This narrow street of Istikal is heaven. It is lined with music instruments shops. To get here, just walk along Istikal Caddesi coming from Taksim Square until you reach a fork on the road. The one on the left is Galip Dede Caddesi.
Went to two shops and I was treated very well by the shop keepers. I was like a kid at a toy store. I was so pleasantly surprised how reasonable the prices were. The shop keepers weren’t pushy and were very patient with my questions.
I bought a mey (flute) and a bendir (frame drum) at the first shop I went to. It was raining and we were offered cay (tea) as we sat out the rain. In the meantime, I had a photo op with the instruments.
The second shop had more stuff including small instruments such as the wooden spoons called kasic which are played like castanets. I was able to bargain down my purchases of an Irinian santur (board zither), baglama (lute), darbouka (drum), and another type of drum to just 380 lira since I was paying cash. Not bad.
The guy playing the baglama was the one who attended to me and he was very accommodating and wasn’t pushy. He would also point out the professional instruments from those for students or for display only. He also demonstrated many of the music instruments.
There are many other music instruments shops and aside from Turkish instruments, they also sold cellos, double basses, violins, and drums. Curiously, I also saw African rattles and kalemba and South American rattles. There were also many toy instruments for kids.