Grand Bazaar, Istanbul
Going to the Grand Bazaar is an event. It has more than 4,000 shops! There are plenty of soveneir shops in Istanbul, but none offer the excitement of this covered market. Because this is a tourist haven, shop keepers raise the asking price of the merchandise. This means you will have to bargain hard for a fair price. You might pay anywhere from 25-percent and 75-percent of the asking price. Whatever you find in one store, it can certainly be found in a dozen nearby shops. If you are looking for a water pipe, visit a couple shops with a good selection of them before actually negotiating. You can also say, "Hey, why would I pay you $10 when I get the same thing at the other store for $5" As soon as you turn your back to leave the store, the salesman will say "ok, ok, you have a deal."
The Grand Bazaar is closed on Sundays.
Address: Kapali Carsi
Directions: The main entrance is near the University of Istanbul
The world famous Covered bazaar (Kapali Carsi) is, owing to its architecture, history, location, and sheer variety of marchandise, one of Istanbul's most significant tourist sites. The Bazaar has eight different entrances, each of them facing one of the city's most important historic monuments. These include Nuruosmaniye Mosque, Çemberlitas, the Beyazýt Complex, Istanbul University and the Second Hand Book Bazaar. Built at the command of SultanMehmed the, Conqueror in 1461, the Bazaar initially consisted of just two warehouses (bedesten). In time, merchants began to set up their own stalls and workshops in the surrounding area. Dignitaries furthered the expansion with the addition of numerous caravanserais, so that the soon place had become a focus for trading goods from all over the empire. In the 16th and 17th centuries, however, the Bazaar suffered repeated damage from the fires that ravaged that part of the city, and in 1894 was destroyed alltogether by an earthquake. After being rebuilt in 1898, the Bazaar underwent futher renovation following the fires of 1943 and 1954.
What to buy: In terms of structure, the visitor is confronted by what may at first seem a bewildering a maze of 61 streets. On closer inspection, however, it becomes apparent that there is, in fact, a reasonable semblance of order. The streets themselves are arranged on a grid-like system, are traditionally shopkeepers have tended to group themselves according to the type of goods they sell, whether it be jewellery, antiques, carpets, copper, or leather goods. Clues as to which area you might be in are often given by the names of streets, even if in some cases - the Street of the Turban Makers, for instance - the traders recalled are now mere vestiges of a colourful past.
The Bazaar also functions as an unofficial financial centre, with a particular emphasis on gold and foreign exchange trading. Most shopkeepers will exchange different currencies.
The Bazaar is open daily, except Sundays and public holidays, between 07:00 and 19:00.
Luckily for us the Grand Baazar was no more than 10 minutes stroll from Hotel Niles where we stayed.
And did we have a shopping spree...David was like a little boy in a candy store while I worried about weight on the plane!
The majority of sellers were well mannered.."Will you visit my shop"...Most accepted "hayer" or whatever "no" is in Turkish.
I tried to respond with a few words in Turkish...they seemed to like that.
What to buy: In the Grand Baazar there are leather goods, carpets, jewellery, watches, scarves by the thousand, t shirts,handbags, dolls and places to enjoy (or otherwise) turkish coffee....but you must try it.
You wonder how on earth they make a living with so much repetition...well we helped. David had a bit of a spending spree.
Actually I liked the Spice Baazar as there were a few different things to look at...spices of course...more choice of Turkish delight...flowers... but it was further away. from our hotel.
We bought a beautiful bag to carry all the goodies " all made in Turkey" so colourful
And do make sure you have smaller notes. For small items 100 TL is looked at with horror. Have 20 TL at least.
What to pay: As many Turkish Lira as you have..or euro
Directions: How do I know...just ask for Grand Baazar...it is a landmark
This is the Super Bowl of shopping and all under one roof! Although perhaps not as rustic and romantic as the image one might have built up in their own minds, the Grand Bazaar is a place to be experienced and not to be missed even for the reputed non-shopper. Culturally it is fascinating: The banter from the shopkeepers to get you to look at their wares; walking along lanes that have housed shoppers since the 15th century; the sport of bargaining with a shopkeeper over a potential purchase; and the ever-present tea waiters, taking all types of tea on metal trays to shops who order them for their customers (and themselves).
Definitely take the time to visit the older section of the Bazaar, the Cevahir Bedesteni. Dating from the 15th century you can see the exposed brick domed ceiling. It houses many small high quality jewelery, antique, and ceramic shops.
I think we spent time in the Grand Bazaar on 3 of the 5 days we were in town. I think that's the key to surviving the Grand Bazaar...to do it in small doses. To try to do it in one outing would be mind-numbing for all but the most intense and serious of shopper.
