo story of the walk in is wonderful . There’s suspense and clear directions all at once.

  5. […] was at Savoy in Cihangir. We also went to Midpoint on Istiklal which had a beautiful view, … .. This entry was posted in Istanbul Turkey and tagged istanbul, Map, Street by admin. Bookmark the […]

  6. Sandy says:

    I am presently in Istanbul. Found your great blog when I Googled yarn shops here. I will check the place out.

  7. […] Yarn Shopping in Istanbul – Tarihi Kürkçü Han – LaylockDescription : As I mentioned, I went to Istanbul the weekend before last, and here’s how I found the yarn marketÂ… First we took the tram to ÇemberlitaÅŸ. The next stop says “Grand Bazaar” but the tram was so packed we couldn’t stand another stop. … On the Map. kurkcuhan1. Cemberlitas Tram Station to Mahmutpasa St. The red spot marks the “Kürçüler” entrance to Kapalı Çarşı (sounds about right!). kurkcuhan2. Down Mahmutpasa to the Kürkcu Han. Of course, you don’t necessarily have to go … .. […]

  8. Erika DP says:

    Thank you so much for your pictures and description of the yarn shop in Istanbul!
    I was there on a pleasure trip in October and your post made finding the shop a breeze!
    It was such an unusual experience winding through all of the narrow streets and I was rewarded with some wonderful skeins of unique yarn! Thanks again for your post!

  9. Swool says:

    Thanks for the information and pictures!!I am living in Istanbul and just started knitting and was really looking for somewhere to buy wool….that’s great!!!!Good luck with your blog :)

    • Celine says:

      Hi Swool! I am living in Istanbul as well and also just started knitting! I was also looking for a good neighborhood to buy my supplies.
      If you’d like you can send me an e-mail and we can meet up some time to share experiences over a nice cup of Turkish cay ;).

  10. Judy brien says:

    thank you for the directions to a yarn shop in Istanbul. I am in Istanbul right now and found your blog, will definitely go and have a look, although I must admit I am not a fan of acrylic….!!!

  11. Reza says:

    Dear freind,

    I’m looking for woolen yarn shopping in Istanbul, Today (14 May) I have a flight from Helsinki to Istanbul, I will arrive at 17:00, do I have enough time to go to market ? How you direct mw by tram from Airport to go and buy and come back to Airport for my next flight at 20:30 ?

    Thanks for your kindness,

  12. Deniz says:

    Just moved to Istanbul and I was curious as to where to find some yarn. This site was just what I needed! Thank you! Was also wondering if there are any knitting groups in the city that I can join? Although I really enjoy knitting, I’m not that good and often I get stuck. A group of knitting friends would be great to have. :)

  13. Ingrid says:

    Thank you for information about where to find yarn in Istanbul. I am going there soon and wonder – are there several yarn shops on this specific street or is it in this area? Can you find wool or only acrylic tarn? Regards Ingrid

  14. Hassan says:

    Hi how is everyone?
    Could anyone tell where I can find the best acrylic yarn on on cones in Istanbul and best brand?

  15. yeni says:


    I am malaysian and lives in istanbul for good . I always pass by yarn part here because my husband work place there

  16. Dorothy says:

    Hi there
    I wish had seen this post before I went to Turkey. My son-in-law was only interested in ancient ruins so I never got to any yarn shops at all, I was so disappointed to come home empty handed.

  17. […] a place called Kürkçü Han, a market square near the Grand Bazaar. (See this wonderful blog post here, with pictures and details of how to get there.) The whole square is full of stalls selling clothes […]

  18. Khadijah says:

    I’m in sultanahmet right now and I’m wondering what time the shop you described will be open. I’m traveling in the morning around 9:30 am. Looks like I won’t make it :(

  19. paola says:

    Came across your blog when I googled ‘Istanbul yarn’! Am here for a few days and followed your instructions…wha a great way to spend a sunny winter’s afternoon! Thank you.

  20. […] de exporterar), så vi letade reda på en garn-basar på en liten bakgata: Tarihi Kürkçü Han (Spårvagnshållplats Çemberlitaş och följ sedan kartan till Mahmutpaşa Street). Första försöket var på en söndag, då det mesta var stängt vilket gjorde att vi möttes av […]

  21. Hanene says:

    I will be going to Istanbul in a couple of days. My daughter wants me to get her scaves/shawls in crochet or trimmed with crochet. Where would I find them? Thanks

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  23. Anneloes says:

    I found this info when googeling for Istanbul Yarn- thanks!
    I have to be in Istanbul for a work conference and would like to go an buy yarn. Does anyone know if shops will be open on Sunday. I was in Istanbul once before but the Grand Bazar was closed on Sunday. Wonder what other shops do on SUndays. thanks for answering if you can!

  24. Nancy Egger says:

    I came to Istanbul for a conference and found your site with a Google search- I’m really excited and plan to head there today or tomorrow!

  25. ece says:

    When it comes to Istanbul.
    I take you to haberdashery.
    plenty of beads, wool yarn, embroidery yarn, needlepoint yarn, crochet, knitting needles, too.
    Brands: nako, snowball, anchor, ruins female V. S.
    I love to knit too.

  26. RabeAh says:

    God bless you! You saved me from along journey. It is 2015 and your directions still stand true. The prices were more than a surprise as tirkish yarn is sold four-five times its price in my country. Would have posted pictures if i could. Thank you.

  27. […] Yarn Shopping in Istanbul – Tarihi Kürkçü Han – Laylock Knitwear Design. I didn’t want to interrupt my Knitting & Crochet Blog Week posts, so this has been a little delayed. […]

  28. maryam says:

    i want to travel to istanbul , can i also find Keche there ?

  29. […] Yarn Shopping in Istanbul – Tarihi Kürkçü Han – Laylock Knitwear Design. […]

  30. Dalia says:

    Do anyone know yarn shop in Esenyurt?

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