The Grand Bazaar

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Istanbul, Turkey
(0212) 514 0045

The Grand Bazaar Istanbul Reviews

EmEm EmEm
147 reviews
Kapalıçarşı Jun 12, 2017
Grand Bazaar in Istanbul or Kapalıçarşı( covered market in Turkish) is the oldest and largest covered bazaar of the world. The Bazaar is situated between Nuruosmaniye Mosque and Beyazıt Mosque in Beyazıt Quarter.

This labyrinth of streets and passages consists of twenty one caravanserais, five mosques, six fountains and four tousands shops and ateliers. It was built during the reign of Sultan MehmetII, the Conqueror, and at that time it consisted only of Sandal Bedesteni and Cevahir Bedesteni, where fabrics and jewels were bought and sold. Much of the quaint merchandise once sold there is no longer available. Parts of the Bazaar are now given over to cheap mass-produced goods and tourist kitsch. Great choice of Turkish crafts, the world renowed carpets, wonderful handpainted ceramics, copper, brassware for charming souvenirs and gifts. Today this bazzar contains also a police station, a health dispensary, a post office, branches of most major banks and a tourist information center. There are eighteen gates, from all sides of the city, with a security guard control.

When I went there first time I came direct to a goldsmith street and got lost in their shops. After a couple of hours I was so exhaused, that next time I decided only to to walk around with no intention to buy anything. Exploring the Grand Bazaar is an experience no visitor to Istanbul should pass up. It is open every day from 8:30 a.m. to 7p.m. except on Sundays, religious holidays and bank holidays.
1 / 1 TravBuddies found this review helpful/trustworthy
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irenem irenem
152 reviews
Hundreds of shops under one roof. Feb 25, 2017
I remember going here with my husband. It is the sort of place he loves and I hate. We were trying to look around when a belt seller attached himself to us. He quoted a price for his belt. We said no. He then offered us five belts for the price he had said. We said no. He then offered us 10 belts for the price he had said and so on. In the end when he was offering us a ridiculous twenty-five belts for his starting price, Peter said, "They are probably plastic anyway." At which point the belt seller lost his temper, produced a cigarette lighter from his pocket and placed its flame against each of the belts to show they would not melt. We still did not buy them; we really did not want any belts.

My husband finds high pressure sales tactics funny and gets into conversation with the salesmen. I just find them annoying and operate on the principle, hassle me and I won't buy from you even if I want what you are selling. I would have liked just to have a peaceful look around the Grand Bazaar, but that never seemed to happen.

One thing I did quite like about the salesmen was they pride themselves on their linguistic ability and try to sell their wares to you in the language they think you speak, so they will approach people in Turkish, English, French, German, Arabic etc.

The Grand Bazaar is one of the largest and oldest covered markets in the world. It is made up of 61 covered streets and over 3,000 shops.

Construction of the Grand Bazaar started in 1455, shortly after the Ottoman conquest of Constantinople in the reign of Mehmet the Conqueror. Originally what is now the Grand Bazaar was several unconnected markets, but by the beginning of the 17th century these had joined together to form the Grand Bazaar. At several points throughout its history the Grand Bazaar has had to be restored or rebuilt following fires and earthquakes.
The Grand Bazaar.
m_nazar m_nazar
5 reviews
Grand Bazaar, one of must-see places in Istanbul Feb 14, 2015
Grand Bazaar is one of the must-see places in Istanbul. It is a huge market comprising several streets and the entire market is covered. That is why it is also called Covered Market. It houses all kinds of shops from jewellery to fashion clothing, leather goods, furniture shops, Turkish delights/sweets etc.

Anyone who has seen Westfield Shopping Center in London (Shepherd's Bush or Straford one) can immediately recognize this place as the Westfield Mall of Istanbul except that its historic look is still evident despite its renovation in 1980s. There is more than one gate to the bazaar though I can't remember the exact figure now.

One of its gates still has the old Turkish language engraved on it i.e. when Turkish language was based on Arabic alphabets while the other gate has modern Turkish language engraving i.e. English alphabets.

