Grand Bazaar in Istanbul: Alleys Full of History

Grand Bazaar in Istanbul: Alleys Full of History

Table of Contnets

Information about Grand Bazaar in Istanbul

Talking about Istanbul's Grand Bazaar is an attempt to realize those latent secrets scattered among the antique market's alleys, secrets that attract tens of thousands of visitors from all over the world every day.

'It is the heart, brain and soul of Istanbul', with these words, Nobel Prize-winner, poet Joseph Brodsky, described the Grand Bazaar in his book 'A Journey to Istanbul' as a city within a city built in the past.

The Grand Bazaar: The World's Most Visited Historical Place

"The World's Most Visited Historical Place" is how The Times magazine described the Grand Bazaar in a classification of the most visited historical places in the world. According to the study, the market has 91,250,000 visitors per year, and some other studies estimate the number at about 400,000 visitors per day!

Grand Bazaar in Istanbul

Located in the Beyazit region, the heart of Istanbul, nearby Hagia Sophia and the Blue Mosque, the Grand Bazaar is located along with a number of famous sights.

At the Grand Bazaar, you'll experience a unique shopping experience you won't find in Istanbul's grand malls. The Grand Bazaar spans an area of 40,000 square meters. It got its name because it is covered with arches-shaped ceilings, forming as an architectural and artistic masterpiece and drawing the attention of visitors.

The market is surrounded by 11 main doors, including Beyazit, Mahmutpasa Nuruosmaniye, Oruculer, Carsi and Takkeciler…

Read more About the best 20 malls in Istanbul

Grand Bazaar: An endless Maze of Antique Alleys

As you enter the market, you will feel in a maze of alleys, so you should be guided by a professional tourist guide or an accurate map of the market entrances and exits.

Grand Bazaar has about 2,500 diverse stores, spreading over 60 streets and employing approximately 26,000 people, making it Istanbul's largest market.

Grand Bazaar: An endless Maze of Antique Alleys

Grand Bazaar in Istanbul: A Window to Deep History

Istanbul's Grand Bazar is still unique in being one of the oldest trade centres globally, with 550 years of history.

The first closed part of the market was built in the mid-14th century by order of Sultan Mehmet Fatih in 1461. It took nearly four years to build and was expanded by Sultan Suleyman Kanuni in the 16th century.

the history of Grand Bazaar in Istanbul

The market was a stock exchange centre during the Ottoman Period. But it was exposed to many fires and earthquakes that caused much damage, especially the earthquake in 1894. After these disasters, it was restored several times to maintain its architecture.

Grand Bazaar in Istanbul: Coffee Fragrance and Love Story

As you enter the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul, you won't leave it until you taste Turkish coffee. The smells of ground coffee fly, penetrating the old alleys and the crowds of passers-by and dominating other spice scents.

Covered Market in Istanbul

Several small shops have been established, spreading across the market to meet the requirements of coffee lovers. Coffee supplies are displayed, including cups, jugs, copper pots, and kettles.

It is noteworthy that the Turks knew coffee in 1543 at the hands of the Ottoman governor of Yemen, who used to drink it there and brought it to Istanbul when his reign was over, where it gained popularity in Turkey and moved to Europe.

Grand Bazaar Market Istanbul

Coffee experts point out that the difference in taste between Turkish coffee and other coffee is due to the preparation method and roasting period.

Turkish coffee is famous for its rich foam, attractive scent and relatively heavy taste, with acidic flavour due to the good brewing of beans.

It is also distinguished from the rest of the coffee by the roasting period and the grinding process that produces a soft brown powder.

Read more about Turkish Cuisine

Facts and Figures about The Grand Bazaar in Istanbul

Date of Construction

14th century

Expansion Date

16th century

Total Area

40,000 m2

Number of Main Doors


Number of Streets and Alleys


Number of Stores


Number of Market Workers

26,000 people

Number of Visitors Per Year

91 million and 250 thousand

Cost of Entry


Visiting Times

9 am to 8 pm


Sundays and National Holidays


Shops and Goods at the Grand Bazaar

In ancient times, the Grand Bazaar had many handicrafts, and the owners of each craft would come together somewhere in the market. There were streets selling leather and furniture, and others for delicious traditional Turkish desserts such as "Turkish Lokum."

Shops and Goods at the Grand Bazaar

Each alley is named as per the profession, for example, Gold Street, Copper Street, Carpenters Street and Blacksmith Street.

Sellers usually attract customers and tourists through funny methods to convince them of buying gifts such as antiques and sweets.

Gold street

Moreover, they speak to visitors in their languages due to meeting them over the years. Therefore, when you purchase something at the Grand Bazaar, you'd better bargain with the seller, which will save you a good amount.

Istanbul Markets

The Grand Bazaar offers special and distinctive types of purchases that you rarely find elsewhere, with grand bazaar featuring the following goods:

  • Handmade household utensils
  • Home carpets and ornamental carpets
  • Pottery and copper tools
  • Traditional Turkish desserts
  • Gems
  • Original leather
  • Gifts of all kinds
  • Ancient artefacts
  • Fabrics
  • Gold
  • Silver
  • Spices

Turkish Delight

In addition, the market offers different items that meet the needs of tourists. It is worth noting that many shops in the market have turned into small archaeological museums.

Ancient artefacts

The Grand Bazaar: One of Istanbul's Most Expensive Districts

The prices of shops within the Grand Bazaar are among the most expensive spots in Istanbul and possibly in Turkey as well, due to their archaeological value and the heavy tourist turnout. Some shops within the market have expanded their activities and have business relationships with international production companies. They sell special historical and heritage leather clothing to be used in the documentary and historical films. This is also true of some Turkish historical series that get most of what they need from this market.

The Grand Bazaar: One of Istanbul's Most Expensive Districts

It is well known, for example, that a shop, 155 years old, is handled by major Hollywood production companies to import clothing and fabrics to be used in the film business. Turkish production companies are also buying from it for their famous series such as Ertugrul!

Grand Bazaar Location on Google Maps


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Edited by Safaraq Tourism

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