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Navigating the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul

27th August 2015

Istanbul - Grand Bazaar. Construction of the Grand Bazaar began in the 15th century and went through a number of forms before finally settling on its final form around the beginning of the 17th century.

The Grand Bazaar houses over 3000 stores and covers over sixty streets, the shear scope of the Grand Bazaar dwarfs most malls and shopping districts making it the dream shopping location. This was all but confirmed when Travel and Lesuire.com named the Grand Bazaar the world’s number one most visited tourist attraction.

Considering the size and scope of the Grand Bazaar it’s understandably easy to get lost or feel a bit overwhelmed by it. The maze like labyrinth of streets and seemingly muddled layout of stores may easily surprise first time visitors. So to help you have a less stressful shopping experience I’ve compiled some helpful tips to aid you in navigating the Grand Bazaar.


Unusual Layout – The layout of the Grand Bazaar isn’t as straight forward as a mall or super market but most stores of certain kinds will be situated close together. For example jewellery stores can be found along the Kalpakcilar Caddesi.  Maps are also available so if you really need to find a particular store then these are always an option.

Stick Together – The labyrinth like layout of the Grand Bazaar makes it easy to get lost so if you’re traveling with friends and family make sure you stick together or have a way of contacting each other. With up to 400 hundred thousand visitors daily getting lost is a very real possibility so make sure everyone in your group knows the importance of staying together, this is particularly important if you’re visiting the Grand Bazaar with children.

Haggle – Shopping at the Grand Bazaar is a very social experience, traders will be willing to spend a lot of time with one customer in the hope of getting them to make a purchase. The social interaction of buying in the Grand Bazaar also means that there’s no fixed price so don’t be afraid to haggle for a bargain. At the same time don’t be afraid to refuse a purchase from traders if the price isn’t to your liking.

Enjoy the Hustle and Bustle – If you’ve got the time and aren’t looking for anything in particular then don’t be afraid to just wander the Grand Bazaar in search of some unexpected treasure. Part of the appeal of the shopping experience at the Grand Bazaar is finding something you never knew you wanted. Plus you can always relax at one of the many restaurants and cafes with a nice Turkish coffee and admire the beautiful architecture of the Bazaar if you feel like taking a break from shopping.

Be aware Of the Dangers – Like any shopping centre or super market the Grand Bazaar attracts pick pockets and bag slashers. While most people you’ll meet will no doubt be friendly it’s always a good idea to keep an eye on your money and or bags. 


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