Grand market, or, differently, Grand Bazaar could be named as one of oldest and biggest markets in the World. It was planned and constructed in middle of 15th century, when Constantinople was conquered by Turks.
The place has about 3000 – 4000 shops in 61 street. Nowadays nearly everything is under a roof and brick structures. Only in about 1950s’ everything was made of stone, as few time before market suffered fires. It is possible to find a great variety of goods here, but, as I have heard, prices are bigger than in other smaller markets of Istanbul.
Grand bazaar is just amazing how everything is sold there, for bargain lovers, it's a dream come true, you get to gown to half price or even less. You will find everything there, you name it, gold, leather, carpets, antiques, furniture, lighting, clothes, shoes, etc. Just let yourself go with the flow and go with the labyrinth. Bargain as much as you want, they will pretend they are upset, when you leave, they will call you back. The architecture of the bazaar is outstanding, more like a maze.
Over 4000 shops and apparently several kilometres of lanes this is the hubbub of the old city and undoubtedly one of the largest tourist traps anywhere!!!
Points to note:
1. Everybody will give you a smile, offer you an apple tea and invite you into their shop(s) BUT unlike many, many other places in the world,,, a simple "no, thank you" is good enough which, considering the 4000+ shops and several kilometres of lanes is a good thing!!!!
2. You will be offered apple tea but note... the shops do have have the facilities inside and so they send a runner to the local tea maker... they are offering because it is the polite thing to do but it really can be a pain in the arse for them so, my rule of thumb was to only ever accept the tea IF I was a genuine shopper.
3. You know before you go that this is a tourist trap BUT there is also the chance to pick up some genuine bargains... this is also the place that locals come to to buy wholesale.
If, like me, you are there with a shopping plan - as in intending to do some serious shopping with some serious money and not just a few kneejerk holiday souvienir purchases you really can in this place. You just need to shop around with your guide book, camera and anything else that scream bazaar nwecomer firmly hidden!
In my first visit to Istanbul, I was taken to the bazaar - "this is the bazaar, let's enter, be careful not to get lost... let's go out... it's seen".
Things are better when you are on your own, when you may decide where and when to enter, have the pleasure of loosing yourself with time to check what you like, feel the place and its surroundings.
I had it this time, and got a better idea. There´s not much difference between the bazaar and our malls in Sunday, only the exposed articles have a more eastern look.
Buying... well that's a different mater, you will have to bargain, but this time I was in REAL vacations - Fernanda was not there!
Time also to read that the bazaar has 4000 shops (or 1200), was built in the 15Th century and has 250 000 visitors a day (or 400 000 and me).
The shops are grouped by type of goods, and that forces competition and helps buyers, but also makes the images so repetitive, that a non-shopper as me may accelerate to exit.
a reall bazar with all measures.....
but bargin is a must.... go down to 50% of the value and then go up back again till you reach 60% of the real value.
i bought trukish tea set with the sweet dishes covered with mosque dome like covers... they are awsome....
i bought aladdin lamp for 30 dollars
Istanbul's Grand Bazaar is a massive and historic shopping area that offers a variety of goods. Constructed between 1455 and 1461, this is considered both the oldest, and the largest covered market in the world.
The massive complex consists of 12 major buildings and has 22 gates spread amongst 58 covered streets. The Grand Bazaar houses over 4,000 shops that sell items such as leather, jewelry, local crafts, and more. It also boasts two mosques, four fountains, multiple restaurants and cafes, and even a police station. It is said the bazaar attracts between 250,000 and half a million visitors, both tourists and local shoppers, each day.
The Grand Bazaar is located on the tram line just two or three stops west of Sultanahmet.
