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Grand Bazaar

From The Marmara Pera
15 Min
30 min
Address Beyazıt, 34126 Fatih/İstanbul
Phone (0212) 519 12 48

8:30 AM to 7 PM

Inside of the Grand Bazaar, Istanbul. People are shopping

The Grand Bazaar of Istanbul is a vibrant and bustling marketplace that boasts an unparalleled shopping experience. Comprised of over 61 streets and thousands of shops, it is one of the oldest covered markets in the world and is truly unique. 

The Grand Bazaar in Istanbul carries on the legacy of the Ottoman Empire through its diverse offerings and traditional customs. Serving as the commercial hub of the empire from the time of Mehmed the Conqueror's conquest of Constantinople, the market boasts an array of products including rugs, luxury items, tea, lanterns, and hand-painted ceramics. Along with its vast selection of goods, the bazaar upholds time-honored etiquette rituals that were once prevalent during the Ottoman era. 

The Grand Bazaar is not just a simple market, but a living testament to a bygone era, a reminder of the great Ottoman Empire's influence, and a meeting point for the various communities of Istanbul and tourists from all over the world. 


History of the Grand Bazaar 

Mehmed II, who conquered Constantinople and renamed it Istanbul, established the Grand Bazaar as part of a larger effort to restore the city's pre-war prosperity. Initially, the market was focused on the trading of jewels and textiles, and it was strategically located near the Old Palace, which served as the residence of the Ottoman royals. The original building that housed the Grand Bazaar was initially given to the Hagia Sophia foundation, a charitable endowment protected by Islamic law. 

Over time, the Grand Bazaar expanded to include nearby markets, both covered and open-air. These included a second-hand market, a book market, and a slave trade market that had been in existence since the Byzantine era. By the early 1600s, the Grand Bazaar had taken on a form similar to what we see today, with its mosques, public squares, fountains, and thousands of shops. 

Over the centuries, the Grand Bazaar has faced challenges such as earthquakes, fires, and competition from European markets. However, each time it has been able to reconstruct and adapt. The most recent restoration of the Grand Bazaar took place in 1980. 

What to Buy at the Grand Bazaar 

The Grand Bazaar remains one of Istanbul's most iconic landmarks and for valid reasons. As the world's oldest shopping mall, it has an edge in its vast assortment of merchandise and its captivating history. While most shops and stalls now have fixed prices for their goods, some still engage in the ancient art of bargaining, a tradition undoubtedly inherited from Ottoman times. 

There is an abundance of items to purchase within the Grand Bazaar's streets, alleys, arcades, and squares. Turkish specialties include hand-woven textiles and carpets, antique lanterns, beautiful ceramics and engraved metalware, jewelry, and delectable sweets. The best way to shop is to leisurely explore the market, taking in all of its offerings. However, it's important to keep in mind that with over 30,700 square meters of space, it may take days to fully explore the complex. Additionally, be sure to partake in the tea that is offered to you, as it's a vital part of Turkish hospitality and may lead to intriguing conversations with the shopkeepers. 

How to Visit 

The Grand Bazaar is open every day from 8:30am to 7:00pm, except for Sundays and the first day of religious holidays. Admission is free. 

The Grand Bazaar has 22 entrances, but the primary one is located at the Beyazit Gate. 

Discover the Free Things to Do in Istanbul for an Unforgettable Experience! If you're in search of exciting adventures and remarkable sights, look no further. Istanbul offers a plethora of captivating activities that will leave you in awe. Explore the vibrant streets, indulge in delicious cuisine, and immerse yourself in the rich history and culture of this enchanting city. Don't miss out on the best things to do in Istanbul!

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