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Istanbul Turkey The Grand Bazaar in Istanbul


The Grand Bazaar, or Covered Bazaar, Kapalicarsi in Turkish, is one of the largest covered markets in the world. The visitors should beware not to get completely lost in devious mazes of 58 streets with 4,000 shops. The shops are grouped according to the type of merchandise, the most famous are leather, carpets, spices, jewellery, textiles. The average number of visitors is between 250,000 and 400,000 every day. It is like a city in a city, with restaurants, mosques, banks, police stations.

The Grand Bazaar has two bedestans, storage building, first of which was built on request of  Mehmed the Conqueror. The bazaar was considerably enlarged under the reign of Suleiman the Magnificent in 16th century, and in 1894 it underwent significant restorations after an earthquake.

The Bazaar is divided into several sections. Inner Bedesten forms the backbone of the entire Bazaar, its oldest building. The names of the gates are: Bouquinistes, Hat Shops, Jewellery Shops and Costume Shops.

Sandal Bedesten can be accessed from the main gate as well as from the Nuruosmaniye district. It has twenty domes on twelve great stone piers. Other sections have rather a chaotic layout due to numerous destructions and reparations as well as uncontrolled extension during past centuries.

The Grand Bazaar is the major tourist attraction, a whole complex of fun and entertainment, a characteristic hustle and bustle of a typical oriental market. But it is not only designed for tourists, as numerous locals buy items there. The market has an extensive staff of inner police, which can be very helpful if one gets lost. As in other crowded areas of big cities, the tourists should beware pickpocketing and bag-slashing. And it is just a right place to exercise one's bargaining skills. Personal shoppers can provide useful guidance through the innumerable options just to the right places.


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