The Grand Bazaar (Kapalı Çarşı in Turkish) is an overwhelming experience for many. Sellers hawk their wares at the top of the voice, everyone has their own technique to entice you in, the colors, lights and sounds create an exotic and unique atmosphere. Although, it can feel like a tourist trap at first, there are quality goods and real bargains to be found... if you know where to look. So here's our guide to shopping in Grand Bazaar:
Do Your Research
Have an idea of what you want to find and how much you want to pay for it. Some of the best items to look out for are: pestamel (hand woven hamam towels); carpets and kilims; antiques; traditional Ottoman or Islamic arts such as calligraphy and miniatures; other fabrics such as pashminas; and products made from central Asian textiles like ikat or suzani.
Lamb store inside the Grand Bazaar
While, there are many shops selling cheaply made goods, there are some people who you know you can trust. A few of our favorites include:
Selling beautiful cotton and silk pashminas, ikat fabrics and cushion covers. They offer good quality and good prices. (Takkeciler Sokak 58-60)
A unique shop that blends traditional and modern reimagining Anatolian fabrics into contemporary designs for the home, with a range of carpets, and patchworks. The pricing is per square meter. (Address: Takkeciler Sokak 58-60)
Patchworks at Dhoku-Ethnicon, Grand Bazaar
One of the most established antique stores in Istanbul, whose owner and the manager, Kaşif, is a colourful and knowledgeable person happy to reveal the story of all the objects in his treasure trove of a store. From contemporary paintings to old Christian icons, old maps to gold rings a huge variety of finds are on sale in this three storey store. (Address: Nuruosmaniye Cadessi 53/A)
Sofa Arts and Antiques Store, Grand Bazaar
The intricate Ottoman and Seljuk designs you may recognise from mosques and palaces are reproduced using traditional tile techniques here, and make an evocative Istanbul souvenir. (Address: İç Bedesten Şerifağa Sokak 188)
Finest quality Iznik tiles at Iznik Classics, Grand Bazaar
This unusual shop sells Nick's delicately painted leaves that reproduce Islamic, Christian, Jewish, and Buddhist symbols on naturally dried leaves – a truly unique souvenir. They don't give a price until you decide which leaf you like the most. (Address: İç Bedesten Şerif Ağa Sokak 24)
Nick Merderyan in his store at the Grand Bazaar
Şişko Osman is the fourth generation of his family to be dealing in carpets. Carrying on the tradition, he travels every inch of the country to selects the finest and most individual carpets, believing that "every carpet has a history to tell". For each carpet purchased, a certificate is provided. (Address: Zincirli Han 15)
Mr. Osman, Sisko Osman Carpet Store owner
Be prepared to bargain!
It's an accepted practice, and if you don't – you might find yourself paying way over the odds. However if it is a store that has fixed prices displayed, there's no room for manoeuvre. Cash is preferred, but many stores accept cards (though not always American Express) and there are cashpoints around.
The Grand Bazaar Istanbul is made up of 66 streets and over 4000 shops, and there are different sections for items including gold, silver, leather and carpets. It's easy to get lost and often almost impossible to find what you're looking for, so go with a Grand Bazaar guide, or pick up a map of Grand Bazaar to make the most of it. Alternatively, for a truly unique experience, check out on of our specially curated Grand Bazaar tours: Grand Bazaar Jewellery Workshop or Bazaaring in Istanbul.
The Grand Bazaar Istanbul is made up of 66 streets and over 4000 shops
Where is Grand Bazaar?
The Grand Bazaar is located in the Old City, close to other attractions such as the Blue Mosque Istanbul, Spice Bazaar Istanbul and Hagia Sophia Istanbul. The easiest way to get there is to take a tram to the Beyazit-Kapalıçarşı.
What are the Grand bazaar opening hours?
This unique Istanbul market is open Monday – Saturday: 9am – 7pm. Grand Bazaar Sunday: closed.
Cevahir Bedesteni of Grand Bazaar known as Antique old market