The other side of Istanbul that Istanbul tour guides may show you

Posted by Bcon on September 10th, 2021

The dark side of Istanbul: what do tourists turn a blind eye to? In Istanbul, with a population of more than twenty million, things happen that tourists turn a blind eye to. These are children sleeping on cardboard, beggars, sellers living for graces.

Travel guides offer to get to know the city through the eyes of locals. But most often it is a favorite place for those who can afford to go to the most popular cafes, the most interesting events, enjoy a quiet, safe life. But the locals are also homeless beggars. Street vendors looking for buyers from morning until late at night. By the way, Istanbul tour guides can help you out straight away with these problems mentioned down below.

Refugees sitting on the pavement - or people pretending to be - with children from whom tourists turn their eyes. The journalists of Lietuvos Rytas interacted with such local residents of Istanbul. Selling perfume on the street “Buy perfume - good. I will sell you two for the price of one, ”said the Turk, who met at the old spice market. 

The young man, wearing worn jeans and wearing a washed shirt, looked tired, speaking in a quiet chirping voice. \\\\\\\\"Women have to smell!\\\\\\\\" He persuaded, mixing words in English, Russian and Turkish. After hearing a negative response to the offer to buy, the man politely withdrew to the country, but soon, as nowhere, asked anyone again where we came from. Hearing that we were from Lithuania, the trader hurried to demonstrate his knowledge and assured him that he knew where Estonia was.

Language barrier

The English-speaking man kept coming back to Russian, and when asked where he had learned it, he proudly replied that he had worked in the tourism sector before. \\\\\\\\"I came to Istanbul from Kemer a couple of years ago. There I did the same job but traded not only perfumes but also sunglasses and other items. There are a lot of tourists from Russia there, so I learned Russian, ”the interlocutor explained, further successfully mixing the three languages. Who buys the perfume offered right here, on the street, from a men’s handbag thrown over their shoulder? 

\\\\\\\\"Everyone buys Russians, Turks, Arabs. Mostly Arabs - they buy about 80 percent. perfume I sell, ”the interlocutor opened about his customers. Surprised to wonder why the man was not looking for a regular job in a store or cafe, he clapped his hands eloquently, showing that such a job was not for him: “The store needs to be opened early and the workday ends well after midnight. It takes many hours to work, and I have two children. ”And then the good news was shared. \\\\\\\\"My wife looks like this now,\\\\\\\\" the perfume salesman ran through his supposedly swollen belly. 

Pleased that he would soon have a third offspring, he began to name how much he earns by offering perfume on the street every day without holidays, and what the costs are. \\\\\\\\"I work all day and on average I manage to earn about 250 lire (46 euros). I have to pay 1,200 lire (223 euros) a month for rent, and where else is food and other family expenses, ”he said. It is hard to believe that a breadwinner doing such work has any health insurance or social guarantees. Before disappearing into the crowd of a thousand, the perfume salesman tried his luck again: \\\\\\\\"If you buy one package, I will give another.\\\\\\\\" night business Although the perfume vendor’s working day ends, at his own discretion, at about nine o’clock in the evening, other night vendors in Istanbul are pouring into the underground passages, the empty Grand Bazaar, the mosque entrances, and the Old Town crossroads. They lay mats on the pavement and hastily lay their goods on them: T-shirts, socks, cheap watches, slippers, personal sticks, various children\\\\\\\\'s toys, lottery tickets, shoelaces. 

These merchants also offer very exclusive souvenirs: from them, you can buy at very low price paintings connected to the electrical socket with flashing eyes, multi-colored windmills, devices for blowing soap bubbles. Some business ideas are as simple as double. Children trade in water and disposable handkerchiefs, while older men go into the search for customers with a thermos of traditional tea.

Vendors in streets

Almost until dawn, shoppers on the streets of Istanbul are forced into a daily struggle for a bite of bread for themselves and their families. Street vendors trying to make bread for families work both day and night. Beggars also sit nearby. Instead of camels, people moor in the Bosphorus during the tourist season with many luxury boats that bring tourists from all over the world to Istanbul. Walking around the popular market of Istanbul, which is advertised in the most popular travel guides and remembers the millennial history, they do not see how they are attracted to their colors and smells.

goods arrive at the stores. If a tourist from Australia or America were to turn into a secluded street right here, they would see an unusual view. A long line of camel saddle-like splints, on which huge carriers are attached, is also home to a group of tired men. Each of them is waiting to be hired to carry a load on their shoulders and thus earn at least some money. Carriers will have to work for a long time, because the narrow market streets, which are full of people, cars cannot pass, so this way of delivery of goods is more convenient for everyone. 

