If you have ever wanted a pet pigeon, then I know just the place to go in Istanbul.
Yes, the parks may be full of pigeons, but these feathered companions can be bought for upwards a hefty price at the Edirnekapı Kuş Pazarı (Edirnekapi Bird Market). This pazar is held on Sundays, nestled amongst the old city walls, in the Edirnekapı neighborhood, just a short stroll from the namesake bus stop.
I was recently reminded of this unique pazar when I read Elizabeth’s blog post over at the Geriatic Gapper. I met Elizabeth, a longtime Istanbul expat, when we were both part of the local photography club. I knew I had a bunch of my own photos from this bird market somewhere, so I found them on my computer and finally compiled a new post.
In 2012, my husband and I toured through the Edirnekapı neighborhood on a wonderful spring day. This was one of the first times I saw the old walls of Constantinople upclose. The walls themselves date back to the reign of the Byzantine emperor Theodosius II, who was in power in the first half of the fifth century AD. They replaced a previous wall, built during Constantine the Great’s rule, to protect what was then the capital of the Byzantine Empire. The walls withstood for more than 1,000 years until 1453 when Sultan Mehmet II attacked and then the city became the new capital of the Ottoman Empire.
I always found Istanbul’s immense history so fascinating!
Back at the bird pazar, I recall being the only female there at the time. I’m sure traditional Turkish women were at home doing household chores while the men debated over the prettiest or perhaps, the fastest, pigeon. Meanwhile, I had my camera and took several photos as we wandered through this fascinating market.
I tried to find some history about this pazar, but couldn’t. I’m sure pigeons used to be a very effective means of communication between people way back in the day. However, the Edirnekapı Kuş Pazarı’s Facebook Page does seem current and even includes prices for some of the pigeons.
Istanbul is full of such stark contrasts like this market hidden amongst the old city walls, nearby apartment buildings and towering skyscrapers off in the distance. As the city continues to rapidly sprawl in every direction, I fear unique markets like this one will become a thing of the past all too soon.
Take one of the many city buses and disembark at the Edirnekapı stop. About a 5-minute walk away, look for the covered stalls and tents. The pazar is set up near the Altinay Spor Kulubu sign, Ayvansaray Mah., Salma Tomruk Cad. No. 4.
For a written guide/tour of the area, check out Istanbul’s Old City Walls by The Guide.