Updated Date : 08.03.2023
The oldest and the biggest shopping mall in the world is the Grand Bazaar of Istanbul. Hard to confirm that, but definitely, the most colorful market in the world is the Grand Bazaar. It was the order of Sultan Mehmet the 2nd after conquering Istanbul to support the Hagia Sophia economically. In the 15th century, it had two buildings that the roofs were covered and highly secured because of the goods inside. When we came to the 19th century, it had 64 different streets, 26 gates, and more than 4000 thousand shops. When we make simple math, roughly 8000 people work there, and the numbers of the daily visitors reach half a million people on some days of the year. Today, different market sections focus on actual items, meaning the gold section, silver section, antique section, and even a section for the 2nd handbooks. The most famous saying in the market is "Come to the Grand Bazaar. If you find the gate that you entered in, you become a traveler. But if you can't, then you become a merchant."
Visit Information: The Grand Bazaar is open every day except Sundays and the national/religious holidays between 09.00-19.00. There is no entrance fee for the market. Guided tours are free with Istanbul E-pass.
How to get there:
From old city hotels:The Grand Bazaar is within walking distance to many of the hotels from the old city hotels.
From the Taksim Hotels: Take the funicular from the Taksim Square to Kabatas, From the Kabatas station, take the T1 to "Beyazit - Grand" Bazaar station. The Grand Bazaar is within walking distance of the station.
Many of the travelers think Grand Bazaar and the Spice Market are the same. But the reality is a little different. Both of these markets were constructed with the same purpose - economic support for the mosques of Istanbul. While the Grand Bazaar supported the Hagia Sophia, Spice Market supported the New Mosque, which was constructed in the 17th century. Spice Market or Egyptian Market has its name for natural reasons. It was the place to find spices, and the majority of the goods and sellers were initially from Egypt. Today the market has no connection to the mosque, and it is one of the best places to understand Turkish Cuisine.
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Kurukahveci Mehmet Efendi
Visit Information: The Spice Market is open every day except the national/first days of religious holidays between 09.00-19.00. There is no entrance fee for the market. Istanbul E-pass provides guided tours to Spice Bazaar with professional licensed English-speaking guide.
How to get there:
From the old city hotels: Take the T1 tram to Eminonu station. From the station, The Spice Market is within walking distance.
From the Taksim hotels: Take the funicular from the Taksim Square to Kabatas. From the Kabatas station, take the T1 to Eminonu station. From the station, The Spice Market is within walking distance.
Located on the side of the Blue Mosque, Arasta Bazaar was constructed as a part of the Blue Mosque complex in the 17th century. The primary purpose of the market was creating funds by the rents of the shops to upkeep the massive mosque complex. The majority of the mosques in Istanbul have a need that was initially financing the free services of the mosques up to the Republic Era. After the republic, most shops were bought by people and turned out to have no connection to the mosques. Arasta Bazaar has lots of shops focusing on different products and still serves its guests.
Visit Information: Arasta Bazaar is open every day between 09.00-19.00. There is no entrance fee for the Arasta Bazaar.
How to get there:
From the old city hotels: Arasta Bazaar is within walking distance from most hotels in the area.
From the Taksim hotels: Take the funicular from the Taksim Square to Kabatas. From the Kabatas station, take the T1 to Sultanahmet station. From the Sultanahmet station, Arasta Bazaar is within walking distance.
The Final Word
We suggest you visit these three main historic bazaars of Istanbul. You will find diversity in these bazaars. So manage your time and pay a visit to enjoy the vibrance of the typical Istanbul bazaar.