Istanbul’s Grand Bazaar

Grand Bazaar 400
Busy Bazaar
Photo by: Alaskan Dude, Creative Commons

For most people, traveling means going to places that are quite different from what they are accustomed to. Traveling opens one’s eyes to other cultures, thus widening one’s understanding of the world. Going to a new place changes a person, and most people remind themselves of their experiences by scoring souvenirs from the destination.

Istanbul, Turkey is home to one of the world’s oldest and largest covered markets. Istanbul’s Grand Bazaar is quite popular among locals and visitors alike, as almost every imaginable item is available under its roof. More than a thousand shops in almost 60 streets make this market more exciting than any other. About 31,000 square meters of retail heaven makes sure that no visitor comes home without a souvenir.

Also called Kapali Carsi, which stands for covered marker, Istanbul’s Grand Bazaar is home to a smorgasbord of items produced by skilled artisans. Such items are the perfect souvenirs to take home, because they display the Turkish craftsmanship in details.

While Istanbul’s Grand Bazaar is quite popular today, it is interesting to note that the market goes a long way back in history. The market opened in 1461, and has enticed countless customers to explore its wonders. The domed bedestens in the market was built between 1455 and 1461.

The 16th century saw the expansion of Istanbul’s Grand Bazaar. However, an earthquake prompted restoration in the structure in 1894. Going to the market is now an awe-inspiring experience, as one is faced with the fact that a functioning and thriving structure is now centuries old. Not many markets can give travelers that sense of wonder.

Istanbul’s Grand Bazaar is known for selling spices, jewelry, pottery, and carpets. The labyrinthine complex is a pleasure to explore, because there is so much to see—even if one is just window-shopping. Visitors who wish to shop will get to test their bargaining skills, thus making the experience here even more memorable.

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