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Akmar Passage in Kadiköy center is one of the Asian side’s best loved but lesser known gems, dating back around half a century. It may not boast the refined elegance of some of its European-side equivalents, but its narrow corridors, excitable workers and eclectic mix of books, music and other goods make for an enlivening, albeit slightly chaotic, experience.
It’s deceptively large, with its contents spilling over two stories; even the stairwell leading down to its bottom floor overflows with books. One would do best to avoid eye contact with the sellers, who stand in their shop doors trying to entice passersby to check out their stock. The assortment is huge, ranging from academic textbooks to political biographies, Mills & Boon romance novels, dictionaries and travel guides. Most, of course, are in Turkish, though there are a fair number of foreign-language texts including a significant selection of English, German, French, Swedish and Norwegian books.
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How to get to Akmar Passage: From Sultanahmet: Get to Eminonu and take the ferry to Kadikoy. From the ferry terminal, walk uphill on Sogutlucesme Street following the nostalgic tram line. Take the second street on the right- Neset Omer Sokak and follow it to its end. Akmar Passage is situated just before the end on the left. From Taksim: Take the dolmus or bus 110 to Kadikoy and follow directions as above.
"Once you step onto the road, and you don't keep your feet, there's no telling where you might be swept off to" - J.R.R. Tolkien