Istanbul - Grand Bazaar and beyond

Istanbul Travel Blog

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The following morning we got up around 9:30 and enjoyed some breakfast at the hotel. We set out walking towards the Grand Bazaar shortly after and managed to make our way there without getting lost. Despite having seen some large shopping centres in the world, I was shocked at the sheer size of this market! Currently the largest covered market in the world, the Grand Bazaar hosts approximately 4,400 shops! Apparently, the typical sales progress here involves the vendor inviting you in for tea, then showing you their wares while you drink. We never officially got invited for tea! Must be because we didn't look interested enough!

I was very impressed by the gold jewelery in the bazaar. The craftsmanship were outstanding and the designs were very intricate. unfortunately all my money is tied up in gold stocks (painful subject at the moment), or else this would have been a much better investment! Another popular thing we noticed it the blue eye patterns.
Istanbul aquaducts
They were everywhere! We learned later on that this is called a blue eye, officially nazar boncu─ču, and that it is an amulet that wards off the evil eye. The evil eye is the folk belief that the envy resulting from the good luck of fortunate people may result in their misfortune.

Wandering outside, we stumbled into the clothing district and this is almost identical to the Chinese clothing markets such as the Silk Market in Beijing. Some of the designs were horrendous and I think Giorgio Armani may very well have a heart attack seeing some of the clothing associated with his name there!

We checked out the University after the bazaar. The University is a historically important site in Istanbul because, during the Dark Ages where illiteracy and ban on knowledge was rampant all over Europe, the Istanbul University was the only oasis in the continent where learning still took place.
Blue Mosque


After that we walked down to the waterfront. It was along here that we met our fellow carrying all the bread on his head (Raymond, please send photo if you are reading this). After munching on the bread, we weren't very hungry at all by the time we got to the waterfront so we didn't end up having any fresh fish for supper that night. On the trek back, we stopped at a little stand to rest our swollen feet and Tiff had this brilliant idea to try some Ayran (turkish yogurt). God it was awful! It was actualy sour, salty yogurt! I had to wash it down with a glass of fresh grapefruit juice!

Back at Sultanahmed square, we visited the Basilica Cisterns, an underground structure that I have yet to figure out the practical uses. Apparently it was built over a thousand years ago (in amazingly good shape considering its ripe age) to provide water to the palace. The atmosphere down there reminded me of the Harry Potter movie where we had to go into the underground acquaducts to hunt for that basilisk.
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Istanbul aquaducts
Istanbul aquaducts
Blue Mosque
Blue Mosque
Grand Bazaar
Grand Bazaar
Inside the monstrous Grand Bazaar
Inside the monstrous Grand Bazaar
Lantern shop
Lantern shop
University
University
Inside Blue Mosque
Inside Blue Mosque
Inside Blue Mosque
Inside Blue Mosque
Inside Blue Mosque
Inside Blue Mosque
Basilica Cistern
Basilica Cistern
Basilica Cistern
Basilica Cistern
Istanbul
photo by: Memo