One of the oldest and largest in the world


The Grand Bazaar is one of the most remarkable and historic bazaars in the world. It is one of Istanbul’s main attractions.

One of Istanbul’s main attractions is the Grand Bazaar. It is one of the oldest and largest indoor markets in the world where you can buy just about anything you can imagine. It is so large that it covers 61 streets and includes over 4,000 stores. It is one of the biggest attractions in a country that has many attractions (such as the ancient cities of Troy and Ephesus as well as the beautiful region of Cappadocia).

It is one of the most visited tourist attractions in the world, attracting around 90 million annual visitors. Some consider it to be one of the first shopping malls in the world. Seen in this light, it was way ahead of its time with today’s malls – the largest mall in the Western Hemisphere is the Mall of America in Minnesota.


What to know about visiting the Grand Bazaar

the Grand Bazaar is located in the walled city of Istanbul (the old city of Constantinople). This puts it on the European side of the Bosphorus, meaning the bazaar is actually in Europe (but at a crossroads).

That also means it’s within walking distance of must-see attractions – like the Hagia Sophia, the Old Walls of Constantinople, the Old Ottoman Palace (now a museum), the Blue Mosque, and more.

  • Streets: 61 covered streets
  • Stores: 4,000 shops
  • Region: 30,700m2
  • Daily visitors: Between 250,000 and 400,000 visitors every day

The Bazaar is well served by public transport. It is easily accessible from Sultanahmet and Sirkeci by tram (Beyazıt-Kapalıçarşı stop).


Among the Turks, it must compete with modern shopping centers (Istanbul is a very modern city). But its beauty and history continue to attract tourists and Turks. The Grand Bazaar is open six days a week.

Opening hours:

  • Open: 6 days a week (closed on Sundays and public holidays)
  • Hours: 9:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.

Related: When You’re In Istanbul, These Are Things You Can’t Miss

The deep history of Europe’s largest bazaar

The Grand Bazaar is also very historic. Construction of the core of the bazaar began in 1455 – just two years after the fall of Constantinople and the Ottoman takeover. This was part of Sultan Mehmed II’s efforts to boost economic prosperity in what was then Constantinople. The bazaar was completed in the winter of 1460/61.


  • First build: 1455 – Just after the fall of Constantinople to the Ottomans

The Grand Bazaar camp in its final form at the beginning of the 17th century. At that time, the Ottoman Empire was massive and stretched deep across three continents, with Constantinople being the heart of the empire.

Constantinople was the heart and hub of commerce throughout the region and the bazaar was its epicenter. At that time and until the first half of the 19th century (at the decline of the Ottoman Empire), it was unrivaled in Europe in terms of the abundance, variety and quality of the products offered for sale.

At the same time as the Empire was in decline (and it had a closed economy), the Empire was on the rise fueled by the Industrial Revolution and the rapid growth of the textile industry.


  • Destroy: It has been destroyed and damaged several times by earthquakes and fires

During its lifetime, it had to deal with numerous recurring earthquakes and fires which sometimes devastated the complex.

Related: If you’re planning a vacation to Istanbul, be sure to factor these foods into your trip

A true cultural experience

A trip to the Grand Bazaar is much more than a shopping experience. It is a journey into the culture of Turkey. Here, one will see the many exotic and artisanal products for sale from the East. One will be amazed at the selection of spices, teas, Turkish delights, carpets, exotic clothes, etc.

  • Diversity of goods: The Grand Bazaar has a huge diversity of just about anything you can think of


The sellers are all welcoming and almost all speak English (and often several other languages). We can communicate very easily in English alone. But the trick is to practice your bartering skills.

  • English: Most sales people are fluent in English
  • To bargain: Haggling is a very important part of shopping at the bazaar

For most larger tickets, there is no fixed price and you will have to haggle. It can be frustrating for many, but it’s a taste of a real mess. You will have to be warned and find reasonable prices to avoid paying ridiculous tourist prices.

Most of the products on sale here are of good quality.

Today, the Grand Bazaar is thriving and has withstood the pandemic and a few years of very low tourist numbers. Perhaps one of the few places in the Middle East and North Africa region that can rival it is the magnificent commercial oasis of Marrakech in Morocco.

Next: What you need to know about visiting Marrakech and why it’s worth it


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