Shopping at the Grand Bazaar
Love to shop? If so, this is definitely a must for you! The Grand Bazaar is one of the biggest indoor markets in the world. It is made up of 60 streets with 5000 shops. There are such a vast variety of goods available that there is definitely something for everyone. Jewellery to rugs, pots to spices, plus leather, clothing, fruit and vegetables. To make shopping easier most of the sellers offering similar products are grouped together and there are specialist areas devoted to one particular subject, such as leather.
The bazaar has played a very important part of life in Istanbul since it first opened in 1461. The bazaar grew rapidly during the sixteenth century, and it had to be restored in 1894 when it was damaged by an earthquake.
When the bazaar first opened it played host to the local people who used it as a congregational point when they had visited the mosques close by. They could catch up and buy goods or trade goods; the only real difference today is that there is a much larger selection of goods and a lot more visitors.
Sadly there are a lot of cheap imported products, possibly to service the tourists needs, in particular counterfeit clothing, handbags, computer games and DVDs.
Whilst the clothing and handbags are well priced and above average quality, the computer games and DVDs could pose a problem, whereby they either do not work or could even end up damaging your device. The other thing to watch is the watches! They are fabulous copies but unless you are really lucky you will find that they stop, never to work again, ironically nine times out of ten just as you have boarded your flight home!
The tourists are the most important visitors to the Grand bazaar and they have always been advised to haggle! Don’t worry about offending the seller by offering a third of the ridiculously high price they start at, they start at a stupid price as they know that they will have to drop the price to make a sale. Rule of thumb you will end up paying about half of their asking price, you will be thrilled to have haggled and in your mind grabbed a bargain and the seller will be happy too.
The Grand bazaar offers banks, currency exchange, mail services and even on site police!
The Grand Bazaar makes for a fabulous day out guaranteeing bargains and some really good laughs along the way. There are places to eat and cafes where you can enjoy a drink while getting your breath back.
The easiest way to reach the Grand Bazaar is by tram to Beyazit, Universite or Sirkeci. Open from 9am – 7pm Monday to Saturday being closed all day Sunday and bank holidays.
Shopper or not this is one experience you most certainly do not want to miss out on!