Photo Essay: Berlin’s Vibrant Turkish Market

by Ekua on July 9, 2012 in eats and drinks,Germany,race/culture/identity

Have you ever felt like you were traveling within your travels? That’s how I felt when I set foot in Berlin’s largest Turkish market. I didn’t intend to stay long when I arrived, but the lively and charming Kreuzberg market ended up drawing me in for hours.

As soon as I exited the subway station, I felt like I was getting a glimpse of Istanbul. I first walked along the outer edge of the market which was a bit tamer than the inside of it. Alongside Turkish vendors, there were people selling little artisanal indulgences that reminded me of farmers markets in California. And then I came across something I was not expecting at all — a Ghanaian food stall.

If you’ve been following my blog for awhile, you may know that while I was born in the fantastic state of California, I am full-blooded Ghanaian. I was thrilled to come across a woman from Ghana selling Ghanaian food at a Turkish market in Berlin. I had to have some.

Ghanaian Food at the Turkish Market in Berlin

I ordered my favorite — jollof rice. The woman gave me a look of sternness mixed with confusion that I’ve probably received numerous times from Ghanaian elders who were perplexed by my decisions. “Just jollof?!” I nodded yes. As she handed it to me, I could see that she threw in some fried plantain as well.

Jolof at the Turkish Market in Berlin

I took a seat by the canal to eat and listen to a street musician sing and play her guitar.

Turkish Market Performance in Berlin

The music was great. At the impromptu show, I was surrounded by alternative Berlin types — hippies, hipsters, and young artsy foreigners.

Vegetables at the Turkish Market in Berlin

When the musician had finished her last song, and I’d finished my last bite of jollof, I went inside the market.

Scarves at the Turkish Market in Berlin

The colorful and sparkly headscarves I’d been seeing all over Neukölln could be found at the market in many different colors and patterns.

Desserts at the Turkish Market in Berlin

Baklava and other Turkish desserts.

Dried Foods at the Turkish Market in Berlin

Nuts, dried fruits, and couscous.

The Turkish Market in Berlin

The inside of the market was much busier than the outside. Many seemed to have come to the market with their extended families. Kids ran around and entertained themselves while adults bargained for the best prices.

Herb Plants at the Turkish Market in Berlin

Sweet smelling herbs.

Bread at the Turkish Market in Berlin

Fresh baked bread.

Eggs at the Turkish Market in Berlin

Eggs in various shades.

Buttons at the Turkish Market in Berlin

All kinds of buttons.

Buttons at the Turkish Market in Berlin

This is the kind of market where you can find anything you’re looking for. And even if you’re not interested in buying anything, the cultural mashup that occurs there makes it well worth a visit.

Turkish Market in Berlin

 Saying goodbye to Little Turkey and returning to Berlin.

Türkenmarkt
Tuesdays and Fridays from 11:00 am to 6:00 pm
Maybachufer, Kreuzberg

{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

Naomi July 9, 2012 at 3:19 am

So, so cool!! That’s one thing that’s great about big cities – it’s so easy to experience a bit of other cultures 🙂

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Ekua July 10, 2012 at 9:57 pm

Definitely. It’s more common to find that cultural mix up in big cities of the so-called first world, but I have been surprised to find an Asian community somewhere in Latin America or an African community somewhere in Asia. I’m always fascinated by large groups of people from one place settling in another city that’s significantly different culturally!

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Terri July 9, 2012 at 11:30 am

Looks fun! I am hoping to get some good Ghanaian food soon. I have to admit that I have not been particularly curious in going to Germany again, but you are piquing my interest. 🙂

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Ekua July 10, 2012 at 10:02 pm

I spent a brief amount of time in western Germany in 2005 and I can’t say the country as a whole drew me back, but I was very very curious about Berlin after meeting people from there and hearing so many interesting things about it. I’m not sure what parts of Germany you’ve visited before, but it has a totally different vibe from the other places I’d seen in Germany. Truly a fascinating city.

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Andi of My Beautiful Adventures July 9, 2012 at 1:58 pm

What an exciting experience! I bet it smelled just incredible!!!

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Ekua July 10, 2012 at 10:04 pm

Yes, it was really great to be there… felt like an intro to Turkey!

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Marsha July 9, 2012 at 6:19 pm

So many wonderful colors and textures. And food. And BREAD.

What can I say? It’s my weakness…

: )

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Ekua July 10, 2012 at 10:06 pm

In hindsight, it’s good that I ate soon after I arrived otherwise I might have been tempted to buy a stack of bread 😛

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Hannah Baldwin July 9, 2012 at 8:01 pm

Wow! This post is great. You’ve captured precisely what I love about markets when I’m traveling. It’s such a unique experience to feel as though you’re traveling while you are already traveling.

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Ekua July 10, 2012 at 10:08 pm

Thanks, Hannah. I’d read things here and there about the Turkish culture in Berlin, but I didn’t expect to see it played out so colorfully. Such a great experience.

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Wandergirl July 11, 2012 at 7:04 am

So cool – that’s definitely the perk of big cities. You get little pockets of other cultures inside them, and markets are on of the best ways to explore that. I miss living in a city with big, colourful, messy markets!

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