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Grand Bazaar

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

8:30 AM to 7 PM

Interior of the grand bazaar, people are shopping and Turkish flags are hanging from every store entrance

The Grand Bazaar in Istanbul is a vibrant and bustling marketplace, renowned as one of the oldest covered markets globally. With its extensive network of over 61 streets and countless shops, it stands as an unparalleled attraction that offers a truly unique experience found nowhere else in the world. 

The enduring spirit of the grand Ottoman Empire thrives within the diverse and vibrant ambiance of the Grand Bazaar. From traditional etiquette customs to an extensive array of merchandise, this historic marketplace served as the commercial hub throughout the empire's existence, starting from Mehmed the Conqueror's conquest of Constantinople. Skilled artisans within the bazaar offer an eclectic range of products, including rugs, luxury goods, tea, lanterns, and intricately hand-painted ceramics. 

The Grand Bazaar is not just a mere marketplace, but a testimony to a bygone era, a fragment of one of the mightiest empires the world has ever seen, and a hub where people from different walks of life, both locals and tourists, converge. 


History of the Grand Bazaar 

Commissioned by Mehmed II, the visionary sultan who conquered Constantinople, known today as Istanbul, the Grand Bazaar was a crucial component of a comprehensive endeavor to revitalize the city's prosperity after years of conflict. Initially, the bazaar primarily served as a vibrant hub for the exchange of precious gems and textiles. Its strategic location near the Old Palace, the residence of the Ottoman royalty, underscored its significance. Interestingly, the original building that housed the Grand Bazaar was initially bestowed to the Hagia Sophia waqf, a charitable endowment safeguarded by Islamic law. 

Over the years, the Grand Bazaar expanded to incorporate nearby markets, both covered and open-air. These additions included a second-hand market, a book market, and a market for the slave trade, which had been present since Byzantine times. By the early 1600s, the Grand Bazaar had taken on the form that can still be seen today. It featured not only thousands of shops but also mosques, public squares, and fountains within its premises. 

Over the course of centuries, the Grand Bazaar faced challenges such as earthquakes, fires, and competition from European markets. However, each time it encountered adversity, the bazaar demonstrated resilience by reconstructing and adapting to the changing times. Its most recent restoration took place in 1980, ensuring its continued existence and vibrant atmosphere. 

What to Buy at the Grand Bazaar 

In present times, the Grand Bazaar stands as an iconic symbol of Istanbul, and its reputation is well-deserved. Regarded as the oldest shopping mall globally, it boasts an extensive array of merchandise and a captivating historical background. While many shops and stalls now adhere to fixed prices, you may still encounter some that embrace the time-honored tradition of bargaining—a practice undoubtedly inherited from the days of the Ottoman Empire. 

The Grand Bazaar is a vibrant tapestry of streets, alleys, arcades, and squares, brimming with an abundance of enticing merchandise. Among the Turkish specialties awaiting discovery are hand-woven carpets and textiles, antique lanterns, exquisite ceramics and intricately engraved metalware, beautiful jewelry, and delectable sweets. While wandering through the market is the best way to shop, it's important to note that the sheer size of the complex, spanning over 30,700 square meters, means that exploring every nook and cranny could take days. Furthermore, don't miss the opportunity to indulge in the tea offered to you, as it is an essential aspect of Turkish hospitality and may lead to engaging conversations with the welcoming shopkeepers. 

How to Visit 

The Grand Bazaar welcomes visitors every day from 8:30 am to 7:00 pm, except on Sundays and the first day of religious holidays. Admission to the bazaar is free of charge, allowing everyone to explore its vibrant atmosphere and offerings. 

The Grand Bazaar boasts a total of 22 gates, with the primary entrance located at 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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