Just when I was thinking about writing this article, I started thinking about other major cities around the world like New York, London, Paris, Rome, Madrid, Barcelona... and I realized that Istanbul is the ONLY major cosmopolitan city among them with tons (I know I'm exaggerating) of shopping malls right in the center of town and not just the outskirts!
I haven't checked the stats on this, but Istanbul is also probably the most populated city (over 13 million residents) among all of them, but this still doesn't explain how and why all of these shopping malls mushroomed up around the city! When it comes to per capita spending, we are probably at the bottom of the list among the cities I mentioned above.
So, apparently there is still a demand, otherwise all of these malls wouldn't have been able to open, let alone survive!
I don't know the exact number of malls there are in the city, but I know that new ones are constantly opening up.
Just to give you a little example... I live in Levent and in my neighborhood to which I'm going to include the surrounding neighborhoods Mecidiyeköy, Gayrettepe, Esentepe and Etiler which is probably about a 5-6 km radius, there are (1) Profilo (Mecidiyeköy); (2) Astoria (Gayrettepe); (3) Akmerkez (Etiler); (4) Metrocity (Levent); (5) Kanyon and (6) Sapphire (Levent) shopping malls! And... either by the end of this year or during the 1st quarter of 2013, a new posh mall will be opening with the opening of Zorlu Center in Levazım/Levent (residences, offices, hotel, etc.)! Incredible... that's all I can say! Each one of these malls are quite big with over hundreds of retailers and countless eateries!
I'm not really a "mall" person because I tend to get a little claustrophic in very large and enclosed places after a while... Of course, I visit some of the ones mentioned above when I need to purchase a particular item.
However... if I had to select my "favorite" mall it would have to be Kanyon... simply because I don't see or view it as "just a shopping mall"!
|Kanyon Shopping Mall main entrance on Büyükdere Street|
Kanyon (www.kanyon.com.tr) opened in May 2006 and while I worked at The Guide Magazines, our offices were in our company's own building one block away and parallel to Kanyon, so we were able to watch and see the progress of the construction from the very beginning. In fact, a couple of months before its opening, we did an article on the mall and visited the construction site to interview the General Manager (who has since changed). We had to use our imagination a little bit as we walked around, but I could see it was going to be a very nice architectural structure.
However, just when it opened, our offices temporarily moved to Balmumcu for a couple of years while our building was first demolished and its place a 23 story skyscraper was constructed. After we moved back to our "new" building, I can say that I visited Kanyon almost every day - for lunch or after work (and even on the weekends)! So, I have been pretty much a "regular" customer since 2006, albeit less frequently the first couple of years.
So, why do I go so often? I'm definitely not a shopaholic! I'm not one of those individuals that is lured to every retailer - even when there are sales. I shop for clothing, shoes, etc. very infrequently (but do have a fairly large wardrobe which takes up one room of my apartment) because I don't just buy for the season. I prefer more classical pieces which I can mix match and wear for years.
I go to Kanyon to purchase basic essentials, to have a meal or go to the movies. The following are some of my major haunts. To make it easy, I'm going to start from the top floor and work myself down...
|Le Pain Quotidien|
|Habitat on G Level|
|Macrocenter Snack Bar|