Grand Bazaar, Istanbul

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  • Raimix's Profile Photo

    Grand market

    by Raimix Updated Feb 6, 2012

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    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.

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  • Shopaholic

    by Dinaelghitany Written Sep 11, 2011

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    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.

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  • smirnofforiginal's Profile Photo

    Grand Bazaar

    by smirnofforiginal Written Sep 1, 2011

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    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!

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  • hebaemam's Profile Photo

    vintage and delicasy

    by hebaemam Written May 15, 2011

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    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

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  • Ewingjr98's Profile Photo

    Grand Bazaar

    by Ewingjr98 Updated Apr 13, 2011

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    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.

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  • vichatherly's Profile Photo

    Be prepared to haggle in the Grand Bazaar

    by vichatherly Updated Dec 23, 2010

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    Grand Bazaar (Kapal����ar����)
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    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.

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  • lifeisatrip's Profile Photo

    Shopping to the max!

    by lifeisatrip Written Dec 8, 2010
    One of the many Alleys in the Grand Bazaar

    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.

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    'The' Shopping Experience

    by al2401 Updated Aug 24, 2010

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    The Grand Bazaar - Istanbul
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    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.

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  • balhannah's Profile Photo

    THE (EXPENSIVE) GRAND BAZAAR

    by balhannah Updated Jul 9, 2010

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    Inside the Grand Bazaar

    THE GRAND BAZAAR, I had heard so much, I had seen it on Television a few times, and at last, I was here, having a look around the shops, about 4000 of them!!!

    There probably is everything here that you could want to look at and buy!

    I don't know why, but I wasn't that impressed, perhaps expecting more from the build up I had been given. I also had been to the Egyptian Bazaar first, and been around narrow streets with lots of stalls, perhaps that was it?

    OR.....................

    Maybe it was because I wanted to buy some Ceramics and had priced them in a normal shop before visiting, so I had an idea of what to pay.
    They were 6t/l at the shop, at the Bazaar, I asked the price, and was told 12 t/l, so even with bargaining.
    I would have been paying more than buying from a shop and not doing any bargaining.

    BEWARE!!!!!!

    It probably was this, disappointing.
    I was looking forward to getting some lovely gifts at bargain prices, and I soon realized.......
    THIS WAS NOT THE PLACE FOR CHEAP BARGAINS.

    I'm glad I came for a look, I think I enjoyed outside, in amongst the hundreds of people in the side streets better!

    OPEN DAILY MONDAY TO SATURDAY 8.30 - 7PM ........ CLOSED SUNDAYS
    The surrounding street markets usually stay open longer.

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  • muratkorman's Profile Photo

    Kapali Carsi

    by muratkorman Updated Mar 8, 2010

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    Always crowded
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    This covered bazaar is one of the biggest and oldest covered market in the world with more than 58 covered streets and over 1,200 shops which attract between 250,000 and 400,000 visitors daily. It was opened in 1461 and enlarged in time. You can find souvenirs, textile, carpets, leather, jewellery and many more. The small streets in Kapali Carsi give a labyrinth-like feeling when you visit. Shop owners are friendly and multilingual. Bargaining is the custom here and you will be offered a drink if you go inside shops. You can spend hours wandering around Kapali Carsi.

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  • MM212's Profile Photo

    Kapalıçarşı

    by MM212 Updated Mar 8, 2010

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    Kapalı��arşı in August 2004
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    Istanbul's Grand Bazaar (Kapalıçarşı) is arguably the greatest souk in the Middle East. It was mostly built in the 15th century, soon after the Ottoman conquest of Constantinople, and attracted merchants from Asia to Europe. The bazaar is organised by speciality: separate sections are designated for each type of product, from jewellery to rugs, and from leather to souvenirs. Between them are a few restaurants and cafés for a break from the bargaining. Long gone are the days of great bargains, unfortunately, as prices have increased tremendously with the influx of European tourists over the past couple of decades. Still though, one might be able to find a great deal here or there. Definitely dedicate at least a few hours to visiting this market, but a whole day or more might be necessary for the avid shoppers amongst us. If you are visiting Istanbul during inclement weather, then this covered market the perfect place to spend a rainy day.

    [Note that Kapalıçarşı is pronounced "kapa-li-tshar-sheh".]

