Traditional Shopping in Istanbul

The Grand Bazaar (Covered Bazaar)
One of the most important landmarks of İstanbul. İt is a vast labyrinth of streets and alleys with hundreds of shops selling everything from silk carpets to mother of pearl chessboards, porcelains, silverware, textiles, spices, and antiques. The main building in the complex was commissioned in 1461 by the Mahmut Pasha, the Grand Vizier of Mehmet the Conqueror. İt contains 65 streets, has 18 gates, 2 mosques, 21 hans, 6 fountains, and covers an area of three hectares. İt is located in Beyazit square, and can easily be reached from anywhere in İstanbul. Open everyday except Sundays.

The Egyptian Bazaar (Spice Market)
The Spice Bazaar is one of the most exotic attractions of İstanbul. İt was constructed in 1664 as part of the New Mosque complex. The market acquired its name “Egyptian Bazaar” in the 18th century, it is so called because most of the goods on sale used to come from or through Egypt. The Spice Bazaar still retains that Arabian Nights atmosphere; shady streets, spices, vendors calling to their goods, oriental perfume oils… Not something you experience in any other European city, or perhaps in any city in the world, for that matter. The Egyptian Bazaar is situated in Eminönü, right next to the Yeni Cami (the New Mosque), it can easily be reached from anywhere in İstanbul. İt is open everyday.


We all know that Turkey is famous for its beautiful hand-knotted and/or hand-woven rugs and kilims. The making of these rugs is a very long-rooted art form in Anatolia and each region has its own unique designs and colors. Many of the kilims are kinds of story books within which the girl or woman making the rug could express her feelings graphically. One of the interesting features of a good rug is that it becomes more valuable as it is used and gets older as the colors and the textures seem to soften and ripen. When one considers the amount of wool or silk required and the months of long labor that the making requires, the price asked for these lovely items is very low indeed. One can find carpets and kilims for sale all around the country that represent that unique part of the country. The Grand Bazaar and the Sultanahmet Arasta Market both have good collections of all of Turkey’s rugs, both old and new.

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