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Located in the bustling streets of Istanbul, the Turkish Grand Bazaar with its vibrant markets, exotic cuisine and buzzing energy is a feast for all tourists and visitors alike. From intricately designed jewellery to carefully crafted rugs, the Grand Bazaar is a delight for every shopper wanting to discover different kinds of products. Explore the timeless charm of the Grand Bazaar which offers tourists an overall immersive experience with its grand architecture and variety of shops.

Overview of the Turkish Grand Bazaar

Entrance to the Grand Bazaar

Image Credit: Maksym Kozlenko for Wikimedia Commons

Nestled in the heart of Istanbul, the Turkish Grand Bazaar is renowned for being the world’s oldest and largest market which entices thousands of travellers from all over the world as well as the locals. The Grand Bazaar, as per its name, boasts an entire area of 30,700 thousand sq metres and contains over 4,000 shops that are located in approximately 62 lanes that deal with a variety of products. From apparels to decoration items to products significant to Turkish culture, the bazaar offers any and everything and is the dream destination for all shoppers. As part of the tourists’ journey to Turkey, Grand Bazaar with its beautiful aesthetics and splendour is a primary destination mentioned in almost every holiday package when travelling to the city.

Istanbul has always had that charm which, as you would explore the streets, would transcend you back in time. The Grand Bazaar became a major hub for trade in the Mediterranean era because of the Ottoman Empire’s control over three continents and the influence that it had on the links between Europe and Asia.

Shops that were distributed based on specialisation back in the day, are still very much prevalent and are one of the most unique features of the market. There are approximately 22 entrance gates, all of which are bound to take shoppers into different realms of products such as apparel, cuisine, spices, decor, handicrafts and so on.

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Grand Bazaar Hours

Famous Ottoman lamps at the bazaar

Image Credit: Brian Jeffery Beggerly for Wikimedia Commons

The Grand Bazaar opening hours begin at 10:00 am and close at 7:00 pm. It is open on all days except for Sunday. The gigantic market has shops that sell a variety of items that range from ceramics, carpets, jewellery and so on. One of the most famous items sold in the market are the magical Turkish lamps. With its beautiful patterns and exquisite handmade material, they are easily one of the favourite products of the consumers. When booking a trip to Istanbul, tourists tend to put the Grand Bazaar in the list as one of the major attractions to visit when visiting the stunning city.

Where is the Grand Bazaar located?

Image of a girl buying nuts and dry fruits of the bazaar

Image Credit: Maksym Kozlenko for Wikimedia Commons

In the district of Faith in Istanbul, Turkey, the Grand Bazaar sprawls from east to west and is approximately situated between the Beyazit and Nuruosmaniye mosques. It showcases the greatest of Turkish architecture even in present times with only a few moderations made to the place. The massive structure of this magnificent monument is what catches the eye of the visitors and makes it one of the most visited places in the world. The best time to visit the market is in the fall which comprises the period from the month December to the month of February. It is believed that this is the ideal time to visit since the shops are less crowded and also give an opportunity for tourists to bargain and get the items at a cheaper price.

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History of the Turkish Grand Bazaar

Grand Bazaar, famously known for its ceramics

Image Credit: Maksym Kozlenko for Wikimedia Commons

The famed Grand Bazaar is backed by a rich historical legacy and its origin dates back to the 15th century, during the reign of Sultan Mehmed II. Initially, the construction of the bazaar, known as “bedesten”, was involved in the sale of silks and fabrics. But as the world progressed further, the bazaar also gradually started expanding its trade and included other items for sale as well. This market was initially ordered to be a domed structure or a covered market by Sultan Mehmed II and was constructed for twin purposes of facilitating the trade of jewels and textiles while also raising revenue for the Ayasofya Mosque that is in Hagia Sophia.

The bazaar that was dubbed Cevahir, finished completion in 1460 and at the same time, the second structure known as Sandal, was established after a few years. Both these structures then continued to become the leading centres of commerce and trade which helped them gain recognition worldwide.

The structures of Cevahir and Sandal were then adjoined by other stores and markets which began to come up around these structures. The Grand Bazaar evolved into a major buzz of trade and commerce and along with its business with mosque and school and over 20 inns and fountains, it gained more importance overall.

