Greg & Tracy - 2016 Europe & Asia travel blog

The Grand Bazaar - one of 18 gates ... all of which...

Doesn't anyone work? With 17 million people plus tourists ... no wonder...

Nazar is an eye-shaped glass bead believed to protect against the evil...

Handmade glass lights ... if i had room, i would have brought...

Tea anyone?

What a nice guy ... t-shirt purchase ... after much bartering and...

Textiles of every type ... lots of great quality cotton

Nick nack heaven

All of a sudden, the markets go quiet .... ah, must be...

So how long does spice last for ... there must have been...

Also lots of dried fruits .... apricots, plums, figs ...


The Grand Bazaar is one of the largest and oldest covered markets in the world. It has 67 covered streets (which bear the name of the sellers of a particular good) and over 4,000 shops. It also has several squares used for the daily prayers, 5 mosques, 7 fountains, 18 gates which are opened each day in the morning and closed in the evening. They estimate that between 250,000 and 400,000 people visit daily, depending on the season. In 2014, it was listed No.1 among world's most-visited tourist attractions with over 91 million visitors.

It is massive ... when you visit, be sure to wear comfy shoes, a big smile, and a load of patience ... bring some cash, a sense of humour and get ready ... EVERYONE wants to sell you something ... we had great fun walking thru the market streets ... didn't buy much (still have carry on luggage) but enjoyed talking, joking and haggling with the vendors. An absolute must for your bucket lists!

A bit of condensed history ...

Construction started during the winter of 1455/56, shortly after the Ottoman conquest of Constantinople. Sultan Mehmet II had an edifice erected devoted to the trading of textiles. The building was named Cevâhir Bedestan(‘Bedesten of Gems’). The word bedesten is adapted from the Persian word bezestan, derived from bez ("cloth"), and means "bazaar of the cloth sellers".

The construction of the Bedesten ended in the winter of 1460/61.

Over the course of history, various smaller markets were established in the areas surrounding the Bedesten ... slave markets, second hand markets, Greek, Long Market, old book market and some years later, the Sandal Bedesten (market) which became the trade center for luxury textiles and goods. Over time, the distance between the original Bedesten and the Sandal Bedesten filled in with many shops and stalls ... hence creating a whole quarter, now called the Grand Bazaar.

Today you can see the further expansion of the market with hundres of additional stalls, shops and vendors setting up in the blocks outside the gates.



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