As with most countries, modern times seem to overtake the more traditional eras. In Turkey, the shopping malls and boutiques are very popular these days. However, the good old bazaars are still very popular with the locals and tourist alike.
Having a good hunt for a bargain or having a good haggle with a storekeeper is very much a Turkish tradition that still goes on today. They sell a range of traditional handcrafted goods including, rugs, carpets, jewellery, lighting, ceramics, spices and food.
One of the most famous bazaars is in Istanbul. The Grand Bazaar was is one of the largest covered markets in the world. It has 61 covered streets and 4000 stalls. It’s a very popular location and draws on average 250 to 400 thousand visitors per day! It has also been recognised as one of the top tourist attractions in the world and also is thought to be one of the first shopping malls.
The bazaar over the years has suffered setbacks. In 1890 there was a survey of the market done. There were 4.399 shops, 2195 rooms, 1 hamam, 1 Mosque and 10 Medrese ( Islamic schools ). In 1894 there was a major earthquake that rocked Istanbul, the repair to the bizarre was done although the size of it was reduced. The last restoration of any kind was done in 1980.
In the bazaar, you will find the world-famous handmade carpets and kilims of Turkey, some of the most beautiful examples of Turkish silver art, souvenirs and decorations made of copper and bronze and high-quality ceramics, onyx, and leather goods are for sale. In the jewellers’ shops, filled with gold, silver and precious stones, you can find all sorts of valuable handicraft accessories, from antique jewellery to modern pendants.
A walk through the Bazaar is a journey amidst enchanting scents of spices, dazzling colours, hypnotizing sounds, beautiful handicrafts, and of course the tempting smell of Turkish coffee.
The Grand Bazaar is located in the Fatih District of Istanbul and stretches between the Mosques of Beyazit and Nuruosmaniye. Its open Monday to Friday from 09.00 until 19.00 and closed on Sundays.
Written by : Rachel Labidi
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