Have you heard about the Grand Bazaar, the oldest covered market in the World? Built in the 15th century Istanbul, the main hub between the ancient Europe and Asia, its history is as long as its unending corridors and Gates. If you wish to travel it, you’ll have to go through one of the eleven main gates of this enormous plaza, which includes five mosques and even a school. Inside is over three thousand shops, selling everything precious, from mystique spices to brilliant textile, and of course, gold and diamond in all of their forms.
Inside there are shopkeepers shouting in every direction, of which there are 26,000 employees. The entire place is overwhelming – built as a small trading place, it was preffered by the guilds of old times, because its gates could be kept closed at night to ward off the thieves. Eventually it grew larger, with smaller centres built around the main palaza, and finally, all of those shops were united under a single roof.
Feeling lost yet? Guides can offer you a walkthrough – for a price, of course. Vendors here sure know how to make you an offer – and haggling is an art form in this sacred palace of commerce. It can seem amusing at times the attention you’ll recieve . If you’ll allow them, they can sweettalk you into an exotic side of the city, offering you oriental dreams and goods for the right amount of money. This here is, after all, the world’s oldest bank.
The Grand Bazaar will make a medieval traveller out of you, taking you back to a time of wonder and magic, with the famous turkish carpets and rugs covering every single space, all sorts of spices racing with each other to enter your nose. Handcrafts here range from practical to wonderous, with basic kitchenware sold next to precious chinas. And of course, we can’t talk about the Grand Bazaar without talking about gold – out of some 3,500 stores, over a thousand of them are jewelry stores. Even the dirt of the bazaar is a precious commodity – companies bid to the city council for the rights to collect the garbage, from which gold can indeed be found.
To visit this gorgeous monument, you can take one of our Istanbul Walking Tours which will include not only a view of this plaza but also many others of the old city, such as the Blue Mosque, and Hagia Sophia. A visit to Istanbul isn’t complete without visiting this most famous market of the World, so you won’t want to miss out on your chance to see it.