What to buy: What can you buy here? With over 4000 shops, just about everything! Jewelery, antiques, football kits, ceramics, lamps, carpets, leather goods, tourist chotchke, food stuff, clothes, luggage, shoes, belly dancing outfits, watches. You name it!
What to pay: Varies; be sure to use your bargaining skills!
Address: Yaglikcilar Caddesi runs right through it
Directions: Take tram to Beyazit and walk a block or two north to one of the many entrances to the Grand Bazaar
Tumultuous, frenetic - words do not do justice to the hyperactive ambience of the Grand Bazaar. On each street, dozens of vendors without an international brand name in sight each offering incredible selections ( images 2,3 ) and willing to create anything not in stock. What is not in the store may well be in the second and third level storage areas ( images 4,5 ). For many items, knockoff status for everything from Gucci to Cartier. Touts in the streets directing the visitor to specific stores ( mostly for carpets and kilims ). Crowds of shoppers scurrying hither and yon seeking out the greatest quality and the biggest bargain. A truly unique shopping experience.
Many believe the Grand Bazaar a tourist trap, and in some ways it may be. The vendors are grand past masters of separating suckers from their money. For those with the time, cheaper prices are undoubtedly available outside the bazaar. Yet for most visitors, the overall quality of the goods including the designer knockoffs is so good and the prices so low relative to full retail that the bazaar is still the venue of choice for those without days to pursue better deals. Everything P bought here has won compliments and obtained far cheaper than buying similar items at retail in New York. Wasting several hours to save 10% on a leather coat or a watch simply isn't worth it. Similarly, wandering from store to store will not really be worth the trouble. Visit a few, make a decision, buy, go see Istanbul.
Turkish hospitality will often lead to offers of tea or coffee - these are a tradition and do not obligate the buyer in any way. However, the seemingly innocent questions of the salesmen are not so benign. Where are you from, where are you staying, what ship are you from, have you found good places to eat, are you happy with your tour guide - these questions are intended to appraise your worth and are used to set prices and bargaining parameters. Our hotel, home state, etc, changed throughout our shopping experience -- straight down. Setting the original bargaining offer by the vendor as low as possible will pay off. Be aware that every salesman in Turkey has a relative in your home town, a business associate a few miles away, a recent visit to your home state. Trust me - these guys are good.
One principle - talk to friends who have visited the bazaar before you go and try and figure out just how much they payed for items of interest such as watches especially on knockoffs.
There are fabulous bargains at the Grand Bazaar - this is the place to shop quickly and efficiently.
Kapalicarsi is one of the largest covered bazaar of the world
It was built in 15th century by MEHMET II and first name is Sandal Bedesten.
With the new additions it s became a huge ancient in door bazaar of the Istanbul.
For more infor about please visit http://www.kapalicarsi.org.tr/
What to buy: You can by leather jackets,tiles,ceramic vaze,carpets,rugs,Copper souvenirs ,Jewelry,bookstores,silverwares,sports wears etc.
if u want bring some gifts from istanbul you will find some hand made or ready dishes full of colors and arts
it,s good decorate items for home or office , or as gifts to friends . but try ask for the prices all time you must try have lower price all time .
The Kapalicarsi or Covered Bazaar is one of the largest covered markets in the world with more than 58 streets, over 1,200 shops, not to mention ten wells, four fountains, two mosques, and several cafés and restaurants. Around 25,000 people are permanently employed in the bazaar, and an indeterminate number of street vendors ply their wares in and around it. The heart of Turkey's gold market and unofficial foreign exchange market beat here and has between 250,000 and 400,000 visitors daily.
The bazaar contains two bedestens (domed masonry structures built for storage and safe keeping), the first of which was constructed between 1455 and 1461 by the order of Sultan Mehmed the Conqueror. The bazaar was vastly enlarged in the 16th century, during the reign of Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent, and in 1894 underwent a major restoration following an earthquake.
You can watch my 3 min 24 sec HQ Video Istanbul Grand Bazaar part I
out of my Youtube channel with Turkish pop music by Serdar Ortac – Hesap Soruno.
It is well known for its jewelry, pottery, spice, and carpet shops. Many of the stalls in the bazaar are grouped by type of goods, with special areas for leather coats, gold jewelry and the like.
Here the most valuable items and antiques were to be found in the past, and still are today, including copperware, amber prayer beads, inlaid weapons, icons, mother-of-pearl mirrors, water pipes, walking sticks, watches and clocks, candlesticks, old coins, and silver and gold jewelry set with coral and turquoise.