After an unfortunate period of earthquakes and fires, the structures of the market suffered numerous setbacks but were reconstructed by the Ottoman Sultan Abdulhamid II.

Architecture of the Grand Bazaar

Stunning interiors of the market

Image Credit:Maksym Kozlenko for Wikimedia Commons

The Grand Bazaar resembles an enormous maze and certain aspects of the area evokes grandeur and archaic style of architecture. Tourists all around the world are drawn to this market because of its historical legacy and the display of a covered market that contains 4000 stores and 60 streets. The huge shopping market exhibits a vibrant and colourful structure which displays intricately designed aesthetics. This structure is known as Cevahir which is separated into 15 distinct sections. The structure and detailing of these domes showcase the culture of Istanbul as well as its traditions.

The structure of Sandal Bedesten on the other hand, was designed in such a manner that 50 other enclosed domes could be accommodated. These two structures of Cevahir and Sandal therefore, are the main bazaars of the locality that highlight the design and patterns of Turkish architecture in an authentic manner.

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Best Shops and Items at the Turkish Grand Bazaar

Handcrafted apparel displayed in the Grand Bazaar

Image Credit: Maksym Kozlenko for Wikimedia Commons

Since its inception, the Grand Bazaar has been a major trading arena and naturally boasts a plethora of shops that sell various merchandise and items in the market. From its dainty jewellery to vibrant fabrics, the Grand Bazaar is the perfect place to find souvenirs and indulge in shopping. Despite the maximum range of items in the market, there are a few best shops in Grand Bazaar Istanbul that are a must-view!

Shops that sell the Turkish ceramic collection are extremely famous and the items range from mugs, plates, vases, ashtrays and hanging ornaments. The marvellous tiles on Turkish monuments are displayed here.

Secondly, the shops containing Turkish tapestry easily rank as one of the most selling items and include Kilim rugs, and carpets, all of which are eminently known for their hand-crafted charm. The quality and durability of these rugs are also what draws visitors to these shops in the first place.

Besides all these, the jewellery sold in the shops which is a blend of both gold and silver jewellery containing beautiful stones and gems on top of it are also famous. Other prominent items in the market include the Turkish lamps, soaps, hookah and mouth-watering edibles.

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Make a trip to Istanbul and visit the Turkish Grand Bazaar in all its glory. A visit to this wonderful place will offer tourists a chance to explore the streets of Istanbul and appreciate the lovely Turkish architecture that surrounds the area. Travellers will also get the opportunity to shop to their hearts’ content and enjoy the buzz that surrounds the area.

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Cover Image Source: Maksym Kozlenko for wikimedia Commons

Frequently Asked Questions About Turkish Grand Bazaar

Is it safe to visit the Turkish Grand Bazaar in Istanbul?

Yes, it is safe to visit the Grand Bazaar as thousands of tourists from all around the world visit the place. Further, the bazaar is located in the Sultanahmet district which is a safe area.

What is the Grand Bazaar closing time?

The Grand Bazaar closes at 7:00 pm every day and is entirely shut on Sundays. It is advisable for visitors to visit the area in the morning as the crowd is significantly less during that time.

How can tourists reach the bazaar?

The area is well connected by various modes of transport. The Istanbul Airport is at a distance of 47 kms from the Bazaar and it takes approximately 50 minutes to reach by road. Another facility available is the metro which tourists can take from the airport itself to Zeytinburnu and then use a tram from Beyazit to the bazaar.

What are some tips to visit the Grand Bazaar?

Some of the tips to visit the area are firstly that travellers should understand that the bazaar is massive which means that only a few hours are not sufficient to explore the area and hence, an entire day should be given to fulfil the purpose of shopping here. Tourists are encouraged to see things properly and buy them wisely at an appropriate price instead of buying them headfirst the first time they see them. Lastly, the shopping day can be divided into two parts, morning and afternoon where tourists get the maximum benefits of shopping.

What are some places to see near the Grand Bazaar?

Some of the most renowned places near the bazaar include the Nuruosmaniye Mosque, Tomb of Mahmut II, 3oth Sultan, Nizam rugs, Iznik works and so on.

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