The closest Tram stop for Grand Bazaar is "Beyazit". When you visit the Grand Bazaar, one of the must-do is to enjoy Turkish Tea and buy a pack of Turkish delight. You'll love the Turkish delights. Besides, at some shops in the bazaar, bargaining is the key to good purchase.
Inside view
One of the gates of the market
Another gate of the market with ol…
1 / 1 TravBuddies found this review helpful/trustworthy
halilee halilee
133 reviews
Great fun! Apr 27, 2012
The Grand Bazaar is a massive covered bazaar with over 2000 shops and 64 lanes. When we first entered we tried to do the LP walking tour but quickly gave up on that and just walked around, getting lost and enjoying it. You will find everything from modern goods to delightfully turkish goods as well as some little restaurants to just sit and take everything in. Even if you don't shop, this place is a must see and definately give yourself at least a couple of hours, and even then, you'll find yourself wanting more!
Grand Bazaar
2 / 2 TravBuddies found this review helpful/trustworthy
spocklogic spocklog…
317 reviews
Shopping Extravaganza in Istanbul Feb 17, 2011
The Grand Bazaar was established in the 15 th century and commissioned by Mehmet II (1444-1481) immediately after the Ottoman conquest of Istanbul in 1453 to provide financial resources for the construction of Hagia Sophia. Today it covers an impressive area of 54,000 square meters in 56 interconnected vaulted passage ways with 4000 shops, and attracts more than a quarter of a million people each day.

It is the largest covered market in the world and you can find just about anything here from nazar amulet trinkets to gold tiaras fit for a queen. It’s not called the Grand Bazaar for nothing and it is a rather Bizarre place in Grand ways too. You can find things here you won’t see anywhere else if you look carefully beyond the popular goods of consumption. It can be a bit overwhelming as there is just so much stuff to look at.

Some of the shopkeepers are real characters too and always have a conversation for you. It might seem like the biggest tourist trap in the world, but if you are not shy about ignoring some of the shopkeepers pitches from their stalls and learn to bargain like a Turk when you do enter a shop, then it can be an enjoyable experience and excellent deals can be made to bring satisfaction! Let’s face it, a place this size couldn’t survive just by being a tourist trap, so there is more here than meets the eye.

Don't worry too much about trying to keep your bearings in the place and it's rather like a maze inside. Corridors branch every which way and you are likely to soon find yourself lost. Throw caution to the wind, embrace the chaos and just wander wherever your eye leads you while bartering your way to good bargains. Explore and begin to think (and barter) like a Turk – It’s part of the fun.
2 / 2 TravBuddies found this review helpful/trustworthy
nightsky says:
Have been there too, it's amazing!
Posted on: Jan 21, 2017
Great info and photos about the Grand Bazaar. Istanbul has so many interesting markets to wander around.
Posted on: Jan 21, 2017
spocklogic says:
I bought some of those nazar's there (the blue eyes) and gave them away as gifts, but still have one somewhere I think. They have these things on airplanes in Turkey too, stuck to the wall as you enter the plane.
Posted on: Jan 20, 2017
Marjan-k Marjan-k
24 reviews
Colorful and fun Oct 18, 2011
Grand bazaar is one of the best places I've been in Istanbul.

To visit is a great place, to shop not so much. You have to be able to BARGAIN otherwise the prices are way too high.

I bought things which were 100 TL for 10 or 15. You have to be able to say no and come out of the shop they'll follow you and give you the price you want :))

you'll find everything from shoes and hand bags to Turkish handcrafts which are fabulous as souvenir.

there are some beautiful traditional cafes in the bazaar that's perfect for tea or coffee after a long day of shopping.

Overall the grand bazaar was beautiful, colorful and fun to visit.
2 / 2 TravBuddies found this review helpful/trustworthy
deng249 deng249
16 reviews
Oldest covered market Oct 22, 2011
Fancy getting lost in one of the world largest and oldest covered market? Well, head on to the Grand Bazaar (Kapali carsi)in Istanbul.

To get there, take a tram to Beyazit. Alternatively, you can walk there, which will take about 15 minutes stroll from the Sultanahmet square (Hagia Sofia area). Just walk along the Divan Yolu Cadessi until you'll pass the Beyazit mosque. From the main street, you'll be able to see the dome of the bazaar.

The place is huge...with more than 4000 shops, covering an area of about 60 streets.

The grand bazaar was built in 1455. You need to spend hours there to be able to appreciate the size of the place. There are all sorts of things sold there. Besides shops, there are mosques, hammam, cafes and fountains located in this complex.
Exterior & interior of the Grand B…
1 / 1 TravBuddies found this review helpful/trustworthy
jiggady_wig jiggady_…
6 reviews
Crazy adventure Jun 16, 2011
The Grand Bazaar is one of those places that you HAVE to visit if in Istanbul. But it's also a place that I imagine could be extremely great or extremely terrible depending on when you go, who you go with, and how good your bargaining skills are.

