Grand Bazaar

Kapalı Çarşı

The Grand Bazaar, "the city inside the city", dates back to 1461 and is not only one of the largest covered markets in the world, but also an age-old oriental fairy-tale full of noise, shouts, smells of oriental spices and brightly-colored goods. The main part of the market was constructed during the reign of Sultan Suleyman II, who ordered to build two wooden bedestens later to be surrounded by the market. The Bedesten with 8 columns and 15 domes is now located in the middle of the Grand Bazaar and is called Internal. The Internal Bedesten is the heart of the Grand Bazaar as well as its treasury. Here one can find unique, as well as very ancient, jewelry and Turkish antiquities, such as furniture, encrusted arms, copper products, candlesticks, ancient coins and many other things. It is in this part of the Bazaar where one can feel the true romanticism of Istanbul. The 20-dome building of the Bedesten, called Sandal, was built near the Internal one and was designed for expensive textiles trade. Nowadays it is possible to buy antiquities and souvenirs here. Previously there was even a special region for the poor in the Bazaar, where they could sell their goods. Banks and stock-exchange were operating here already during the Ottoman period.

Throughout its long history of existence the market has survived several fires and earthquakes, thus undergoing multiple restorations. The Grand Bazaar was turned into stone in the 18th century. A strong earthquake hit Istanbul in 1894 leading to considerable reconstruction, the biggest in the history of the Bazaar. But it got its current looks after the fire of 1954, causing about five years of restoration work. One of the biggest markets in the world has 65 streets, 4400 small shops, mosques, fountains, numerous warehouses, hotels, a school, a hammam, a post office, several cafes and restaurants, money exchange offices.

One of the streets connects the Beyazit Mosque with the Nuruosmaniye Mosque. The Covered Bazaar has a total of 18 gates. The Beyazit Gate is situated near the tram stop and opens to the square and the mosque of the same name. The Nuruosmaniye Gate, marked with Sultan Abdul Hamid II’s seal, is located near the Nuruosmaniye Mosque and the Çemberlitaş square. The gate has an inscription "God blesses those who are devoted to trade". Many of the bazaar streets have retained their old names (for example, Hookah-makers’ street). The Grand Bazaar itself is divided according to the type of goods sold, and as in every bazaar it is necessary to bargain. The bazaar attracts more than half a million visitors and tourists daily.

Address: Çarşıkapi Cad., Beyazit Mh.
Opening hours: Mon-Sat 8.30 am – 7 pm, closed on Sun
How to reach: Beyazıt (TR1)
Coordinates: 41.010599, 28.968273