Grand Bazaar Istanbul
Imagine a market with more than 500 years of history, 64 streets, 22 gates, and more than 6,000 shops. Not only a shopping mall but also a manufacturing center. A place that you can lose yourself in history and mystery. That is the most significant and oldest market in the world—the famous Grand Bazaar of Istanbul .
Istanbul E-pass includes Grand Bazaar Tour with English speaking Professional Guide. For details, please check "Hours & Meeting".
What time does the Grand Bazaar open?
Bazaar is open every day except Sundays and national/religious holidays from 08.30 until 18.30. There is no entrance fee or reservation. Guided tour of Bazaar is free with Istanbul E-pass .
How to get to the Grand Bazaar
From the old city hotels; Take the T1 tram to Beyazit Grand Bazaar station. From the station, the Grand Bazaar of Istanbul is within walking distance.
From the Taksim hotels; Take the funicular from Taksim Square to Kabatas. From Kabatas, take the T1 tram to Beyazit Grand Bazaar station. From the station, the Bazaar is within walking distance.
From the Sultanahmet hotels; The Bazaar is within walking distance to the majority of the hotels in the area.
The history of the Grand Bazaar of Istanbul
The market's history goes back to the 15th century. After conquering the city of Istanbul, Sultan Mehmet the 2nd gave an order for a market. The reason is an Ottoman tradition. As a tradition, after conquering a city, the city's biggest temple would be converted to a mosque. The biggest temple of the city before the Turks was the famous Hagia Sophia . As a result, the Hagia Sophia became a mosque in the 15th century, and the Sultan gave orders for lots of attachment to Hagia Sophia. The extensions include universities, schools, free soup houses. And everything should be free in a complex like this. For this reason, they needed much money. With the Sultan's order, the Bazaar was constructed, and the shops' rents were sent to the Hagia Sophia.
In the 15th century, the Grand Bazaar of Istanbul only had two covered areas. Bedesten , meaning a place they would sell valuable items such as jewelry, silk, or spices, were these places' names. These two sections are still visible today. Later on, with the population rises and the city's trade importance becomes more obvious, they made lots of attachments to the Bazaar. In the 19th century, the Bazaar turns into what we see today.
Today in the market, you can still see different businesses in different sections. Han is another word that you will see a lot in the market, which means a concrete building that the people are focusing on only in one business. There are 24 hans in the market today. The majority of them lost the original identity, but some still function with an authentic purpose. For example, if you can find Kalcilar Han , you would see how they are melting silver with the world's oldest method. Or if you can find Kizlaragasi Han , you would the masters dealing with shaping gold.
Today in the Grand Bazaar, you can find anything except fruits and vegetables, says the majority working in there. From traditional handicraft to modern furniture, from exotic spices to conventional Turkish delight, is waiting for travelers from all over the world.
Finding the product is not a challenge in the Grand Bazaar with its more than 6,000 shops. The question is how to buy them. Should we haggle with the prices, or do they have set prices? Most of the shops in the market don't have price tags. That means you have to haggle. How much haggling are we talking about? No one knows the answer to this question for sure. We generally say haggle for a price that you think is good for you.
All in all, this is the fun part of shopping that makes it an exciting experience. Another vital piece of advice other than shopping in the Grand Bazaar of Istanbul is a culinary experience . There are more than 6,000 shops in the market. That means at least 12.000 thousand hungry people ready for lunch every day. The rule is simple in Turkey about food. That has to be perfect. For this reason, maybe the best local restaurants in the old city are always close to the Grand Bazaar or in it.
Things to do near the Grand Bazaar Istanbul within walking distance
Suleymaniye Mosque: The biggest Ottoman mosque in the city of Istanbul
Spice Bazaar: The 2nd biggest markee in Istanbul after Grand Bazaar
Corlulu Ali Pasa Madrasa: The most authentic coffee house in Istanbul located in an 18th-century university.
The Final Word
If you have a knack for looking for the best products in the market, the Grand Bazar is the best place in Istanbul with its majestic area. Being the biggest covered market globally, when it comes to looking for Turkish souvenirs and high-quality products, the sky is the limit. Don't forget to have a look at Turkish rugs, exotic spices, and famous Turkish delights.