I loved everything about Istanbul; great city, great people, great (ancient) culture. The colorful and chaotic Grand Bazaar is the heart of İstanbul’s Old City and has been so for centuries. This place is like a huge maze with all the shops looking more or less the same. The shops are so identical that many tourists easily lose track of where they entered from and which all shops they have already checked out and which they haven’t. You should at least spare 3 to 4 hours to explore the entire bazaar. Great place to take pictures.
The Grand Bazaar is filled with all different kind of things to buy. From clothes to food, gold, jewelry with semi-precious stones, carpets, chandeliers, sweets, decoration pieces, spices, souvenirs and leather goods.
It’s a lovely place. But OVERPRICED. Same items can be found at half the price outside. The salesmen are very fierce and unfriendly, especially when you don’t want to buy their products. Hence I wouldn’t recommend people to do shopping from there unless they have a very short trip and don’t have enough time to explore the other inexpensive areas in the city. Go to Spice Bazaar instead if you’re really looking for authentic Turkish stuff at reasonable rates. According to the natives, The Grand Bazaar has become more commercial over the years.
We couldn’t bargain much with the street-smart vendors there and bought the souvenir gifts at the shopkeeper’s given rate. I did notice there was a remarkable price difference of same items in different areas in the Bazaar. But since the shops were so identical hence if you go on your own without someone who knows the place inside out, its nearly impossible to go back to the same shop again, once you have moved to another area.
I would recommend everyone to visit it at least once on their trip to Istanbul because its a great opportunity to see the rich cultural heritage and interacting with the natives is a great learning experience in itself.
I loved the whole energy of the Bazaar itself with so much variety of things, new and old, all under one roof. Talking about the roof, what a magnificent piece of art that roof itself is!
Since we were staying in Ramada Hotel Grand Bazaar which was 15 minutes walk from the Bazaar itself but you can easily take the tram or metro to get there.