The Grand Bazaar (Kapali Carsi) is a plus 550 years old covered market situated in Beyazit, in the Historical Peninsula of Istanbul. It is also one of the largest and oldest covered markets in the world. Grand Bazaar is a popular points of interest and a perfect place with the tourists to end their Istanbul visit by shopping for some souvenirs for their family and friends before leaving for the airport.
What to Expect, See and Buy at the Grand Bazaar?
Covering an area of 47,000 m2, the Grand Bazaar consists of a series of covered labyrinthine streets, passageways and corridors featuring 64 streets, 4,000 shops, 22 entrances and 25,000 employees. You are able to find about anything here in Grand Bazaar from the finest silky shawls and scarves in traditional patterns to traditional items, from antiques, leather goods, ceramics to the famous carpets, from spices, beautiful handicrafts to gold and jewelry.
Grand Bazaar is also the heart of the gold and foreign exchange in Turkey. Especially the jewelry shops take the most interest.
Grand Bazaar is not only a place to make shopping, but also a great historical site that, by walking through the lively streets of the Bazaar, you can experience and enjoy a journey in the company of the enchanting scents of the spices, lively colors of the markets, impressive handicrafts, Turkish delight and the tempting smell of the Turkish coffee. A great day out at the Grand bazaar is one of the best attractions as for shopping in Istanbul.
The Grand Bazaar also houses a historical coffee house, that you are able to find the best Turkish coffee cooked on coal fire. There is also a restaurants offering traditional Turkish cuisine.
Some History of the Grand Bazaar
History of the Grand Bazaar dates back to the 15th century, to the Byzantium period. There was a small series of shops at the site of the covered bazaar, during the Byzantium period, one of the oldest markets in the world. And after the conquest of Istanbul, the bazaar is widened with big constructions in 1456-61, by the order of the Fatih Sultan Mehmet during the Ottoman era and called as the “Big Market”. The bazaar was a popular center for fabric trade in that period, and all the revenue from the market were transferred to the Hagia Sophia, with the order of the Sultan.
During the period of the Kanuni Sultan Suleiman, the Grand Bazaar has become a magnificent center of the Empire, and has been widened more than today’s situation with its mosque, tomb and school along the site and more than 4,000 big shops, 2,000 small shops, 20 inns and 16 fountains in the bazaar area.
Majority of those constructions were damaged by the big fires and earthquakes. And after the very big earthquake in 1894, the Grand Bazaar very badly damaged and the trade were about to stop during that period. The bazaar reconstructed with the big efforts of the Ottoman Sultan Abdulhamid II, and took its today’s condition. You may see the tughra of the Sultan Abdulhamid II at the gate of the Grand Bazaar facing the Beyazit direction.
Grand Bazaar Visiting Hours
The Grand Bazaar is open every day from 09:00-19:00 except Sundays and national holidays. We recommend you to keep in your mind that the visits to the Grand Bazaar can be restricted during the Muslims’ Friday worship at noon, because of the lack of space in the nearby Beyait Mosque. Entrance to Grand Bazaar is free of charge.
Where is the Grand Bazaar and How to Get There?
The Grand Bazaar is situated in the Beyazit neighborhood of Fatih district, in the Historical Peninsula of Istanbul. Getting to Grand Bazaar is very easy that you may reach there by walking from Sultanahmet in about 20 mins. or from Eminonu and Sirkeci. The Bagcilar-Kabatas tram (T1 line) has a Beyazit stop very close to the Grand Bazaar.
From Taksim, you may take public busses to Beyazit, or take Taksim-Kabatas funicular (F1 line) and take the tram. From the Asian side, you may take public ferries to Eminonu and from there, you take the tram to get to Grand Bazaar.
Address, phone, web and map
Address: Kalpakçılar Cad., Kapalıçarşı, Beyazit, Fatih, Istanbul
Tel: +90 212 519 12 48
Fax: +90 212 528 39 99