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Grand Bazaar, Istanbul

4.0 stars


A different type of shopping

Unlike the Grand Bazaar, I love hanging out in the Spice Bazaar. The smell alone is enough to keep me coming back, and the bright colours on display are wonderfully attractive. The prices are reasonable, and the shopkeepers, who cater to locals just as much as tourists, are a bit more toned down and less aggressive than in other markets. It's not just spices that are for sale, though - one of my favourite aspects of the Spice Bazaar is the wide variety of "homemade" Turkish delight, in unusual flavours and combinations. Pretty much all the vendors are willing to let you try free samples, too. Wonderful! [more ]

Shopping at the Grand Bazaar

Istanbul’s huge Grand Bazaar is a series of covered arcades which house thousands of shops and stalls tucked into the arches. I loved the architecture of arches and domes with beautiful tiling and the smells and sounds are really exotic. There are some great restaurants and cafes to take a break from your shopping and also a fantastic spice market. This is one of the largest shopping areas in the world and you need a good few hours or ideally half a day to even scratch the surface of this place.

The bazaar has so many beautiful things to buy, the only problem will be bringing it all home! I loved the ceramics, particularly the brightly painted decoration plates, the carpets, tea sets and jewellery and thought the prices were really reasonable once you started haggling. I enjoyed the whole experience of shopping there and would definitely recommend it.

If you want to buy anything at the Grand Bazaar you must haggle - that’s part of the fun and the shop keepers expect it! They will try to charge you a huge amount because you are a tourist, but walk away if you feel it is too much and they will tend to drop their price pretty quickly. I always compared it to the UK and how much an equivalent thing would be there and then tried to get a good discount on that price so both the seller and the buyer are happy! [more ]

Touristy but necessary to see

I have to admit that as a resident of Turkey, the Grand Bazaar is not my favourite place to shop or even to walk around. The shopkeepers are unnecessarily aggressive, the prices are exorbitant, and the whole thing smacks of tourist trap. I can name about a hundred other places in Istanbul where you can get better deals and have a more relaxing time. However, that's not the point - the point is that if you're coming to Istanbul, you have to go to the Grand Bazaar, end of story. It's one of the most famous attractions in the city, and I will admit that the labrynthine building is quite beautiful, if you can ignore the pesky shopkeepers long enough to have a look. So yes, I would say you should go, but just to say you've been there. My advice is to make your purchase elsewhere - anywhere else, really. [more ]

the Turk's bazaar

I’ve enjoyed shopping in this bazaar on a number of occasions. It attracts mostly Turks, so if you want to experience the way locals shop in bazaars these days, this is a good start. The Beyoglu Is Merkezi comprises three floors in a building on Istiklal Avenue. The shops offer a variety of cheap clothing, sometimes with major labels. Some of the clothes are here (and cheap) because there is a manufacturing defect, so before making a purchase I always give the clothes a good once over. In any event, I’ve come away from here with some great finds for great prices. Most recently I found a high-quality umbrella (a winter necessity in Istanbul) for a fraction of the price I would have paid at a department store. [more ]

The Multi-Colored Spice Bazaar

Situated in Eminonu a unique shopping experience can be had browsing the Spice Bazaar. It is a truly fascinating place that attracts a great variety of people due to the freshness, quality, and (perhaps most importantly) the diversity of spices available. It’s an important place for everyday shoppers and even Istanbul’s top chefs. I particularly like wandering around the bazaar to take in the multi-colored, multi-textured spice displays. It’s a feast for the eyes (bad pun intended). In addition to spices, the bazaar also sells many items which cater more to tourists, such as apple tea and Turkish delights. [more ]

Istanbul's Grand (Covered) Bazaar

The Grand Bazaar is a unique and necessary tourist attraction. Although you need to endure countless shopkeepers calling “yes please”, “may I help you”, “can I show you a Turkish carpet”, and similar such phrases, the experience is still worthwhile. The bazaar operates much as it did when it was originally built in 1400s. Modern malls seem to share many similarities with the bazaar; however, I haven’t found the ubiquitous and essential “anchor” tenants that one would find in a contemporary mall. Its name in Turkish is actually “covered bazaar” and in fact it is one of the largest covered bazaars in the world…certainly the biggest in Turkey. If you do decide to buy a carpet (or anything for that matter), make sure you put your best bargaining skills to use. Don’t buy from the first store you visit, and test out the “Is that your final price?” while walking away from the shopkeeper.

Also, for me one of the best reasons to visit the Grand Bazaar is because of its architectural qualities. However, you have to look up to properly appreciate this. The bazaar was built prior to electricity, but was cleverly designed such that during daylight one can shop and move around without any problem. In addition to their functional purpose, I find the barrel vaulting and corresponding window system to be quite beautiful. [more ]

Grand Bazaar

If you ever thought about going to a real Arabic style market, then this is your opportunity of meeting the greatest medieval market.
The Grand Bazaar is also the largest covered market in Turkey I enjoyed myself going from one shop to the next one looking for some weird items or something one hundred percent Turkish. I love markets like this one since they sell things you would never find somewhere else. Bargaining is very important, we went to the market three times, and the first time they kind of forced us into buying, they even offered us a meal while we were looking for some stuff, we gladly took the meal and of course there was nothing else to do but to buy from that shop.
Really Istanbul has been one of my greatest travel experiences. [more ]

The Spice Market

The Spice Market is a wicked place to visit especially if you have a stomach ache, headache, or some other type of pain.  It’s a huge market so you will need a good couple of hours to have a look around, longer if you are polite to all the people that try and drag you in to their shops!  The market offers natural remedies for all sorts of complaints.  I got dragged in quite a few shops and was sat down drinking random potions before I even knew it but it was an interesting day out and I wasn’t hassled as much as I was at the Grand Bazaar although I did come back with quite a few different remedies but they worked really well.  Most of the market is devoted to herbs and spices but there are some other stalls there too selling clothes, kitchen wear and jewellery. [more ]

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