The Grand Bazaar (Kapalıçarşı) in Istanbul stands as one of the globe’s most renowned shopping havens. Encompassing a vast 30,700 square meters, it holds the distinction of being the largest enclosed bazaar worldwide. Upon entry, you’ll discover a labyrinthine expanse of 64 streets and quaint alleys, hosting a staggering array of approximately 4,000 shops. Additionally, nestled within its intricate web are a mosque, post office, charming cafes, banking facilities, and even a police station, culminating in the creation of a miniature bustling central metropolis.
The Grand Bazaar serves as a haven for preserving a multitude of fading trades, upholding their distinct cultures. This iconic establishment stands as the planet’s oldest and grandest bazaar, showcasing an unparalleled diversity of merchandise. With over 3,000 shops housed within its walls, it attracts a staggering 400,000 visitors. Dating back to the era of the Ottoman Empire, the bazaar served as a hub where exquisite jewelry and meticulously hand-crafted textiles from across the nation converged for trade. For those with a penchant for traditional fabrics and authentic adornments, this marketplace emerges as a shopper’s paradise.
According to Oktay Ekinci, the former President of the Chamber of Architects, the experience of visiting the Grand Bazaar extends beyond mere exposure to a historical and enigmatic location. It encapsulates an allure born from the market’s time-honored traditions and the genuine human connections that intertwine with it. It even encompasses a sense of trust. When journeying to Istanbul, a visit to the Grand Bazaar becomes an essential item on your itinerary. To navigate this expansive marvel with ease, seek out guided tours that offer assistance in locating your desired treasures, imparting the art of bargaining, delving into its history, and facilitating your transportation.
Working Hours of the Grand Bazaar
The Grand Bazaar welcomes visitors from Monday to Saturday, embracing a schedule spanning 8:30 AM to 7:00 PM. It gracefully closes its doors on Sundays and official holidays, providing a pause in its bustling activity to observe these moments of rest and reflection.
is grand bazaar open on sunday?
The Grand Bazaar, also known as Kapalıçarşı, takes a leisurely breath every Sunday, gracefully observing a day of closure. This cherished Istanbul landmark, renowned for its vibrant commerce and historical significance, pauses its bustling activities on this particular day of the week, allowing both visitors and merchants a moment of repose. It’s a time when the intricate tapestry of trade and cultural exchange takes a gentle break, rejuvenating for the bustling days that follow.
What to buy in istanbul grand bazaar?
At the Grand Bazaar, you can find a variety of different products.
- Jewelry and Gems: The Grand Bazaar is famous for its handcrafted silver and gold jewelry. You can find jewelry in various styles and designs.
- Carpets and Rugs: Turkish carpets and rugs are renowned worldwide. The Grand Bazaar offers handwoven carpets in different patterns and sizes.
- Leather Goods: Products like leather jackets, bags, wallets, and shoes can be found in various shops at the Grand Bazaar.
- Handicrafts and Decorative Items: Ceramics, glassware, wood carvings, and other handicrafts are available as unique and beautiful souvenirs.
- Spices and Nuts: The Grand Bazaar is famous for its rich spice stalls and colorful varieties of nuts. It’s an ideal place to experience local flavors.
- Clothing and Textiles: From traditional Turkish attire to modern clothing, a wide range of garments is available.
- Antiques and Handcrafts: You can also find antiques, old handicrafts, and collectible items at the Grand Bazaar.
- Tea, Coffee, and Spice Sets: Specially designed sets for traditional Turkish tea and coffee service are among the intriguing products at the Grand Bazaar.
In short, the Grand Bazaar offers a wide array of products, making it possible to find something for every taste.
How to get Grand Bazaar?
- Tram: Beyazıt-Kapalı Çarşı
- Metro: Vezneciler
A historical heritage: The Grand Bazaar
The Grand Bazaar, situated in Istanbul, Turkey, stands as one of the world’s most expansive and ancient covered markets. To truly immerse oneself in the essence of Istanbul, it’s essential to lose track of time within the city’s fabric and become one with its vibrant pulse. The Grand Bazaar offers an ideal avenue for such an experience. Within its walls exists an entire realm separate from the rest of Istanbul—a dynamic, bustling, inviting microcosm that’s integral to the city’s identity.