I went there in the middle of winter with my friend. We are both females, so as soon as we entered the Bazaar we were shouted and hollered at from each and every direction. The Grand Bazaar is basically run by men; I can't really recall seeing any women working in the stalls. So the entire time we were there we were complimented and charmed by men who wanted to make some money (e.g. "Hey Spice girl, you are so beautiful, come out with me"). This wasn't too enjoyable, and at one stage I was trapped in a stall by a few men who wouldn't let me leave because I didn't want to buy their hookah pipe. But on the flip side, we were able to use our gender to our advantage as the guys seemed to be swayed more by us girls.

Because it was winter and not tourist season, sales must have been pretty poor. We were able to haggle down to really good prices. We ended up getting some amazing goods, and believe me there is a lot to choose from. I feel a bit bad... I don't love ripping people off, but we were also very poor by that stage (we were at the end of a trip) and so we had little to offer.

It's definitely an experience. But be very aware of people trying to rip you off, and because it's so hectic and chaotic inside, keep an eye out on your bags and belongings.

My one big tip is to avoid buying anything until you've had a good look around because chances are, you'll be able to buy the same thing 20m around the next corner at a much cheaper price.
thompssx thompssx
7 reviews
Hate Shopping - love the Grand Bazaar May 11, 2011
Other posts go on about the size and history so I'll tell you to go there for the atmosphere.

As the title suggests, I hate shopping but I recommend you check this place out. OK so there are only 3 or 4 different shop types but the place is buzzing with all types of people, characters and nationalities. Most shop keepers want you to buy their goods but it is all good natured.

A must visit attraction and you will remember it for years to come. One of the best 'markets' I've ever travelled to.

emmychristine emmychri…
1 reviews
Huge bazaar Jun 22, 2011
Take some time to visit the Bazaar... It is huge!

You will find many little shops and probably will get lost, also around the Bazaar are many shops located.

It is open till 7 PM and closed on Sunday.
JRube51 JRube51
3 reviews
Great experience; varying prices from cheap to very expensive May 31, 2011
While in Turkey, this is a must see! It is an awesome experience! From the variety of products to haggling prices, it is a lot of fun! One thing to keep in mind is while there may be some interesting stores towards the front, the really good stuff is further back, so don't get too caught up with the stores towards the entrances!
hlek hlek
17 reviews
Experience the Local Market & Bargain Hard Jun 04, 2010
Of course, the grand bazaar is another must visit place in Istanbul. Here, you can do what the locals do - buy the daily needs. At the same time you get to see A LOT of stuffs displayed here - spices, cheese, souvenirs, clothes, shoes etc. There are many entrances to this market depending on which end you come from. But the best of all, it's FREE, yes, no entrance fee & it is also shaded, need not worry if it rains.

I think the best time to visit this place is during the month of Ramadhan (Muslim holy month aka fasting month). I believe there will be more things displayed.

Anyhow, being an easily recognized tourist - I tried to bargain myself one of the replicated La Martina jacket. First price TL 200 (US$120). No way I'm going to pay that amount for a fake. So I asked for a lower price. The man said "NO", it's La Martina and it's good quality. I told him I have only TL 100. He then said TL 150. Haha. I'm tempted as it is really of good quality. But, $90 is still too much so I insisted TL 100 and started to walk away. The man then said ok. Well, it's quite a hard bargain with 50% off the original price. Now, I still think that it's high priced, could have reduced it to TL 80 maybe. Greedy bastard!

So advice to everyone, make sure you bargain hard in the bazaar especially if you're a tourist.
Spices on sale
Busy place
Fresh tea flowers on sale
Baklava aka Sweets
Chokk Chokk
1732 reviews
People and Stuff everywhere! Oct 04, 2008
One of the things that I really had looked forward to visit in Istanbul was the Grand Bazaar, which is one of the largest and oldest covered markets in the world. The Grand Bazaar has more than 58 covered streets and over 4,000 shops which attract between 250,000 and half a million visitors daily and the days I was in Istanbul I was one of them for sure.

