The Grand Bazaar (or Covered Bazaar, Turkish: Kapalıçarşı ("Covered Bazaar"))
in Istanbul is one of the largest covered markets in the world with more than 58
streets and 4,000 shops, and has between 250,000 and 400,000 visitors daily. It
is well known for its jewelry, pottery, spice, and carpet shops. The bazaar
contains two bedestens (domed masonry structures
built for storage and safe
keeping), the first of which was constructed
between 1455 and 1461 by the order
of Sultan Mehmed the Conqueror.
Inner Bedesten : It was the first building to rise in Kapalıçarşı, actually it
is the Old Bedestan which forms the backbone of the bazaar. The names of the
gates are: Bouquinistes, Hat Shops, Jewelry Shops and Costume Shops.
Sandal Bedesten : It has the most number of domes in Kapalıçarşı. At present it can be accessed through two gates, one is through the main gate and the other is through the Nuruosmaniye district.
Other sections of the Grand Bazaar: The architectural design of the roads making up other sections apart from the two bedestens is not symmetrical and geometrical; it has a scattered nature due to its formation which took many centuries with new parts being added.
Istanbul's Grand Bazaar (Kapali Çarsi, or Covered Market) is Turkey's largest
covered market offering excellent shopping: beautiful Turkish carpets, glazed
tiles and pottery, copper and brassware, apparel made of leather, cotton and
wool, meerschaum pipes, alabaster bookends and ashtrays, and all sorts of other
A dozen restaurants in the bazaar allow you to have lunch in the midst of your shopping. Note that the bazaar is closed entirely on Sunday, as is the Egyptian (Spice) Market.
There are thousands of things you can find and purchase in the Grand Bazaar.
The gate that one usually enters into the bazaar is called "Nuruosmaniye Gate"
that means "the light of the Ottomans". That takes you directly to a shining
street full of jewelry stores. Jewelry is one of the things could be purchased.
Gold prices are not low but due to the lower workmanship costs, you may find a
huge variety of gold, precious stones and semi precious stones like sapphire,
ruby or emeralds at reasonable prices. Bargaining is always possible. Before you
purchase, it's recommended to ask more than 3-4 shops so that you can get the
best price. The main street goes all the way up till the other exit and it's all
full of jewelry stores....
Other than those of higher value items, there are good leather shops in the Bazaar. Leather could The Kalpakcilar (Main)Street) be found in a han on the left hand side of the main street called "Leather Goods Section". There are also good ceramic items, wall plates and good tile plates. You may also find silverware, copperware, fake brand t-shirts like Tommy Hilfiger as well as good Istanbul or Turkey t-shirts all around the bazaar. There are also belly-dancers costumes and traditional folkloric costumes. As you walk into deeper sides of the bazaar, you may explore heavens of religious icons, antique or used watches or old pages of calligraphies. One cheaper thing is the amber stone. You may find beautiful amber-stone work in the bazaar.