When in Berlin, you really should visit Kreuzberg, the city’s historically Turkish district and now an area for the young and upwardly mobile. Be sure you visit on a Tuesday or Friday because both days host the largest Turkish market in Berlin. The open market extends about a half mile, lining both sides of Maybachufer Strasse, alongside the Landwehrkanal. The market is open Tuesdays and Fridays from 11:00 a.m. to 6:30 p.m., but many locals begin shopping as early as 10:00 if vendors happen to set up early.
The market sells everything from fresh produce to leather goods to electronics. Arrive early and spend the afternoon wandering among the stalls, enjoying a snack or meal, and watching buyers haggle over the cost of various items. Foodstuffs dominate the market wares as vendors sell local fruits and vegetables, as well as those from outside the country. Every imaginable type of Turkish cheese is displayed from refrigerated stalls, as well as freshly baked breads, fish, meat, and olives. Bulk items can be found, from ground spices to coffee to dried fruits. Pantry items shipped from Turkey are also available, such as canned goods, tea, rice, pickled vegetables and dried beans. Other vendors offer prepared foods – Turkish delight in countless flavors, delectable pastries, vegetable spreads, and other treats.
The market is a perfect place to sample street food. Try gözleme, a Central Anatolian pastry consisting of flat bread and varying savory fillings, including meat, cheese, spinach and potato. Or purchase a glass of orange juice, freshly squeezed to order from the man who also happens to offer boiled ears of corn or a cup of corn kernels for kids. One vendor boasts an impressive quark bar, the ubiquitous German cheese that is eaten in both savory and sweet recipes. Diners can customize their quark with jam, fresh fruits, nuts and other toppings. Storefront businesses along Maybachufer Strasse are also tempting, with windows full of rotating spits of lamb for döner kebap and other Turkish specialities.
Many people come to the market in search of non-food related items. Bolts of fabric, spools of thread and ribbon in every imaginable color, and any other item possibly related to sewing are sold here. And, of course, clothing, shoes, belts, purses, jewelry and hats are crammed into tiny stalls. Electric appliances and electronics are on display, everything from blowdryers to webcams. Ballpoint pens, cooking pots, special tiny glasses for Turkish tea, batteries, fresh flowers, toys, anything you might want or need that could fit into a plastic bag is for sale at the market.
While there is much to see and do in Berlin, you won’t regret spending an afternoon in Kreuzberg. Bring cash, prepare to haggle, and enjoy a few hours perusing the Turkish market.
To get to the market, take the Number 8 Ubahn line to Schönleinstrasse, heading north from the station to Maybachufer Strasse or take the Number 7 to Kottbusser Tor, heading south from the station across the canal to Maybachufer.
Written by Morgan Young for EuropeUpClose.com