The Grand Bazaar Of Istanbul
Istanbul’s Grand Bazaar is a massive and historic shopping area that offers a variety of goods. Constructed between 1455 and 1461, this is considered both the oldest and the largest covered market in the world. The massive complex consists of 12 major buildings and has 22 gates spread amongst 58 covered streets. The Grand Bazaar houses over 4,000 shops that sell items such as leather, jewelry, local crafts and more. It also boasts two mosques, four fountains, multiple restaurants and cafes and even a police station. It is said the Bazaar attracts between 250,000 and half a million visitors, both tourists and local shoppers, each day.
The life in The Grand Bazaar is just amazing, how everything is sold there, for bargain lovers, it’s a dream come true, as you can get to half the price or even less. You will find everything you need in there, just you name it: gold, leather, carpets, antiques, furniture, lighting, clothes, shoes, etc. Just go by yourself and let the labyrinth do its job. Bargain as much as you want, as the sellers will pretend they are upset, and when you are about to leave, they will call you back. The architecture of the bazaar is outstanding, more like a maze, which adds up to the whole shopping experience.
Over 4000 shops and apparently several kilometers of lanes, this is the hubbub of the old city and undoubtedly one of the largest tourist traps anywhere. Everybody will give you a smile, offer you an apple tea and invite you into their shop(s), BUT unlike many, many other places in the world, a simple “no, thank you” is good enough which, considering the 4000+ shops and several kilometers of lanes is a good thing to pass a suspicious offer.
If you are there with a shopping plan, as in intending to do some serious shopping with some serious money and not just a few kneejerk holiday souvenir purchases, then you really can go for this place. You just need to shop around with your guide book, camera and anything else that scream bazaar newcomer firmly hidden.
Istanbul is a great place to shop, which is the final conclusion. The Grand Bazaar and the Spice Market are great places to experience, whether you buy anything or not. The Grand Bazaar is a winding maze of shops and stalls selling everything from antiques to bath products to clothing to delicious treats. It’s easy to get lost inside and you’ll have vendors calling out as you pass each stall, so the whole experience turns into something of an adventure. Don’t be afraid to negotiate for the best price!
Nearby, you’ll also find the Spice Market (technically called the Egyptian Bazaar), which is a great place to pick up delicacies like Iranian saffron, as well as “lokum” (Turkish Delight, that is!), traditional teas and unique cheeses. At either location your shopping experience may also turn into a traditional show of hospitality, where you are invited in to view the products, sip tea and chat. It’s a lovely way to spend a few hours in Istanbul. Visit Monday to Saturday, as markets are closed Sunday.