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The Grand Bazaar has been Istanbul's most well-known bazaar and prime shopping destination since the 15th century. The bazaar is a piece of the Historical Peninsula and has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1985. With its bustling culture and vibrant daily life, it resembles a secret city of its own, full of wonder and treasures. Visitors can truly experience the singular ambiance of Istanbul by visiting this bazaar, which captures the spirit of the city in its old days.
Because of its antiquity, the bazaar has managed to preserve many dying professions to this day. It’s one of the largest and oldest markets in the world, displaying a wide range of goods in over 3000 stores. Grand Bazaar is a shopping haven for those who value traditional textiles and fine jewellery in particular. Upon first glance, it becomes clear why the Grand Bazaar is one of Istanbul's top tourist destinations and draws more than 500,000 people daily.
Interesting Facts about the Grand Bazaar
1. The Grand Bazaar is one of the world's most visited markets.
2. Its construction began in the 15th century.
3. In the past, the Grand Bazaar united three continents.
4. The Bazaar's 67 roads were marked with the names of its merchants.
5. The Grand Bazaar has over 4,000 shops and 60 covered streets.
Things to Do at the Grand Bazaar
There are 22 gates that allow access to the Grand Bazaar from all sides. The bazaar also has banks, foreign exchange bureaus, mosques, fountains, hammams, restaurants, coffee shops, and even a post office within the enormous complex. Here are some things everyone should try when visiting the Grand Bazaar:
Shop for Unique Goods
With more than 4,000 stores selling a range of goods spread throughout a 45,000 square meter space, each part of the bazaar offers different kinds of products. You can buy a diverse variety of products, some of which include: oriental rugs, antiques, textiles (including clothing and outfits created to order), gold, silver, diamonds, jewellery, leather, silk, and fur products, shoes, bags, and accessories, home goods, souvenirs, handicrafts, Turkish sweets, herbal products, and spices.
Experience the Ottomans' Daily Life
The Grand Bazaar, which has maintained its original identity, is a magnificent location to experience the Ottoman ambiance of the past. You can imagine the Ottoman daily life in Old Istanbul as you explore the ancient alleyways, shops, and stores of the traditional bazaar. The site offers tourists an experience that captures the nostalgia of this storied covered market and immerses you in Istanbul's unique culture and history.
Look Around the Alleys
Even if you don't enjoy shopping, taking a stroll through the ancient bazaar's confusing alleyways is a truly unique Istanbul experience. Here, hours can pass by without you knowing how fast time is passing. When tourists come here, they’re mesmerised by the unique energy and the lively atmosphere. You can meet many fascinating people this way.
Take a Breather and Enjoy the Scenery
Shopping and sightseeing can be extremely draining. Fortunately, there are numerous cafés and restaurants that serve delectable Turkish cuisine, snacks, and cold and hot beverages in the Grand Bazaar. After working up a sweat, stop at any traditional Turkish cafe and enjoy black tea while taking in the vibrant bazaar life.
Snap Instagram Momentos
The Grand Bazaar provides a variety of unique photo options that no other location can match to capture the charm of the Orient. Here, you'll be surrounded by a sea of spices, brightly colored carpets, oriental lanterns, and backgammon stores, all making for a perfect opportunity to snap a couple of photos you’ll remember for the rest of your life.
An Unmissable Tourist Experience
The Grand Bazaar is known for its shopping, but it also has a number of historic buildings, including mosques, fountains, and even a hammam (Turkish bath). These architectural marvels add to the bazaar's charm and provide a glimpse into its colorful past.
It's important to set aside some time for your first visit to the Grand Bazaar because of its vastness and abundance of shops. It's a good idea to have a general idea of what you're searching for or ask for the assistance of a local guide who can offer insights and recommendations because navigating the maze-like structure can be overwhelming. Regardless, the market is a place of wonder that has withstood many centuries and rulers, which all contributes to its richness as a historical site.
Things to Know Before Visiting
- Suggested Tour Duration: 1-2 hours
- Best Time to Visit: Summer
- The bazaar is open every day from 8:30 to 19:00, except Sundays.
- Tickets: Entrance to the bazaar is free.
Note: Since the bazaar follows the traditions of earlier times, visitors are encouraged to take part in the haggling process to fully immerse themselves in the experience of shopping there.
Grand Bazaar Guided Tours
Tourists can fully appreciate Istanbul's dynamic energy and rich cultural legacy by visiting the Grand Bazaar. This famous market will provide you with a remarkable and genuine experience of Istanbul, whether you're an experienced shopper or are just looking to get a taste of Turkish culture.
Get the full tourist experience by exploring the Grand Bazaar by booking iLinkTurkey’s collection of Istanbul Tours now!