The book dealers have since moved out of the main bazaar into a small open-air bazaar known as Sahaflar Karsisi next to Beyazit Gate.
A leisurely afternoon spent exploring the bazaar, sitting in one of the cafés and watching the crowds pass by, and bargaining for purchases is one of the best ways to recapture the romantic atmosphere of old Istanbul.
Over the centuries travelers to Istanbul have found the exotic atmosphere of this great bazaar, a miniature city within a city, irresistible.
Over 4,000 stores & 60 alleys here! Historically the more expensive items were at the center of the bazaar where more security could be provided. Don't forget to sit down and have some tea served in lovely small glasses.
What to buy: Local crafts, gold jewelry, silver, copper, brass, carpets
What to pay: BARGAIN!!!!
Most of the people do not come here for shopping, some of them are just passing by (making a shortcut through the bazaar), some of them are here as tourists not shoppers (just exploring). And I would say there are things to explore and see, even if you don't want to buy anything. You can take a walk in labirint of streets, streets in gold or silver, carpets or local crafts. And it's pretty much the same as it was hundreds years ago.
What to buy: You can buy for cheap silver here (if you know how!). Most of tourists buy T-shirts (with Istanbul inscription) from here. You can also buy small craft art itimes. Ask for NAZAR (The Evel eye to protect you, its blue/green color and its practically on every corner). Do not expect to find real antiques here!
What to pay: You already heard that you have to bargain here! And here is no exception... (esspecialy here)... there are no price tags here of course!
Check on my 'How to bargain tip' if you want to leran how to buy things for less!
The Grand Bazaar is a real MUST in Istanbul, even if you don’t plan to buy anything. Is a real city inside the city, with hundreds of little covered alleys, it’s got its own mosque, fountains, cafes, toilets… In the beginning every artisan group had its quarter and all the shops selling the same were together. Now most of them sell souvenirs, though there are still specific areas for carpets, jewels…
Covered Bazaar dates originally from the reign of Mehmed II who had the Old Bedesten, located at the very heart of the bazaar constructed. Today the vast structure houses more than four thousand shops linked by a maze of labyrinthine alleys and thoroughfares. The shops sell leather, gold, silver, jewelry, garments, copper and a variety of tourist souvenirs. The Old Bedesten still specializes in the sale of antiques.
I was very surprised at the lack of hassel you get at the Grand Bazaar compared to markets in other Countries I've been too. I was expecting to be almost dragged into every shop but it was surprisingly easy going. But don't get me wrong this is still a bazaar so lots going on, bustling crowds with plenty of haggling to be done.
It is a maze and was almost impossible to find a shop we wanted to go back to and that was with a map, so you definitely have to be in the right frame of mind and prepared to tackle the bazaar.
What to buy: Souveniers, jewellery, cheap clothes, belly dancers costumes....
What to pay: Depending on what your buying I guess but I paid about 30YTL for a lamp and about the same for a teapot type thing. Would try to haggle down to half at first then see where you get to but depends what you're happy paying. I find by sticking to a reasonable price, and walking away if it's not accepted will do the trick, they'll soon be calling you back ;)
It's a huge bazar and it's covered.There are a lot of streets full with jewelry shops,clothes,gifts,souvenires,etc.All the retailers stand outside and invite the costumers to buy.Whe you deside to buy something and ask for the price they always tell you higher price.And you'll offend them if you don't bargain for the price.For example we wanted to buy 2 cups for tea with plates and spoons.He said 16 lira,I said 8 and finally we met at 11 lira.But I'm not good in it.If you're better you'll get better price.
What to buy: You should buy a blue eye,called "nazar"(if I remember correctly).It is a symbol for health and happieness.
everyone knows Grand Bazaar is so huge..you could spend few days to discover it and get lost many times...i was lucky enough to visit it 2 times and i had the best guide ever (thanks again Mike to being so nice to me and to other people)..Mike knows all the best shops, owners of these shops, and he can get good discount for you:) but the most important thing, Mike knows everthing about art (if it's possible...), he distinguish at the moment if such thing is a real piece of art and worth requested price or just some fake or cheap thing.. anyway you could never find anyone who knows more about carpets
What to buy: you can find at Grand Bazaar anything you want, but for me you could never find better place to buy presents, you have so wide choice from traditional, artisanal things, antique things, jewellery..
What to pay: depends on your need, but being a woman ,i couldnt stop being mesmerized by beautiful jewellery:) i could spend a fortune on these ethnical handmade earrings, necklaces..
The biggest bazaar in Istanbul with almost 5,000 shops ! Actually the most well-known bazaar in the world with lots of goods and dodgy salesman around..( my firend, my friend I have a good discount for ya - where are ya from, oh I have a bro there etc ...)
What to buy: Handpainted ceramics, copperware , brassware , meerschaum pipes , carpets , leather , jewelry ....
What to pay: Don't forget bargain alot, the first price will never be the last .normally they are making the price twice-three times more and when u bargain and buy it, you reckon u get a good deal but I'm sorry they can still rip ya off.
