grand bazaar, Istanbul
The Grand Bazaar is huge! Best not to plan, but just to get lost! Everybody will see you as a possible client -and it is very touristy.
It does have a great atmosphere and is a must visit.
I'm not too sure if you will get many bargains here.
What to buy: Variety of crafts etc
There should be more than 4.000 shops in the Grand Bazaar, the biggest ‘souk’ in the world. But it is almost impossible to count and see them all.
You will find different areas with different kinds of tradesmen.
Somewhere in the Grand Bazaar you will always find something (and always have to bargain and to bargain again…).
You can't go to Istanbul and not visit the Grand Bazaar! The bazaar is closed on Sundays along with the Egyptian Spice Market.
When I walked into the jewelry store where we purchased some items before, I was very surprised when they recognized me right away and called the salesperson who helped me previously! I was impressed because they see thousands of people each month. So, if you are looking for gold in the Grand Bazaar, go to Bircan Jewelry (#67). If you don't see what you want in the window, go inside and tell them what you are looking for, they can probably find it, just like they did with the beautiful ring I purchased from them.
I also visited another clothing merchant where I purchased some clothing in April. I happened to be wearing one of the sweaters I purchased and they told us "hey, lady, if you want more sweaters like that, come inside." I told them that I had bought the sweater there before...and ended up going inside where I spent about $100 on D&G, Von Dutch, and DKNY shirts and sweaters. Of course, they were either imitation or excess production but I have to admit that most everything I've purchased at the markets in Turkey have been exceptional quality.
What to buy: Gold & silver jewelry, pashimas, leather jackets, and faux designer jeans/shirts
What to pay: Most things are up for negotiation so bargain and have fun!
The Grand Bazaar (Kapalicarsi in Turkish) is one of the the largest covered markets in the world with its 4400 shops, 3000 firms, some 17 hans (separate inns for specific type of products), 64 streets,25.000 employees, 4 fountains, 2 mosques and 22 gates. It's a real heaven for shoppers and a good opportunity for people to discover the Turkish hospitality. It looks like a labyrinth at first sight but it's actually not that complicated. All you have to do is to keep your eyes on the main street (Kalpakcilarbasi Street, the jewelry street). The Bazaar was first constructed in 1464 with the order of Mehmed II 'the Conqueror' and had many restorations over the years due to the extensive fires and destructive earthquakes. There are tens of cafés, a police station, little mosques, tourists information points in the bazaar.
A big maze, it's the ideal place for shopping in Istanbul. The shopping lovers have everything there, their companion may enjoy the site.
Much more organized than the Islamic souks, the place keeps the oriental touch, and bargaining is the general sport.
Don't miss it.
Grand bazaar was established by Mehmet II around 1453, theres a lot of shops inside and an unique architectural, many enter gate but we cant loose the way because theres a lot of signposting.
I entered throu Carsikapi gate in front of Beyazit tram stop, this side is the easy way from my hotel in Taksim area, or you can use a bus number 81 from Taksim .
What to buy: We can buy a lot of unique and ethnic things ,like souvenirs (key chain, wallet, t-shirt ) , carpets, scarf and leather goods
What to pay: Remember always to bargain...and use cash YLT ( new Turkish Lira ).
I am sure that everybody knows about the Grand Bazaar, or to say it Kapalicarsi. During my last visits, I have recognized something bad. Grand Bazaar is fading. Instead of cloth shops, etc. the number of gastronomic shops are increasing because the shopkeepers cannot make money anymore. It is very rare to see somebody buying something.
I have to say that if you want to buy something from Turkey, do not have doubt to think about Grand Bazaar. The prices are good there. But, do not forget to bargain. It isnot because the shopkeepers want to cheat you. But, it is because bargaining is like a ritual in traditional shopping centers like Grand Bazaar.
- The streets surrounding it are very well worth a closer look.
The vendors are not half as obtrusive and there's less of us, tourists.... -
What to buy: well, clothes of any kind, jewelry, CD's (turkish),
(very) old posters, indeed carpets,
"Sir, your wife, she looks cold, she needs a new leather coat."
"Sir, do you love your wife? If you do, buy her a new necklace right here."
"Sir, do you have a minute?..."
And on and on. Sales resistance is easy here, and you need it every minute in this place.
What to buy: Cheap leather goods, incredible silversmiths, evil eyes of every size and description, Russian icons, tourist crap, and more stuff than I can recall.
What to pay: The more willing you are to walk away, the cheaper it gets.
The Grand Bazaar is the largest market in Turkey and have more than 4000 shops.
What to buy: Leather and gold use to be the main items to buy, but you will find almost everything at the bazaar.
What to pay: Remember to bargain alot while buying something.
This is an old bazaar where local crafts, clothes, jewellery, fake brands, perfumes.... and so much more is sold. One needs to be an expert bargainer. It is best to go here only if you are confident about your bargaining skills, otherwise it is better to go to the Asian side and shop there. Better to avoid jewellery shopping here. Local crafts, bags and fake brands are good here.
What to buy: Fake branded jeans, shirts, bags, shoes, Turkish ethnic items, imitation jewellery, table ware... so much more...
What to pay: Bargain, bargain, bargain --- at least less than half of what they quote!!
No trip to Istanbul is complete without visiting the Grand Bazaar, which boasts over 4000 shops. Here, you will find everything including souvenirs, gold, turkish rugs, fake designer goods and ceramics.
Note: The Grand Bazaar is closed on Sundays.
What to buy: Souvenirs.
What to pay: Don't make the mistake of thinking that everything here is at its cheapest. Look around, compare prices and then haggle - lots!
Indoors , several entrances, it is huge. There is a main "street" with lanes off it,must be "miles" of it. Sells everthing. Very crowded. If you are askiing locals directions to the Grand Bazaar try and say "Kapali Carsi". Not to be missed.
What to buy: Has i cant carry much i bought loads of turkish delight.
The Grand Bazaar is a huge complex. One should be careful and note his/hers route as s/he is walking further as it is very easy to get lost in this huge bazaar. All the "paths" or "alleys" look very similar to each other.
Take care of your belongings here. It is not a dangerous place, just full of people. Normal awareness for pickpocketing is enough.
Be aware that the salesman are there to do their work, and can be very strong in their sales activities. Time is easily spent there, even more than you thought. Remember to bargain! It is the normal way of doing business in Turkey. Often there is -unless a shop and clearly marked prices- margin to negotiate even as much as half of the first price. Don't pay too much!
If you are considering of buying a carpet, painting, leather jacket or something else more valuable, remember that you might be invited for a cup of tea and the negotiations may last even a couple of hours.
As a common rule everywhere it is good not to start bargaining if you are honestly not interested and not willing to buy the item.
What to buy: You can find practically anything you want from here: water pipes (nargile) of different sizes, beautiful decorated tea sets and pots, tea, leather products, hand made carpets, handicraft, souvenirs of many kinds, clothes, scarves, jewellery, glass and crystal products - it is difficult to remember what you can't find from there.
This was a nice, small shop in the Big Bazaar. We entered it by good luck with a specific wish and Mustafa succeeded were other shops failed to deliver the requested embroidered cloth. When you're looking for a well-tempered salesman who is friendly, let you take you time, has good (not too strong) tea and wants you to be happy - his motto is: 'as long as we have our good health': this is the place. When we were there, two of his previous customers came back, just for tea and a chat.
What to buy: We bought a hand embroidered (silk on cotton) cloth, square (most are rectangular, to be used on beds) of very good quality.
What to pay: There are cheaper one, but this cloth was well worth its about 300 euro's.