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Grand Bazaar, the oldest and largest bazaar in the world

Grand Bazaar, the oldest and largest bazaar in the world

The Grand Bazaar (Kapalıçarşı), Istanbul, is one of the top tourist attractions in the world.

It is an ancient architectural maze that has an area of 30,700, consists of 61 streets and 4,000 shops.

The bazaar was commissioned by Mehmet II in 1461 and has steadily expanded, extending over the surrounding land over centuries of Ottoman rule.

A visit here is not just about shopping for souvenirs, with its huge arched main streets and narrow alleys.

The Grand Bazaar is one of the historical places in Istanbul that let you know the Ottoman life.

Your visit to the bazaar should be at the top of the list of things you must do while in Istanbul.

The Grand Bazaar is open from 8:30 am to 7 pm from Monday to Saturday.

Grand Bazaar, the oldest and largest bazaar in the world
Grand Bazaar, the oldest and largest bazaar in the world

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How to reach the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul?

How to reach the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul
How to reach the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul

Grand Bazaar is close to other popular Istanbul attractions like Hagia Sophia and the Blue Mosque.

Because of this central location, public transportation is your best option to get to the bazaar, especially the city’s tram system.

It is also useful to know that there are 21 different entrances to the bazaar, and although you will most likely enter through one of the five main gates:

  • Beyazıt Kapısı (accessed via Beyazıt Square)
  • Çarşıkapı (near Beyazıt Tram Station)
  • Nuruosmaniye Kapısı (near Çemberlitaş Tram Station)
  • Örücüler Kapısı (towards Eminönu Tram Station)
  • Mahmut Pasa Kapısı, and other nearby tram stops, such as Üniversite and Sirkeci.

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Etiquette of shopping in the Grand Bazaar

Etiquette of shopping in the Grand Bazaar
Etiquette of shopping in the Grand Bazaar

Shopping in the bazaar has a special feature, we advise you when shopping to take your time to chat and bargain.

For a better experience, try to visit the Grand Bazaar at a comfortable pace and not rush from one store to another.

The final purchase is not as important as the relationship that will be created between the seller and the buyer.

Chatting with sellers who often speak more than one language is what makes the Grand Bazaar experience different.

Dozens of stores lined up side by side sell similar products, making haggling and customer service very important.

Accepting tea does not mean that either side has entered into a contract, it is the Turkish way of welcoming visitors.

And if you are not satisfied with the offer, you can leave and find a better deal in the bazaar.

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What should you buy in the Grand Bazaar?

What should you buy in the Grand Bazaar
What should you buy in the Grand Bazaar

Although the Grand Bazaar seems to have it all, only some stores are worth a visit and only some products are worth buying.

So, if you ask for advice from the locals, many will share with you the following tips:

Jewelry

If you enter through Beyazıt Gate, you don’t have to look far because the main corridor is paved with jewels and although the places may look very similar.

Some are more special than others, Topkapı Özavar is a bar shop offering a wide range of colorful jewelry.

Antiques

Şalabi Antiques is the place where most antique shops are located and many sellers all over Istanbul sell items that look like antiques.

Finding a trustworthy place that understands the value of the item is important, and Şalabi Antiques is one such place serving its customers in the Grand Bazaar since 1880.

The store’s collection includes antique jewelry and personal items such as mirrors, boxes and historical Ottoman antiques.

Eski Fine Arts and Antiques has three separate stores with a collection of smaller 19th and 20th century antiques from various countries formerly in the Ottoman Empire.

Carpets and Kilims

You will find unique handwoven carpets and kilims made with many amazing colors. Most of the designs are modeled with special attention to details. 

Dhoku, another carpet and kilim shop by the owner Ethnicon, that specializes in modern designs.

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