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"People inside and outside the Blue Mosque" Istanbul Tourist Trap Tip by JudyandMerv

Istanbul Tourist Traps: 146 reviews and 91 photos

January in Istanbul is fairly quiet but that does not mean you should not be alert at all times. We thought this was particulary bad around The Blue Mosque and on Mondays when a lot of museums are closed.
While I was taking photos in the courtyard my husband was approached by a carpet tout. He talked about being brothers and sisters in the eyes of God, he also knows the names of (English) shops i.e. John Lewis department store, who he said were his customers. He waited by the door when we went in and was there when we came out.
As we entered the Mosque we were chatted to by an English woman who said she was a nanny working in Istabul. She chatted to us again when we were in there, giving us some advice about how to deal with the locals.
When we came out of the Mosque the man was there, insisting he showed us where his shop was 'just round the corner'. It was not of course and when we got there we were invited in. We said 'No' to carpets and leather coats (he had one of those shops too, also 'just around the corner'). We got back to the main square and headed off in the direction of the Hagia Sophia and met the English woman, who was sitting on a bench in the fountain area. Was she waiting for us? She said she was going to the Spice Bazaar and did we want to walk with her. We did this and heard more of her story about running away from her Turkish employers to join a family in Paris the next day. We declined her invitation to go round the Spice Bazaar with her. Was she genuine? we don't know.

Unique Suggestions: Do not engage in conversation about where you come from or what you do. Do not follow anyone to their shop as it will not be just around the corner. Be careful about accepting non-locals on face value.

Review Helpfulness: 3.5 out of 5 stars

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  • Updated Jan 31, 2009
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