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  • Willettsworld's Profile Photo

    Grand Bazaar

    by Willettsworld Written Mar 1, 2010

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    The Grand Bazaar is one of the largest and oldest covered markets in the world, with more than 58 covered streets and over 1,200 shops which attract between 250,000 and 400,000 visitors daily. Opened in 1461, it is well known for its jewellery, pottery, spice, and carpet shops with many of the shops grouped by the type of goods they sell, with special areas for leather coats, gold jewellery and the like but it's still very easy to get lost despite there being signs. I found it to be a complete maze and a bit of a tourist trap where, in my view, most people of Istanbul wouldn't shop in.

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  • Durfun's Profile Photo

    The massive ancient covered market

    by Durfun Updated Jan 8, 2010

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    Shoppers in the bazaar, data hangs from the roof!

    It is a must-see place. This market has several gates to enter, each numbered and on different streets. Even inside, there are signs and names of the streets for each exit.

    You can find practically anything you're after here, from souvenirs, nargiles, crockery, clothes, jewellery, etc. Perfect for window shopping to get ideas, and experience the bargaining process. The convenience of shopping here is that most things are under one roof.

    Indeed, prices are lower in the shops along the fringes of the Grand market, due to lower overheads.

    However, one must visit this Bazaar. Notice the various fact-files hanging from the colourful ceilings, giving historical datelines, data on the size of the bazaar, etc. It's fun looking out for these signs and taking in the info!

    In my photo it says ".. built in the 15th century, covering an area on 54,653 sq.m, is the oldest and largest covered bazaar in the world".

    Another one says "It has 21 gates, 2 bedestans, 17 inns, 66 streets, nearly 4000 shops and employs more than 30000 people".

    It also has several WCs, to enhance & prolong your shopping trip ;)

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  • Zvrlj's Profile Photo

    Kapali Carsi (I&V)

    by Zvrlj Updated Aug 18, 2009

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    The Grand Bazaar

    Probably the best way to describe the Grand Bazaar is to quote Mark Twain – "We went to the grand Bazaar in Stamboul, of course, and I shall not describe it further than to say it is a monstrous hive of little shops – thousands, I should say – all under one roof, and cut up into innumerable little blocks by narrow streets which are arched overhead."

    Although his visit to the Grand Bazaar was more than century ago, almost nothing has changed. It would have been great if one had been able to compare the Grand Bazaar of today with the Grand Bazaar at the time of its establishment, in mid 15th century.

    We had doubts about putting the Grand Bazaar tip into Shopping tips section or Things to Do section. Finally we have decided that the other is better and more useful as the Grand Bazaar is more the tourist attraction than a shopping place. We could also noticed that the Grand Bazaar is often described as the Tourist Trap here, on VT. It is not the tourist trap as long as one knows what it is, but – nothing can prepare you for the Grand Bazaar.

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  • nicolaitan's Profile Photo

    World's Largest Covered Market

    by nicolaitan Updated May 3, 2009

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    Kapalicarsi, the Grand Bazaar, is one of the largest covered markets in the world, 330000 sq ft, with upwards of 3500 stores, 55 streets, 25000 workers, and 250000-400000 visitors per day. Mehmet the Conquerer opened a market at this site as early as 1450, enlarged significantly by Suleyman the Magnificent in the 16th C, with extensive renovations following a major earthquake in 1894.
    The broad classes of merchandise available from multiple vendors include most famously jewellry, watches, leather good, clothing, carpets and kilims, all varieties of antiques, ceramics, and precious metals and stones. The floor plan is confusing with some oblique and curved streets, but schematic maps are available from multiple sources including hotels. These are color coded as certain areas of the bazaar contain predominantly once class of shop. The most expensive and upscale section is at the center (Cevahir Bedesten - Old Bazaar)( Image 5 ) where the aisles are narrower, the storefronts far more refined, and the dome the highest. Here the streets are quiet and peaceful without the hustle and bustle of the remainder in fitting with the more refined offerings. This is the area for antique jewellry coins and furniture, copperware and amber, fine ceramics, and religious objects.
    Multiple entrances to the bazaar allow access to different areas but for most visitors following the crowds from the Beyazit or Cemberlitas tram stop ( just west of the Sultanahmet stop) will be the best route. Immediately on entrance there is a leather clothing district and the first main street running perpendicularly is the main street for jewellry sales, with small side streets.

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Comments (1)

  • Aug 17, 2013 at 4:14 AM

    Just another shopping centre in the guise of a market with the same old same old every 100m, very pushy bordering on offensive traders, no bargains to be had. I walked two corridors and by then had seen enough. The whole thing exemplified what a large part of Istanbul is about ie ripping the unwary off.

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