Istanbul is a great place to shop. The Grand Bazaar and the Spice Market are great places to experience, whether you buy anything or not. The Grand Bazaar is a winding maze of shops and stalls selling everything from antiques to bath products to clothing to delicious treats. It's easy to get lost inside and you'll have vendors calling out as you pass each stall, so the whole experience turns into something of an adventure. Don't be afraid to negotiate for the best price! Nearby, you'll also find the Spice Market (technically called the Egyptian Bazaar), which is a great place to pick up delicacies like Iranian saffron, as well as lokum (Turkish Delight, that is!), traditional teas and unique cheeses. At either location your shopping experience may also turn into a traditional show of hospitality, where you are invited in to view the products, sip tea and chat. It's a lovely way to spend a few hours in Istanbul. Visit Monday to Saturday, as markets are closed Sunday.
The Grand Bazaar (Kapalýçarþý) in Istanbul is one of the largest covered markets.
It is a great place to do your shopping for gifts for those back at home. Although, in my story, I didn’t managed to buy anything try as hard as I could.
I collect football scarves of the overseas teams that I have visited whilst watching Manchester United. I was in Istanbul for the UEFA Champions League game against one of Istanbul’s teams, Besiktas. I was therefore looking to buy a Besiktas team scarf. I already have scarves from Galatasaray and Fenerbahce.
I spied a likely looking stall in the Grand Bazaar, which had various sports clothing items on it and thought that this would be as good place to start. I was ready for a good haggle.
I asked the man on the stall if he had a Besiktas scarf. “Yes I have one. How much do you want to pay?” he asked. “Can I see the scarf first?” I replied. He muttered and search around the back of his stall and eventually brought out a carrier bag.. “Here…good scarf..How much you want to pay?” he asked again, so I looked in the bag and asked if could have a closer look at the scarf. It turned out to be a scarf from another team in Istanbul Trabzonspor
Trabzonspor. I politely said to the man that actually this was the wrong team scarf and that I wanted a Besiktas scarf. “The team that play in black and white and are on of the oldest and most famous in Istanbul”. He muttered again to himself and then his friend from a nearby stall came over to help.
I mentioned to him that I wanted to buy a Besiktas scarf, with which he nodded and said “How much you want to pay?”. Again I replied that it would be nice to see the scarf first and then we could start on the haggling.
The two men had a long chat and then offered me the Trabzonspor scarf again. I again said that this was the wrong team and that had they heard of Besiktas?
They replied “Yes…of course…hold on a moment”. After another long chat one of the sellers said that scarf was in his other shop and would I come back this afternoon.
I was getting a bit bored by now and really a simple no we don’t have that scarf would have been enough.
Now there was 15 minutes of my life that I won’t get back again.
Happy ending to the story was that I managed to get a scarf near the ground, and so have one for my growing collection.
If you like shopping and bargaining, the Grand Bazaar is for you! It is definitely NOT for me. The haggling game played is much too annoying for me.
The price the vendors initially tell a shopper, we were told, is inflated about 100%. If the vendor quotes you 500 Lira, you offer half as a starting offer.
There is really no way of making sure one is paying a good price. Grand Bazaar is for tourists, after all.
The Grand Bazaar is an amazing place - literally a maze of streets. It is one of the largest undercover bazaars in the world and is even divided into areas like the leather section, or the rug section. There are so many entrances it is easy to get lost and to come out on the opposite side to where you intended. Maps are available and are a good idea. See website below for a basic map.
You need to have water (but there are restaurants and cafes in the bazaar), a good pair of walking shoes, lots of time, lots of money (I defy anyone to leave the Bazaar without purchasing something) and a sense of humour (it is the home of bargaining). It is a lot of fun.
Four Seasons Istanbul Istanbul
6 Reviews and 488 Opinions This is the 2nd time I come to Istanbul....the last time I came I came with my buddies, so we stayed...
Dersaadet Hotel Istanbul
5 Reviews and 740 Opinions Dersaadet Oteli is a small inn located in the shadow of the Blue Mosque in Sultanahmet. The inn is a...
Hotel Sultania Istanbul
1 Review and 759 Opinions Hotel Sultania was everything we wanted in a hotel. We were visiting the amazing city of Istanbul...
see all Istanbul member meetings