Kızlarağası Hanı, built by Hacı Beşir Ağa in 1744 dating back to Ottoman Empire, is located within Kemeralti Bazaar in Izmir’s Konak district. It had been used as a lodging place and a traditional trade center for traders since 1744.
Today, Kızlarağası Hanı is a covered bazaar filled with many humble local shops and friendly and talkative shopkeepers. It is one of Izmir's culturally most significant spots, visited by tourists and locals daily.
How to Get to Kızlarağası Hanı
Kızlarağası Hanı is located in the Kemeralti Bazaar area of Izmir's Konak district. This amazing monument is easily reachable thanks to its central location. You can go there by bus, metro, and ferry, depending on your location.
The simplest method would be taking a metro or bus to Konak district. If you use the metro, you should get off at the Konak stop. Each stop is announced in the metro, and there is a map of the stops, so you can easily find your way. If you use a bus, make sure you get on the right route and ask for help from the driver on where to get off.
After you get to Konak, you can walk to Kemeralti Bazaar, which is only ten minute's walking distance from major stops. Kızlarağası Hanı is located within Kemeralti Bazaar, just a short walking distance away.
Please note that Kemeralti Bazaar is closed to traffic. So, if you are using a rental car service, you need to leave your vehicle in a parking lot near Kemeralti Bazaar.
What to Buy in Kızlarağası Hanı (Bazaar)
Many shops in Kemeralti Bazaar sell handmade carpets and kilims with striking patterns. You can also find many handmade jewelry, garments, and organic products, such as soap, herbs, and incense, distinctive to Turkey for affordable prices.
For those looking for something more special, there is one thing you can only find in a number of places in Turkey: custom-designed diamond rings. In Kızlarağası Hanı, you can purchase custom-designed diamond rings unique only to you and your partner.
What Can You Eat in Kemeraltı Bazaar?
You have several options when it comes to eating food at Kemeraltı Bazaar. You can eat traditional Turkish cuisines such as doner, kebab, Turkish soups, and menemen (fried eggs with tomatoes, onion and green pepper). You can also enjoy delicious handmade Turkish desserts such as kazandibi (a traditional dessert of caramelized milk pudding) and sutlu nuriye (another traditional dessert similar to world-famous baklava) with your meal.
If you want to drink something, you should definitely try the kumda kahve (coffee in sand) of Kemeralti. Most of the time, it is accompanied by Osmanlı Şerbeti (sweetened fruit juice). Even though Kemeraltı Bazaar has excellent meals and drinks, prices are still reasonable.
What to Expect to See in Kızlarağası Hanı?
If you want to visit Kızlarağası Hanı, you should be prepared to navigate through crowds and find your way in the lively streets of Kemeraltı Bazaar. Keep in mind the Kızlarağası Hanı is closed on Sundays.
While many visitors are shopping around the Kızlarağası Hanı, you can still enjoy a charming day trip to discover this historic spot, buy custom-made goods, and eat tasty traditional meals. Also, you can usually see local people drinking Turkish tea and playing the traditional Turkish strategy game similar to chess called "Tavla" or "Okey" here.
If you want to also wander into the streets and shops of the Kemeraltı Bazaar, be ready to spare most of your day, maybe even all day, because the whole area is always bustling, filled with locals and tourists.
Konak Pier: Designed by renowned French architect Gustave Eiffel, this popular shopping center is only 770 meters (0.48 mi) away from Kızlarağası Hanı.
Izmir Asansör: This historic elevator provides both a unique architectural experience and a vantage point to appreciate the city's beauty. It is only 2.8 km (1.74 mi) away.
Mask Museum: The Mask Museum of Izmir is only 3.5 km (2.17 mi) away.
Kızlarağası Hanı is the traditional heart of Izmir. You can visit many traditional shops and places in this ancient Bazaar. Many locals and tourists visit Kemeralti Bazaar and Kızlarağası Hanı daily, so be prepared to haul around crowds!
Kızlarağası Hanı is especially an excellent location for getting presents for your loved ones and enjoying traditional Turkish meals and desserts. Most importantly, remember to enjoy your trip and get some photos of this amazing bazaar to show your friends and family.
—by Can Turan