You can watch my 3 min 57 sec HQ Video Istanbul Grand Bazaar part II out of my Youtube channel with Turkish pop music by Emre Altus – Fani Dunya.
The neighborhoods surrounding the bazaar are filled with stores and kiosks, but with very different ambience, cost, and clientele.
WEST - Images 1 and 2 - along the west side of the bazaar, we found extremely crowded narrow streets lined by kiosks and fold-up small stores with huge piles of clothing, souvenirs, and lesser amounts of other items. These places were astoundingly cheap, especially for knockoffs of designer clothing. Ralph Lauren Polo dress shirts were obviously the not the original - for one thing, they had pockets and the logo was gigantic, with original pricing about 13-15 YTL but open to bargaining especially if more than one was bought. The souvenir stores had everything from commemorative plates to pipes to istanbul trinkets. There were a high proportion of Turkish speaking people in this area. We regret not having bought more of those shirts which have held up very well. Exit the Grand Bazaar through the soutwest corner at the Hacihusnu or Fesciler gates.
EAST - Images 3 and 4 - an upscale shopping area with more sophisticated stores and ambience set along the tree shaded pedestrianized Nuruosmanye Street with benches, open air cafes, and venues for the purchase of leather goods, carpets and kilims, and jewellry. A delightful walk among the more prosperous clientele, more international in origin. Do note that these stores suggest that they are cheaper than stores inside the bazaar -- BUT -- cruise ships publish list of recommended stores none of which are in the bazaar. Most are along this street and all become recommended simply by paying the cruise lines to be listed. Cheaper maybe, but not cheap. Their generous offer of delivery to the cruise ship or hotel is no big deal because for larger purchases anybody inside the bazaar will offer to do the same. These stores did offer some very nice looking merchandise. Exit the Nur- u Osmaniye gate.
SOUTH - Image 5 - between the tram and the bazaar are narrow streets with stores of distinctly lower quality and ambience, generally empty. A quick look in these outlets showed little of interest for most shoppers and we just walked on by.
It's a medieval department store. Built in the late 15th century, it's a labyrinth and hundreds of tiny streets and shops, with loads of gold and all kinds of junks, ALL at ridiculous prices...It is virtually impossible ( I mean it, because I have a have the bump of locality) to remember where you got into this place from and how to get out of there. The good thing is that it has lots of exits, but the chances are you'll get out in a completely different part of the city.
If you decide you like something there so much, you wanna buy it, my advice will be - do not buy it!!! Almost everything found there you can find elsewhere it the city at much more reasonable price. If, again, you decide to buy - DO bargain !!! This can make your day and save you a lot of money. The first price they'll tell you is quite simply ridiculous. Tell the equally ridiculous counteroffer, i.e. if the salesperson told you I want 100 lira (50 Euro) for this bone box, you tell him - Well, I'll give you 10 lira...for two...This is how everything works here...
Things to avoid: Do not go in the Sirkeci area around the Egyptian market. It's a terrible place, a swarm of people, very chaotic and noisy, everyone screaming something and another one answering at the other side of the street, a third one decides to give his opinion on the matter, and this is repeated hundreds of thousands of time, until you start worrying about your life. There's a good chance you get robbed, too, mainly because of the huge amount of people (Istanbul has a population of about 15 million) and the dizziness this causes you.
Things to do: try the "balik ekmek" or fish sandwich sold from boats right in the Golden Horn, in the Eminonu Port. It's a simple, yet very tasty sandwich, made of a quarter of white bread, half of mackerel fish , caught by the same boat the same day, some onions and lemon juice. Mmmm, I loved it, and it's cheap (3.5 lira) and healthy.
Visit the Yerebatan, the so called "Sunken palace". originally a cistern for water, built by the Byzantines to help the city in case of siege, it has been turned into, i.m.h.o. one of Istanbul's greatest attractions. look at the pictures, or better, go and see it.
The Grand Bazaar has four main gates situated at the ends of its two major streets which intersect near the southwestern corner of the bazaar. One street combines the Bayezid II Mosque and Bayezid Square with Nuruosmaniye Mosque.
The Main way (Kalpakcilar Basi Caddesi) of the Grand Bazaar is especially impressive!
You can watch my 2 min 01 sec HQ Video Istanbul Grand Bazaar part III out of my Youtube channel with Turkish pop music.
Directions: You may watch my high resolution photo of Istanbul on the Google Earth according to the following coordinates 41° 0' 37.59" N 28° 58' 4.90" E or on my Google Earth Panoramio Grand Bazaar .
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.
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.
Directions: On Beyazit Square