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The Grand Bazaar (Kapalı Çarşı)

If you are the type of person who like shopping, discovering or turning upside down the historical places, Grand Bazaar is a perfect place for you.

Grand Bazaar is definitely the place that you can loose yourself while you are discovering and shopping inside. It is hauntingly beautiful, enormously big and reflecting the historical bazaar culture with its colourful streets and sales men.

Despite recurrent earthquakes and fires, the bazaar grew and thrived, and was soon famous across Europe as the Mecca of shopping and it feels like you are travelling back in time.

The Grand Bazaar is one of the largest and oldest covered markets in the world, contains 61 covered streets, 4400 shops with each having its own area, 40 hans, 2200 rooms, 19 fountains and hamams. Began its construction in 1455 and opened in 1461 shortly after the Ottoman conquest of Constantinapole under the direction of the Fatih Sultan Mehmet and grew in time with additional shops.  The bazaar was vastly enlarged in the 16th century, during the reign of Sultan Suleiman and in 1894 underwent a major restoration after an earthquake.

When you step inside, you’ll see that the thousands of stores that are lined next to each other.

It is a little bit overwhelming and confusing so I will give you some directions and names to find your war easily through the information. If you want to buy some jewellery, need to find Kalpakcilar Caddesi and Kuyumcular Carsisi. But if you looking for Carpets, ask Sahaflar Caddesi to the locals and for the leathers and casual clothes go directly to the Bit Pazari.

One of the great pleasures of visiting Bazaar is superb shopping options from leather goods, jewellery, carpets, fabrics to spices. And it’s not just the act of buying, especially chatting with sellers that make the Grand Bazaar experience so special and unique.

There’s a lot to see inside so I would recommend to spare some time to digging, allow at least three hours for your visit; some travellers spend almost two days! This is the kind of place when even the floors, doors and walls have stories to tell.

When here, be sure to use doorways to discover hidden Hans because some of them are really marvellous and must see places. Drink some Turkish tea during your breaks and compare price after price and make the perfect deal.

It fell on hard times in the 19th century, however the market still functions as a hub for its traditional traders. Obviously, you can’t go back home empty handed. You’ll want to buy something to take back with you—either to give as a gift to a friend or to keep for yourself

Today, an estimated 400,000 people visit the market daily. Over 27,000 people are employed within its walls and it is listed No.1 among world’s most-visited tourist attractions with 91,250,000 visitors in 2014.

The cistern is in the Sultanahmet area and just few steps away from the Hagia Sophia, Blue Mosque and Topkapi Palace. There are lots of restaurants and cafes nearby the cistern in case you need a break!


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