The land of vast cultures and colorful traditions, Turkey is an Asian – European gateway between the two continents. Turkey has a rich historical background that goes back to Roman rule and ends up with the Ottoman Empire. With that, the country is a homeland to many majestic architectures and buildings. Istanbul is a Turkish city famous for many of these ancient structures. From Blue Mosque to Hagia Sophia, and Topkapi Palace to Dolmabache Palace, the city itself is full of history. Like that, we can not miss mentioning The Turkey Market: Grand Bazaar Istanbul.
Grand Bazaar History
The Grand Bazaar of Istanbul is the world’s oldest and largest covered market. The Grand Bazaar or in the Turkish local language Kapalı Çarşı was built in the 15th century and covers a total area of approximately 55 square meters. When Mehmet II conquered Constantinople, present-day Istanbul, he commissioned the Grand Bazaar to provide financially for the empire.
A wooden structure at first, the market is now completely built up of bricks and stones. The Grand Turkish Bazaar started out small but as time progressed it became the economic hub for both the city and the country. Out of all Istanbul markets, this market is the center of attraction for all businessmen as well as tourists.
The Grand Bazaar for Shoppers
You can not omit the fact that this Turkish Bazaar is mostly swarmed in with tourists. If you are visiting Istanbul, then going to Grand Bazaar is a must. It does not matter if you shop in there or not, but feeling the market’s environment is an experience of its own.
The moment you walk into the market, you will get lost in a maze. The Grand Bazaars shops are lined side by side and fill up every corner of the area. Every street inside the market is dedicated to a different profession. The Grand Bazaar was home to a school, 5 mosques, 7 fountains, 10 wells, and an ablution fountain, whereas now only 1 mosque and the ablution fountain are remaining.
What will you find in Grand Bazaar?
The bazaar consists of 56 streets and more than 4000 shops, employing at least 30000 people from both the country and outsiders. On one side, you can see street food items which consist of Turkish sweets mostly. One street is dedicated to people selling clothing items. One place will be full of jewelers, selling both artificial or real jewelry. You can then walk into a street and see shops selling souvenirs and Turkish lamps and not miss the famous Turkish carpets, one area is all dedicated to them. Anything that you think, you will find it all here!
There is serious competition between the merchants as you can see them selling similar items with shops being side by side. But there is nothing to worry about as everybody earns something by the end of the day as there are many people visiting the place.
10 Things to Buy in the Grand Bazaar:
Here are the 10 things you can buy or look out for when exploring this market in Istanbul.
- Lamps and Lanterns
- Textile products
- Turkish Carpets
- Turkish Metalware
- Fashion Accessories
- Hammam Asseccories
A Tourist Trap?
The Grand Bazaar is a trap for tourists. The moment you enter through the gate, the street hawkers, as well as shop keepers, will start calling you towards their stalls and shops. Once you are in there, you know you will not come out empty-handed. Hence the shopkeepers know how to make you fall for this trap. They can know which part of the world you are from and may start dealing with you in your own local way.
Many of the shop owners are multi-lingual and can use that to their advantage to lure you in. Of course, if that person will call you to visit the shop speaking your national language you will get attracted. Once you enter their shop, you will be trapped and can not escape without buying anything. Do not be surprised, this is a trick, and like that there are many other ways these sellers will use to get their products sold.
The best way to evade these tricks is to be prepared before making any move. Do not look interested in the product you are willing to buy. If you enter the shop explore different products and ask for prices randomly. Then pick the product you want and start negotiating. If you are not successful, you can always start looking towards the opposite shop and make your steps towards it. The shopkeeper may automatically stop you and consider the price you demanded. Always negotiate a price that is acceptable for both parties.
So if you are visiting Istanbul, this is the best market in Turkey to buy anything you desire. Buy things for yourselves and take souvenirs for your loved ones back home. This market is as grand as the name suggests.