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The Marmara Suadiye

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The Marmara Esma Sultan

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The Marmara Park Avenue

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Grand Bazaar

From The Marmara Taksim
20 Min
40 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 visiting the stores

Lively, bustling, and outstandingly unique, the Grand Bazaar of Istanbul is one of the oldest covered markets in the world. Made up of over 61 streets and thousands of shops, the Grand Bazaar is an attraction unparalleled by any other destination in the world.

The spirit of the great Ottoman Empire lives on in the eclectic Grand Bazaar, from etiquette rituals to its far-flung wares. It was the commercial heart of the Ottoman Empire for its entire existence, from Mehmed the Conqueror’s conquest of Constantinople onwards; its artisans sell everything from rugs to luxury goods, tea to lanterns to hand-painted ceramics.  

It’s more than a market: it is evidence of a historic way of life, a remnant of one of the most powerful empires in the world, and a place where the diverse peoples of Istanbul and visitors alike come together.  


History of the Grand Bazaar 

Established by Mehmed II, the sultan who brought Constantinople — now Istanbul — under Ottoman rule, the Grand Bazaar was part of a larger plan to restore the city to its pre-war wealth. It began as a center for the trading of jewels and textiles; it was established in close proximity to the Old Palace, then the residence of the Ottoman royals. The building the Grand Bazaar was initially housed in was first given to the Hagia Sophia waqf, a charitable endowment protected by Islamic law.  

In the ensuing years, surrounding markets, covered and open-air, became incorporated into the Grand Bazaar. These included a second-hand market, a book market, and a market of the slave trade that had existed since Byzantine times. By the early 1600s, the Grand Bazaar was similar in form to what remains today. Within its confines, there were mosques, public squares, fountains, and, of course, thousands of shops.  

Throughout the centuries, the Grand Bazaar suffered at times from earthquakes, fires, and competition from European markets; each time, it was able to reconstruct and adapt. It was last restored in 1980. 

What to Buy at the Grand Bazaar 

Today, the Grand Bazaar is one of Istanbul’s most iconic landmarks, and for good reason. Considered the world’s oldest shopping mall, the Grand Bazaar holds an advantage in its sheer range of merchandise and its fascinating history. Nowadays, most shops and stalls have set prices for their wares, but you will still come across some that engage in the art of bargaining — a practice surely passed down from Ottoman times. 

Throughout its streets, alleyways, arcades, and squares, there are countless things to buy. Some Turkish specialties include hand-weaved carpets and textiles, antique lanterns, gorgeous ceramics and engraved metalware, jewelry, and sweet treats. The best way to shop, though, is just to wander through the market, taking in all it has to offer. But don’t expect to be able to see everything — at over 30,700 square meters, it could take days to explore the whole complex. Also, make sure to drink the tea that is offered to you — it’s a tradition crucial to Turkish hospitality, and it might spark unique conversations with the shopkeepers. 

How to Visit 

The Grand Bazaar is open everyday from 8:30am to 7:00pm, with the exception of Sundays and the first day of religious holidays. Entrance is free.  

There are 22 different gates that open into the Grand Bazaar, but the main entrance can be found at Beyazit Gate.

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