Grand Bazaar in Istanbul
What is interesting for tourists Istanbul Grand Bazaar? Where he is and how to get? What hours of work? What is worth buying here, and from what is better to refrain? Read the answers in our article and see the Grand Bazaar Card.
At the time of updating this article in June 2021, the Grand Bazaar is open to visitors. He was closed due to coronavirus, then opened again, but with shortened work schedule. Then the schedule did the opposite even wider than it was before Covid. Details below in this article.
Grand Bazaar (in Turkish "Kapal&# 305;&# 231; AR&# 351;&# 305; ") – This is a huge covered market in the center of Istanbul, existing for 550 years. On an area of 31,000 square meters, more than 4,000 stores are located. This is not a single building, but a whole city quarter covered in the roof.
It is believed that the Grand Bazaar is visited daily about 300,000 people. And a year here are 90 million visitors. Where did you get such a digit? To say difficult. The fact is that there are no visitors at the entrance, they do not sell tickets here. May be considered using the video camera system.
There are no large stores on the Grand Bazar, only long rows of small shops. It is necessary to bargain. Most merchants do not even have price tags on products. Therefore, most tourists go here soon as an exhibition than shopping. And see what! But first things first.
How to get
The easiest way to get to the metro station Istanbul. Recall that the Underground Metro Lines, and high-speed trams, and even the funiculine. To get to the Grand Bazaar, you need to get to the stop "Beyaz&# 305; T-Kapal&# 305;&# 231; AR&# 351;&# 305; " on the high-speed tram line T1.
Metro map and prices, see our article "Metro Istanbul".
After leaving the tram car, get to the tram stop, from which two outputs. Tourists ask: what output to choose? Answer: Anyone around each of them has its own entrance to the Grand Bazaar.
Next will see the trading rows on one side of the street, go to them. Going closer, see the arch, it looks the same in both cases, see the photo on the right, click on the photo to enlarge. Come inside and start inspection.
The second option – by taxi. It is difficult to say what the price of the trip will be depeted of distance. Tariffs See our article "Taxi in Turkey".
At the moment (2021) works all week. Once did not work on Sundays, but now thirst for sales took his.
However, during religious holidays, the Grand Bazar is closed. These are Ramazan Bayram holidays (ID al-Fitr) and Kurban Bayram (ID al-Adha). In secular holidays work in normal mode. Full holiday calendar See our article "Holidays in Turkey".
Grand Bazaar Map
Grand Bazaar is very big. We publish a big resolution card. Click on a thumbnail below to view a full-size map. Use the approach so that the names are clearly visible.
If you are going to actively use the card, then download it in PDF format.
Different shopping rows have their own specialization. On the map Specialization is shown in color: yellow – gold, green – carpets, blue – fabric clothes, pink – souvenirs, light brown – leather products.
A bit of history
In 1453, Turkish Sultan Mehmed II Constantinople took Constantinople with his army. Mighty once the Byzantine Empire ceased to exist, and the Omman Turks renamed the city to Istanbul and made their capital.
Naturally, the Turks needed a big and comfortable place to trade. Sultan Mehmet built near the palace building for commerce fabrics. Building built by 1460. So the history of the Grand Bazaar began.
Sultan Suleiman I magnificent built next door to another building for commerce fabrics, and trade moved there. Old building began to use for trade of luxury objects. In the vicinity of these buildings, small markets and shopping streets with other specializations were formed.
In the 1600s, all these markets merged together. The famous historian Evia Chelaby writes in 1638 that the Grand Bazar consisted of 3,000 stores. Presumably, the area and dimensions from those times almost did not change.
Of course, in the history of the Grand Bazaar there were not only years of prosperity, but also disasters. The number of major fires for the history of the Grand Bazaar historians cannot be calculated – there were about two dozen. And each time the market was completely restored.
The last reconstruction took place in 1980. An interesting point that all advertising was removed during the reconstruction. And still advertising posters on the Grand Bazar are prohibited. And this is for the better, because only adds color and gives the feeling of antiquity.
What to buy on the Grand Bazaar?
Main specializations: carpets, souvenirs, jewelry, clothing, leather products, luxury and bauble items.
What of this is worth buying tourists? It is hard to say. The fact is that the prices on the Grand Bazar are often overestimated. Need to navigate prices. Some things can be sold here at regular prices, some clearly doubling.
About what and where it is profitable to buy in Turkey and prices for gifts and souvenirs, read our detailed review "What to bring from Turkey".
Price tags here are only in Turkish lies, however, most merchants take dollars and euros from tourists, but on the most advantageous course. Better to pay lies. Actual course of Turkish Lyra, see our article "Money in Turkey".
Here go like an exhibition. Especially interesting gold – hundreds of rings, bracelets and baubles of any shapes and sizes. See the photo gallery below, click on the photo to enlarge. And after the gallery, let’s talk about several important points.
– Try to come to the Grand Bazaar on a weekday and in the morning, people will be much smaller;
– Many tourists are afraid that the merchants will be enough for their hands or behave in Hamski in other ways. No! There is nothing like this here is a very cultural place. Traders offer goods only orally and unobtrusively;
– on the Grand Bazaar a huge problem with the toilets! As of 2020, the entire market is only 5 toilets. And find it difficult. Now the administration in the process of solving this problem. Go to the toilet in advance!
– Since the place is a crowd, then do not forget about security. Hide money and documents in internal pockets. Read our article "What is impossible to tourists in Turkey";
– Before planning purchases, think about – can they take them out of the country, do they fall under prohibitions and restrictions. Read our review "What can and cannot be taken from Turkey";
– Change money advise in advance. There are exchange points on the Grand Bazar, but the courses are bad, and finding these exchangers is difficult. Read our article "Where and how to change money in Turkey";
– To better navigate in prices during a visit, use our Turkish Lyra Calculator.
Good walks and purchases on the Grand Bazar, and read our interesting articles about Istanbul and Turkey (List of articles below).