Grand Bazaar is the first shopping mall of the world. It was built in 1461. Today, it is the biggest covered bazaar in the world with 66 streets and almost 2000 stores inside and 2000 stores outside. Grand Bazaar has 22 different gates.
The bazaar has several sections, distinguished by the products sold. Main sections are jewelry, leather goods, carpets and silver objects. The bazaar features anything from high end jewelry made from gold and decorated with precious stones such as diamonds, sapphires, emeralds, rubies and more to touristy Istanbul shirts, silverware, leather jackets and purses, precious antique stores, colorful shawls and ‘kaftan’s, handmade traditional and contemporary carpets, home textile, traditional ceramics and calligraphy. There are also several cafe’s and restaurants in the bazaar.
Locals buy their jewelry, carpets, silverware, leather jackets and shawls in the Grand Bazaar. Every family has a jeweler, carpet dealer, leather jacket store that they have been shopping from for decades.
Bazaar experience includes a lot of interaction with the locals. This is the place to have tea and coffee and chat with the vendors.
We include Grand Bazaar in all our tours and recommend our clients to visit the bazaar with a local guide who would know where to take them to shop for good quality and prices.
You might recall some of the streets of the Grand Bazaar from a popular movie. In 2012, some parts of Skyfall was shot here. Bond was driving his motorcycle on the rooftop of the Grand Bazaar and jumping through one of the windows to a street within the Grand Bazaar. You can read more about it here.
One of our most popular tours is ‘Shopping in Historical Bazaars of the City‘ where we spend the entire day in the Grand Bazaar shopping. In 2016, a modified version of this tour was featured in Hippie on Heels blog, you can read about it here.
Note: ATMs, exchange offices, several banks are available in the bazaar. It is the best place to exchange your money in the city.