All You Need To Know About Istanbul's Grand Bazaar

With 61 covered streets and more than 4,000 stores, the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul is one of the biggest and oldest covered markets in the world
The Istanbul Grand Bazaar is the most famous oriental covered market in the world. Credit Shutterstock
The Istanbul Grand Bazaar is the most famous oriental covered market in the world. Credit Shutterstock

For any traveller visiting Istanbul, the first and foremost thing that is at the top of their bucket lists is the Grand Bazaar, the city's historical shopping and trade centre. The market's popularity is reflected in the fact that it was visited by almost 4o million people in 2022, a massive 56 per cent jump from 2021. Interestingly, out of the 40 million visitors, two lakh were Indian.

What Is The Grand Bazaar
The Grand Bazaar is a spectacular building with a maze-like interior. It is a covered complex that resembles a little city with a daily circulation of thousands of workers and customers. It has been a popular shopping destination for centuries and boasts dozens of stores offering anything from textiles to antiques.

The Grand Bazaar has a history that stretches back to the middle of the 15th century. It is situated between Nuruosmaniye, Mercan, and Beyazt. Bazaars were constructed next to religious and other social and philanthropic places as part of the Ottoman foundation system, which included nearly all aspects of socioeconomic and cultural life. This was done to finance maintenance and repair costs. In 1461, Fatih Sultan Mehmet built the first buildings to serve as the Grand Bazaar's foundation.

The Grand Bazaar, which is not only the oldest but also the biggest retail centre in the world, has undergone several reconstructions by renowned architects, notably Sarkis Balyan, as a result of numerous fires and earthquakes. In fact, it recently underwent a series of renovations, following which it opened to visitors in 2022.

What To Buy
One may discover a wide variety of goods at the ancient Grand Bazaar, which currently has around 2,500 businesses. These products range from carpets to purses, textiles to gold and silver jewellery, and tiles to antiques. There are over 1,200 enterprises in the area known as han (inn), home to artisans specialising in the Bazaar's crafts.

Recommendations Spices, Turkish handmade soaps and lamps, Lokum (Turkish delight), ceramics, antique items, carpets, rugs, and quirky lighters.

What To Eat
The Bazaar is home to traditional eateries, caf&eacutes, shops, and retailers. Havuzlu Restaurant, renowned for its hospitality, is the most well-known. Another option is the historic Ark Kahvesi on Yalk&ccedillar Street, where you can refresh with its world-famous coffee. Popular eateries in the market include Fes Cafe, Sultan Cafe, and Life Cafe.

The Information
The Grand Bazaar is open between 8.30 am-7.30 pm in the summer and 8.30 am-7.00 pm in the winter. It's closed on Sundays.

Time needed You will need to spend at least 3-4 hours.

Best way to reach The Grand Bazaar is located in the Sultanahmet area, near the neighbourhoods of &Ccedilemberlitas and Beyazit, which are well connected by trams. The nearest tram stop, taking line T1, is Beyazit Kapalicarsi.

Pro Tip The golden rule of shopping in the Grand Bazaar is to bargain with every purchase.

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