Easily a tourist magnet, the Grand Bazaar is deemed as one of the largest covered markets in the world. It’s located in the Fatih neighborhood and sits between Beyazit and Nuruosmaniye mosques. It contains 61 streets, alleys and 4,000 shops. This was finished in 1461 under Mehmet the Conqueror.
Navigating all the streets will leave you overwhelmed so it’s best to focus on your area of interest. However, if exploration is more your speed, you’d naturally enjoy weaving in and out of the streets discovering charming goods. Each street is named distinctively by the goods it carries making it easier for buyers to know where to go.
This fascinating labyrinth of shops is where you’ll catch glimpses of the local culture. You’ll pass by sellers drinking their Turkish coffee and offering it to welcome the visitors. Enjoy the sights of the world-famous handmade vibrant carpets, colorful lamps, jewelry, books, furniture and lots of food. The smell of enchanting spices lingers in the air. The interesting pieces of trinkets will catch your attention as you delve deeper the maze and look at the rich textiles and antiques available.
The Grand Bazaar is in close proximity with the Hagia Sophia and the Blue Mosque making it an easy stop in the center of the city. Although the Grand Bazaar have 21 access points, you’re likely to enter one among the five major entrances. It has five main gates, Beyazıt Kapısı (accessed through Beyazıt Square), Çarşıkapı (near the Beyazıt tram stop), Nuruosmaniye Kapısı (by the Çemberlitaş tram stop), Örücüler Kapısı (toward the Eminönü tram stop), or Mahmut Paşa Kapısı.
Whether you’re visiting to look around or purchase souvenirs, The Grand Bazaar must be a stopover on your list. Its colorful and lively atmosphere will score you plenty of beautiful photos as the market itself will leave you mesmerized. It’s one of the most exciting things to do in Istanbul, shopping at this captivating half a century-old market rich with history!
Beyazıt, Kalpakçılar Cd. No:22, 34126 Fatih/İstanbul, Turkey
All shops in the Grand Bazaar open from Monday to Saturday 09:00 - 19:00. It is closed on Sundays.