The bazaars in Istanbul are unique to what we normally see here in the USA. Merchants are competitive and everyone wants you as a customer. Bargaining with the merchants will help you to get more items for your money.
What to buy: Turkish rugs are the most common things tourists will come home with. You may get the authentic silk rugs, which start at approximately $400 USD, or you may go wtih the less expensive synthetic rugs that can cost beginning anywhere near 20 or 30 Euro. Only downfall is that some of the rugs may be too large to bring home and you would have to pay extra charges for shipping home (which can really add up).
What to pay: Anywhere from 20-50 Euro for a cotton rug; anywhere from $400 USD to $1000 USD if not more for a silk rug depending on its size and quality.
Istanbul's Grand Bazaar (Kapali Çarsi, or Covered Market) is Turkey's largest covered market offering excellent shopping: beautiful Turkish carpets, glazed tiles and pottery, copper and brassware, apparel made of leather, cotton and wool, meerschaum pipes, alabaster bookends and ashtrays, and all sorts of other things.
Most guidebooks claim that it has 4000 shops. Because of consolidation and replacement of shops by restaurants and other services the number is certainly lower, but you get the idea: it has lots of shops. Not all of them, by the way, are for tourists; locals shop here as well, lending a welcome dose of authenticity.
Kapalýçarþý is a great bazaar in Nuri Osmaniye and Beyazid Mosques and Mahmutpaþa Bazaar, made up of streets of various shops sheltered by roofs and domes. Though not very regularly shaped, it holds and area of about 31 thousand square meters. It has hundreds of domes which are covered with lead and windows. The nucleus of Kapalýçarþý is a Byzantine building which is today called Old Bedesten. The section of the bazaar where valuables and jewellery are bought and sold was commissioned by Sultan Mehmed the Conqueror and the main great bazaar itself was commissioned during Kanuni Sultan Suleyman, on a wooden basis. Kapalýçarþý, today has a surface of 30.7 hectares, 61 streets, 10 wells, 4 fountains, 2 mosques and over 3 thousand shops, managed to claim its present look within 250 years.
Kapalýçarþý, which burned in years of 1546, 1618, 1652, 1660, 1695, 1701, 1750 has always been repaired after each disaster. After all this, it had undergone great damage in the earthquake of 1766. It is partially burned in fires of 1791 and 1826. The bazaar which had just regain is composure was again shaken by an earthquake in 1894 this time. It catches fire again in 1954 at the latest and could only be repaired in five years.
What to buy: Beautiful Turkish carpets, glazed tiles and pottery, copper and brassware, apparel made of leather, cotton and wool, meerschaum pipes, alabaster bookends and ashtrays, and all sorts of other things.
What to pay: BE CAREFUL!!! THE PRICES ARE NOT REAL PRICES!! AT LEAST DOUBLED OR SOMETIMES TRIPLED!!!
The grand bazaar is a very big covered bazaar with many streets inside and a lot of stores.
You can find here shirts , jewelery , lamps , leather , music instruments , carpets and many more.
When you want to buy something bargain for the price it is a known custom in Turkey.
What to buy: you can find jewelery , clothes , leather , antiques and many many more.
What to pay: Depends on what you want to buy - they also accept Euro , USD and of course YTL.
THIS is the quintessential grand market. Don't listen to people that tell you that only tourists go there nowadays. Not true, especially if you go there on a Saturday morning and if you're hitting the jewelry stands. Open your heart and submerge yourself in this BEAUTIFUL, surprisingly clean maze of tiny shops, each with a history of its own right. Bargain, argue, accept their teas, smile, move on, whatever you do.... lose yourself in it..... and eventually walk away from it exhausted, yet totally fulfilled.
What to buy: Silver , silver, and MORE silver!!!!!
The oldest and biggest closed bazaar in the world, has around 4000 shops and over 60 alleyway, covering a huge labyrinth in the city centre.
It is the place to be for shopping - you can find almost everything - and it is a sport to bargain with the turkish vendors.
The Paperrazzia team (esp.the ladies) had a problem choosing the gifts and bargain the price, but we catched the waiting bus for the hotel, just in time.
What to buy: Call it and you will find it.
Juwelery, leather handycraft ....
What to pay: They accept creditcards - but like to receive cash, dollars or euro - doesn't matter
Abdulla is a haven for luxuriating in a bath if you want to be surrounded by naturally derived products for the bath as well as natural fabrics to wrap yourself in apres bath. There are bed and bath linen made of cotton/silk/linen and combinations thereof which are hand loomed by traditional, rare methods. The owner, Metin Tosun works hard at bringing these disappearing crafts to your experience in these modern times. There are also soaps, essential oils plus mohair and sheep skin throws.
What to buy: dyed sheep skin bed covers and throws, just about any item there is a gem.
What to pay: prices are higher than usual bath products because the techiques are specialized and the experience of being in either one of this two shops adjacent to Cafe Fez is just wonderful.