This bustling marketplace magnetizes visitors from every corner of the globe, promising not only a journey through time but also encounters with antique vendors, skilled jewelers, craftsmen creating exquisite bags, leather artisans, and merchants of ornate carpets. In essence, it houses a kaleidoscope of possibilities.
The Grand Bazaar’s distinction as the world’s oldest and largest historical market can be attributed to Sultan Fatih’s vision, who ordered its construction to bolster the financial support of the Hagia Sophia. Nestled between the Nuruosmaniye and Beyazıt Mosques, as well as the Cevahir and Sandal Bedestens, this historic bazaar is a focal point for commerce. The term “Bedesten” signifies a bazaar specializing in the exchange of valuable commodities like clothing and jewelry. Over the centuries, it has remained a thriving hub for shopping endeavors, etching its legacy into the city’s vibrant tapestry.
61 Streets, 4000 Shops!
As the Ottoman Empire expanded its reach, the Grand Bazaar evolved in tandem with the capital’s growth. Originally consisting of two Bedestens, this marketplace now sprawls across an impressive 47 thousand square meters. Despite enduring eleven fires and two earthquakes, the Grand Bazaar continues to captivate visitors with its remarkable architecture.
Comprising 61 interconnected streets, many of which bear names linked to specific trades such as “Fesçiler” (fez sellers), “Kalpakçılar” (fur cap sellers), and “Aynacılar” (mirror sellers), the Grand Bazaar is a microcosm of diverse businesses. Within this dynamic landscape, the “İç Bedesten,” encompassing around 1500 square meters, and the “Sandal Bedesteni,” spanning 1300 square meters, emerge as semi-detached components of the bazaar’s intricate design. Encircling the bazaar are inns that also contribute to this vibrant commercial ecosystem.
In the present day, the Grand Bazaar boasts approximately 4000 shops. In contrast to depictions of a tranquil and solemn ambiance from past travelers, the bazaar has transformed into a bustling and lively setting. As you navigate its labyrinthine paths, shopkeepers extend warm invitations, their voices echoing in a symphony of various languages. A fundamental aspect of the Grand Bazaar experience is the art of bargaining—a ritual that fosters mutual enjoyment for both sellers and buyers, adding a dynamic energy to the transactions.
The Largest Jewelry Bazaar in the Turkey
The Grand Bazaar stands as the world’s most extensive emporium of precious jewels. To explore its entirety, one must allocate a minimum of three days to this captivating journey. While this might initially sound like an overstatement, the sheer abundance and diversity of shops will soon prove its accuracy.
For those seeking a strategic route through the bazaar, beginning from either the Nuruosmaniye or Kürkçüler gate is recommended. Along the Kalpakçılarbaşı Street that leads to the Nuruosmaniye Gate, you’ll encounter a treasure trove of jewelry shops showcasing the finest gold and exquisite gemstone designs. The temptation to not merely admire but to possess these items might arise, prompting you to explore as many shops as possible. On this street, Kafkas and Fuat Kırgız are renowned jewelers offering exceptional craftsmanship. As you proceed, you’ll chance upon shops specializing in second-hand clocks. Additionally, leather enthusiasts can find pleasure in the well-regarded establishment known as Punto, also situated on this street.
Upon entering the bazaar through the Nuruosmaniye section, veer right at the second junction and continue down the street until its end. Approximately 20 meters ahead, the entrance to the Zincirli Inn will come into view on your right. This inn stands as a paragon of beauty and originality within the Grand Bazaar, echoing the spirit of caravanserais of old. A haven for carpet aficionados awaits within, as the legendary shops of Şişko Osman house a collection of mythical proportions. With the world’s most extensive assembly of carpets, Şişko Osman’s repository is often compared to the grandeur of Damat Ibrahim Pasha Palace, standing as a testament to the artistry of the ages.