Spectacular tulip rings hide big pains in Istanbul Sale Manic Guide: Where is the best place to shop in Istanbul? Accommodation on cardboard In the same market shelter, food, and sometimes accommodation are found by many families in distress. The locals are not surprised by the view of a mother sitting on bare pavement or a folded cardboard box holding several little ones close to her. Tourists rushing through the country with their shopping bags turn a blind eye to this image, but the meeting is inevitable because of a market full of such poor people.


With \\\\\\\\"I am a refugee\\\\\\\\", \\\\\\\\"Syria\\\\\\\\" and other inscriptions placed nearby, a frequent beggar tries to soften the hearts of passers-by. It is clear, however, that some of them deliberately chose this way of life. As we watch for a long time what is going on in the market, it becomes clear that this chaos has its laws. 

The family, which is preparing to settle in a strategically convenient place, does not waste time: after the mother\\\\\\\\'s team, two little girls rush to pull a piece of cardboard out of the pile of rubbish and deftly lay it on the pavement. The family is likely to spend the night here as well. Slavish work of migrants At that time, a migrant from Kazakhstan working in one of the restaurants in the central part of the city knows that he will not have to spend the night on the street. After locking the restaurant door for the second hour of the night, he will be taken to a nearby men’s dormitory, where he will sleep in the same room with at least 10 other fate friends. This daily life of a Kazakhstani has been going on for four years without any holidays. 

Be careful

Don’t be fooled - he’s not the owner of the restaurant where he works. He is one of the thousands of labor migrants who have arrived in Istanbul. The money earned here is sent to the rest of the family in the hometown. A 30-year-old man and his colleague work in a Kurdish restaurant in a variety of jobs: preparing food, serving restaurant visitors, and scrubbing the floor after the restaurant closes. 

Even after plowing 15-16 hours a day without a day off, the man has not yet saved enough money to afford to rent at least a modest home to which he can invite his family. Street vendors trying to make bread for families work both day and night. Beggars also sit nearby. Golden smiles of businessmen Not everyone wants to live in a dormitory. The night-time subway train from Ataturk Airport to the center of Istanbul attracted the attention of young Asian-looking guys with golden smiles. 

With us, the already forgotten golden teeth in Asian countries seem to remain a matter of prestige. The hair of the women traveling together was covered with brightly colored scarves, and they wore long variegated robes reminiscent of robes. The women held bags with the inscription \\\\\\\\"Ashgabat\\\\\\\\" in their hands. These entrepreneurial \\\\\\\\"tourists\\\\\\\\" are attracted to the more remote areas of Istanbul, where wholesale of Turkish textiles takes place. 

Later they can be met again at the airport, they have exchanged their modest luggage for the mountains in suitcases, boxes, and bundles. But not the owners of these golden smiles, Istanbul is waiting for the most. In Istanbul, life boils around the clock and everyone finds a place here, from the rich to the poor. However, tourists see little or try not to see the painful side of the city and those who have a hard time making every bite of bread or sleeping just on the pavement. 


Turks annoy Arabistan \\\\\\\\"The central part of Istanbul, which is very popular with tourists, is the truest Arabistan,\\\\\\\\" said Ibrahim, a young Turk living and working in the prestigious megalopolis. The Taraba district is also well known for being one of the residences of Turkey’s newly elected President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. According to Ibrahim, wealthy Arabs are flocking to Istanbul, wasting money, and living locals with Turkish wages are increasingly tightening their belts. 

\\\\\\\\"They can buy almost anything, and I feel increasingly poor. Of course, it\\\\\\\\'s good that they leave their money here. \\\\\\\\" Ibrahim does not link his future to Turkey: he would like to go to Europe when the opportunity arises. Unlike labor migrants from Central Asian countries, Istanbul is not the place where it can realize its dreams. Turkey, which has long enjoyed economic growth, is not happy with its new forecasts. Not only Ibrahim\\\\\\\\'s wallets are emptying, but also the wallets of tourists coming to the country - the facts are already starving. Tokyo lyre there has not been a decline here for a long time. Turkey, which is considered a country of cheap holidays and goods, is increasingly forecasting an economic crisis.

In the end

Istanbul is a great palace to visit overall. Do not be afraid, if you know what you are doing you will be fine. Especially with a local beside you. Check out to find one.

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Joined: October 22nd, 2019
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