The Grand Bazaar or Kapalıçarşı (covered Market), is one of the oldest (over 550 years old), biggest and thriving covered markets in the world. It is by far the most visited market as it was listed as the world’s most-visited tourist attraction with 91,250,000 annual visitors. The Grand Bazaar is also the center of gold and foreign exchange in Turkey.
It accommodates 61 covered streets and over 3,000 shops merchants all selling their products and wares, where visitors go to buy and bargain with cheap prices. You can find anything there from spices, dried fruits, basketry, drapery, haberdashery, boots and slippers to gold and silver jewelry.
The Grand Bazaar is located in the fortified Istanbul’s Fatih district, the construction of the future core of the Grand Bazaar began in the winter of 1455/56, shortly after the Ottoman conquest of Constantinople, and was part of an extensive plan to promote Istanbul’s economic prosperity.
It consists of only two warehouses known as Inner Bedesten and Sandal Bedesten. With time open streets were covered with domed roofs, and individual buildings were interconnected.
Each street holds the name of the sellers of a particular item and their business, such as the Egyptian Bazaar, or Misir Carsisi in Turkish, also known as the Spice Market. It is one of the most popular covered bazaars in Istanbul where visitors find a variety of quality spices. It is located in Eminonu. The name derives from the fact that the Egyptians sold numerous species of spices, and earned their income from taxes once levied on Egypt. Instead, the English name comes from the days when Bazaar specialized in the sale of spices and herbs, medicinal plants, and pharmaceuticals.
From traditional designs to traditional items, the finest silk shawls and scarves can be found in a variety of markets and shops. From spices and beautiful handicrafts to gold and jewelry, you can find many shops selling antiques, leather goods, ceramics and famous carpets. The jewelry shops are the most famous and visited.
Historic landmarks are found near the Grand Bazaar such as: Valens Aqueduct (Bozdoğan Kemeri), Beyazit Square, Mimar Sinan Türbesi, Eminonu Pier and many different sites.
The Grand Bazaar is open each day except Sundays and bank holidays from 9:00 until 19:00.