Favorite of Famous and Local Designers
Along Yağlıkçılar Street, a myriad of cloth shops await your exploration. While cloth may seem commonplace and readily available, renowned designers like Donna Karan, Galliano, Jean Paul Gaultier, and Rıfat Özbek draw inspiration from visits to these very establishments. If your preference leans towards hand-crafted garments, you’ll discover a treasure trove at Remzi Fırat, located at #13. Additionally, a new extension of this shop called ‘Ethnic City’ can be found on Yorgancılar Street at #14.
For enthusiasts of hand-painted cloth and Ottoman kaftans, a visit to Muhlis Günbattı’s shop on Perdahçılar Street is highly recommended. Here, a diverse assortment of products awaits, including the aforementioned kaftans and carpets. Another historical gem on the same street is Sivaslı Istanbul Yazmacı, one of the bazaar’s oldest establishments. Revered by both local and international designers, this cozy shop houses a rich collection of Anatolian hand-crafted textiles, including textiles, loincloths, and hand-painted fabrics from various corners of Turkey.
Eğin Tekstil, positioned at the entrance of the Örücüler Gate, boasts a legacy spanning 145 years. Within its walls, you’ll find silk textiles, traditional hand-crafted fabrics, hand-painted cloths, and flax beddings—a testament to the shop’s enduring commitment to quality and craftsmanship.
Favorite place for antique lovers
The Old Bedesten segment of the bazaar stands as a haven for aficionados of antiques. Within its confines, one can discover shops showcasing intricate ornaments, sumptuous carpets, and vintage timepieces. Notable among these are the illustrious establishments Şalabi and Ziva Antik, renowned for their offerings.
Should your desire lead you to seek out 22-carat gold earrings, each pair uniquely crafted in Mardin or Diyarbakır style, Mavi Köşe at #11 is a definite must-visit. On the other hand, if your penchant lies with natural stones over gold, Stil Inci beckons. This destination offers a plethora of accessories adorned with an array of natural stones, even affording you the opportunity to have custom pieces designed to your preference.
Further enriching this section, Erdün Collection presents an array of decorative marvels such as lanterns and oil lamps, allowing you to add an air of elegance to your surroundings.
Historical Shops in the Grand Bazaar
While the Grand Bazaar exudes an aura of authenticity, certain shops seamlessly fuse tradition with modernity. A prime example is Derviş, located at #19 on Keseciler Street. Here, an eclectic blend awaits, featuring bathroom accessories, traditional handcrafted textiles, hand-painted cloths, pillowcases, jackets, and shirts sourced from Anatolian villages. This emporium stands as a treasure trove for those seeking authentic souvenirs that carry the essence of the region.
Another establishment, Abdulla, is equally captivating. Their shelves are adorned with an array of bathroom essentials, soaps, towels, loincloths, bedding, and carpets. Adding to this mosaic of offerings is Deli Kız, a boutique that presents an assortment of souvenirs and clothing adorned with Turkish motifs. Notably, they also boast a dedicated children’s section, catering to younger visitors with the same flair for cultural aesthetics.
Taste traditional foods in Grand Bazaar
After your explorations, if fatigue and hunger beckon, worry not – the Grand Bazaar isn’t just a realm of shops; it also houses traditional eateries and cafes. The most renowned among them is Havuzlu Restaurant, celebrated for its generous offerings. Alternatively, on Yağlıkçılar Street, you’ll discover the historic Şark Kahvesi, a sanctuary where you can savor its renowned coffee and replenish your energy. Fes Cafe, Sultan Cafe, and Life Cafe are also bustling hubs within the bazaar, inviting you to unwind and recharge.
Often referred to as ‘Carşı-i Kebir,’ ‘The Big Bazaar,’ ‘The Grand Bazaar,’ or ‘The Closed Box,’ as poet Orhan Veli aptly put it, this haven encompasses a multitude of endeavors, an array of craftsmen and apprentices, treasures of gold and silver, a convergence of tourists and Istanbul’s denizens. Truly, no other place in the world holds a candle to its grandeur.
It’s worth paying attention
You will want to take photos of many things in the Grand Bazaar, so make sure you have a camera with you. Quality photos, quality memories…
If you are visiting the Grand Bazaar for the first time, it will be useful to take note of the street names to remember where you are. It can be very difficult to find a place you want to visit later.
Haggle hard while shopping, we don’t want you to overpay just because you are a tourist.