The grand bazaar began construction in 1455 and opened in 1461. It is well known for its jewellery, pottery, spice, and carpet shops. Many of the stalls in the bazaar are grouped by the type of goods, with special areas for leather coats, gold jewellery and the like.

The bazaar underwent and in 1894 a major restoration following an earthquake and today, the grand bazaar houses two mosques, two hamams, four fountains, and multiple restaurants and cafes.

I guess that I had expected the worst walking in the streets; being pulled in all directions by the merchants but I think I was lucky because I had no problems at all.
The Grand Bazaar
1 / 1 TravBuddies found this review helpful/trustworthy
nsg007 nsg007
11 reviews
A Cultural Cornucopia - Grand Bazaar - Istanbul Mar 31, 2008
One of my absolute favorite places in the world is the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul. I know that some of us don’t rate “shopping” as a pleasurable experience, especially when we find ourselves in a place where language and culture are foreign to us. However, to refer the Grand Bazaar as merely a place to shop would be insulting this centuries old cornucopia of cultural fusion.

Legend has it that the Grand Bazaar is the largest covered market in the world and was a hub for products of all kinds since the 15th century. Situated close to the tourist hot spots of Sultan Ahmet (The Blue Mosque) and Taksim, the Grand Bazaar is an absolute must for the visitor to Istanbul.

Adjacent to the Grand bazaar is the Egypt Bazaar or Spice Bazaar. The bazaars run into each other and you may not know when you enter one and leave the other.

The culture, the colours, the people, the shopkeepers and their wares are a visual treat for the most discerning of travelers.
Beautiful baskets
More beautiful baskets
Freshly Squeezed Pomegranate Juice…
Not sure what they are called, but…
1 / 1 TravBuddies found this review helpful/trustworthy
meersan meersan
6 reviews
Sep 24, 2005
The Grand Bazaar in Istanbul is one of the largest indoor markets in the world. Here you can find a slew of tiny shops selling everything from tourist tchotckes to 24 karat gold. Hundreds of thousands of people visit every day, so if you're in town and have a fondness for shopping, you should definitely give it a look.When compared to the Spice Bazaar, also in Istanbul, the Grand Bazaar is arguably more visitor-friendly thanks to the variety of items being sold and a preponderance of multilingual shopkeepers. That said, there are things to buy in the Bazaar and things to avoid. For example, if you're looking for high-quality Turkish carpets or very expensive jewelry I recommend one of the state-sanctioned shops located throughout Istanbul. These include customs and shipping fees in the price. If you're going to drop several thousand on a purchase, why mess around?But if you just want to get a taste of the local flavor and maybe something to bring back for your friends, the Grand Bazaar is a great choice. The main north-south street of the Bazaar is the Yaglikcilar Caddesi. If you follow this or one of the other major corridors you can be assured of not getting lost. Some of the streets farther off the beaten track can be somewhat narrow and intimidating for visitors, so keep that in mind when you branch off to explore.Haggling is the rule at the Grand Bazaar! Be sure to bring plenty of cash as many sellers do not take credit cards or can be coaxed into giving a discount if you pay in cash. I found that euros and U.S. dollars were preferred over Turkish lira, but all three are accepted. Make sure to establish what currency you will be paying in up front, because messing around with an exchange rate is a surefire way to turn your spectacular deal into a merely so-so one. Things to look for in the Bazaar: leather items, pashmina, Turkish candies, jewelry of all price ranges, ceramics, evil eye charms (incredibly ubiquitous in Turkey!) and on and on. If you're in search of spices, dried fruits or tea, try the Spice Bazaar (also known as the Egyptian Bazaar). Saffron! Cinnamon!As in most other tourist-frequented places in Turkey, the sellers can be quite persistent... and utterly hilarious. "For your angel eyes, 4 lira!" "A beautiful woman should have this beautiful necklace!" If you visit the Bazaar, you'll definitely come away with some amazing memories.
The Grand Bazaar
The Grand Bazaar
shanapunim says:
Also if you exit the Bazaar and head down towards the spice bazaar there are many more shops and people are more apt to give a better bargain because their rent in cheaper.If you love ancient Anatolian design in real gold, look for Yolac. I buy some pieces there every year!
Posted on: Nov 29, 2007
Circuitloss says:
Nice review!
Posted on: May 09, 2007
angie says:
sounds pretty exciting!
Posted on: Dec 15, 2005

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