Anything you can imagine except for that flying carpet…
A must-see site in Istanbul, Grand Bazaar is one of the largest and oldest covered markets in the world. Some eye opening statistics for the bazaar: the market sits on a forty thousand square meter area (~431 thousand square feet). More than 3,500 shops can be accessed via 64 streets inside. More than 40 thousand people come daily for work here. And on a regular day, the market attracts 300-500 thousand visitors. This bazaar is one of the first sites built by Mehmet the Conqueror after 1453. And it’s still up and running, livelier than ever. Now, isn’t that something!
One could argue that the Grand Bazaar was one of the first prototypes of today’s shopping malls. And that would be true. Whatever the argument, the main activity in this market is shopping. And some bargaining goes hand in hand.
Our first tip about bargaining is that you should always negotiate, as it is expected and the starting price is adjusted based on that expectation, if you know what we mean. Second tip is that you should always window shop first to get an impression on the range of prices for an item before you start negotiating for something as well as getting an impression on the seller. Third tip is that most guides, and we underline the word most, which take you to a shop will go back there to collect their commission if you purchase an item. And fourth tip is that once you start negotiating you should be nice, courteous but focused on getting that price down to whatever the item is worth to you.
What to buy depends on what you like and what your budget is. Many come here to buy a carpet or jewelry but you can find anything from t-shirts, evil eyes to glassware and antiques. If you’re buying a large priced item, we suggest you go to shops that come recommended for their fair pricing and service.
By the way the Bazaar District SoUL Walk takes you from the Spice Market to the Grand Bazaar so you should check it out if you want to get an insider’s view to this neighborhood and see some of the best streets, alleys, buildings and Hans of the market.
The bazaar is open every day except Sundays from 9am to 7pm.
We like: Iç Bedesten (large vaulted structure that was originally built by the Byzantines)