Istanbul Grand Bazaar (Kapalicarsi)

Exploring the Vibrant Bazaars of Istanbul: A Shopper’s Guide

Istanbul, a city found between two continents, is the confluence of different civilizations, historical backgrounds and more importantly markets! From the aromatic spice-laden lanes of the Spice Bazaar to the antique paradise that is Grand Bazaar will satisfy one’s shopping experience. We will take you on a journey through vibrant bazaars of Istanbul, complete with tips and insights to help you make your shopping experiences unforgettable whether you are planning for Turkey travel or just indulging in a day dream about it.

The Grand Bazaar Inside

The Grand Bazaar Inside

1. The Grand Bazaar: A Maze of Treasures

The Grand Bazaar is where we start, being one of the world’s largest covered markets and dating back to the 15th century. With about 61 streets hosting over 3,000 stores in its labyrinthine hallways; it’s very easy to get lost in here. You can find anything from Turkish jewelry and pottery to rich fabrics and beautiful Turkish carpets here. Keep in mind that bargaining is part of this experience so don’t be afraid to negotiate for a better deal.

Pro Tip: Beat the crowds by going early in the morning, normally before noon when people begin arriving at around 9AM thus avoiding too many other visitors.

 

Istanbul Spice Bazaar

Istanbul Spice Bazaar

2. The Spice Bazaar: A Feast for the Senses

The Spice Bazaar or Mısır Çarşısı as it is locally known, is the second largest enclosed market in Istanbul, and just a short walk from the Grand Bazaar. On entry, your nostrils are filled with the smell of cinnamon, saffron and many other spices. Apart from spices you will get nuts of different varieties, dried fruits, Turkish delight and herbal teas. It’s a great place to pick up some edible souvenirs or gifts.

Pro Tip: Do not leave before you have tasted Turkish Delight and Baklava from one of the numerous vendors here; they usually give you one piece to taste before buying.

 

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Arasta Bazaar

Arasta Bazaar

3. Arasta Bazaar: A Quiet Escape

Arasta Bazaar is located behind the Blue Mosque, which provides a less crowded shopping experience unlike its more famous counterparts. It’s smaller than other bazaars but no less captivating as there are shops that sell traditional Turkish handicrafts such as hand-painted ceramics and textiles. The bazaar also houses the Mosaic Museum where parts of grand Byzantine palace can be seen.

Pro Tip: Visit shops that sell hand-made Turkish lamps. Their intricate designs coupled with colourful glass add an exotic touch to any home décor.

 

 

Sahaflar Çarşısı

Sahaflar Çarşısı

4. Sahaflar Çarşısı: Book Lovers’ Heaven

Hidden near the Grand Bazaar in Beyazıt Square, Sahaflar Çarşısı, the old book bazaar is a place that every book lover should visit. The historical market goes back to the Byzantine era and was restored after being gutted by fire during the 1950s. There are rare manuscripts as well as old maps and books in different languages. It is a quieter part of town where one can feel that history whispers through rows of ancient books.

Pro Tip: In addition, some sellers have fascinating stories about how their books were found or procured hence making your purchase more memorable.

 

Galata Bridge

Galata Bridge

5. Galata Bridge: For the Sunset Shopper

Galata Bridge isn’t exactly a market but it’s worth visiting especially at sunset for an unforgettable shopping experience. Roasted chestnuts are sold by street vendors who also have handmade jewelry and accessories at affordable prices. You’ll be amazed by what you see as dusk falls with its backdrop being the Golden Horn while you do your shopping.

Pro Tip: It’s actually such a good place to get a simit (Turkish bagel) from a street vendor, take in the view and watch day turn into night.

 

 

Bazaars of Istanbul

Bazaars of Istanbul

Shopping at Istanbul’s bazaars means more than purchasing items; rather it is about immersing oneself in local culture and history. Each market has its own unique appeal as well as hidden gems awaiting discovery. So, wear comfortable shoes, keep your camera at the ready, and dive into the vibrant market life of Istanbul together. Happy shopping, and don’t forget to savor every moment of your Turkish adventure!

 

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