A top destination in Istanbul and one of the most visited tourist attractions in the world, the Grand Bazaar is a gateway to history and remains the center of shopping, even among numerous shopping malls.
As a travel magazine, we couldn’t help but discuss the Grand Bazaar, a prime example of Istanbul’s and even the world’s most exquisite markets.
We prepared this article for first-time visitors, those who want to go but haven’t had the chance, those far away, those who wish to return, and those who can never get enough of the Grand Bazaar, no matter how many times they visit.
- History and Information about the Grand Bazaar
- What's in the Grand Bazaar and What to Buy?
- Location of the Grand Bazaar
- How to Get to the Grand Bazaar?
- Grand Bazaar Map
History and Information about the Grand Bazaar
When Was the Grand Bazaar Founded?
The Grand Bazaar’s founding year is considered to be 1461 when Fatih Sultan Mehmet initiated construction. However, the history of the bazaar is believed to date back to the Byzantine era.
The first structure, known as the Inner Bedesten, covered a small area of 48×36 meters and is thought to be a Byzantine artifact. The New Bedesten, also called Sandal Bedesten, began construction in 1461 by Fatih’s command.
The bazaar’s growth and transformation into a large-scale financial center took place during the reign of Kanuni Sultan Süleyman. The Grand Bazaar, built in addition to the original bazaar, is a product of Kanuni’s era.
Ethical Rules of the Grand Bazaar
The One and Only Shopping Mall 500 Years Ago and the World’s Financial Center The Grand Bazaar, once the only shopping mall and financial heart of the world, was home to merchants and craftsmen of various professions in its early years.
Workshops typically functioned as both production and sales locations.
The bazaar, where trade ethics and rules were highly respected, was also closely monitored. For example, it was forbidden for a master to process products in front of their stall, as it could create unfair competition, and there was a fixed price for each product.
The story of the tradesman who sends customers to his neighbor if he doesn’t make a sale was largely true.
Is the Grand Bazaar Only a Place for Daily Shopping?
It would be wrong to see the Grand Bazaar as just a shopping mall for daily shopping.
It was also a financial center, a symbol of power, the heart of money, and a giant economic project where even palace officials and pashas entrusted their precious treasures to huge safes.
One reason for the bazaar’s enclosed and protected structure was this.
Over the years, the Grand Bazaar has survived numerous disasters, such as earthquakes and fires.
Grand Bazaar Facts
It spans over 110,000 square meters, with 65 streets, 3,600 shops, 22 gates, and 14 inns.
Many street names still reveal information about what was done there in the past.
Today, you can find many masterpieces and works of various craftsmen when visiting the bazaar.
Unfortunately, counterfeit and imitation products are also present in some stores.
The Grand Bazaar is not limited to shops. Mosques, prayer rooms, reading rooms, restaurants, and cafeterias are also available within the bazaar.
What Will the Grand Bazaar Make You Feel?
If you’re visiting the Grand Bazaar for the first time, you might feel like you’re in a giant maze.
Without knowing where the streets lead, you may wander the bazaar aimlessly for hours. Even if you don’t know where you’re going, exploring the bazaar, where every corner and square meter holds a detail, will bring you great pleasure.
Although some counterfeit products are displayed in shop windows, the spirit of 500 years ago is still alive and vibrant.
What’s in the Grand Bazaar and What to Buy?
Herbalists, antique dealers with very rare works, shoemakers, leather craftsmen, coppersmiths, silver jewelry and silverware masters, jewelry designers , goldsmiths, tile makers, shops with unique fabrics, carpet sellers with valuable handmade carpets, and small workshops showcasing various Turkish handicrafts are just some of the many offerings in the Grand Bazaar.
Location of the Grand Bazaar
The bazaar is located in Istanbul’s Beyazıt neighborhood and the Fatih district. The Grand Bazaar extends from one end to Beyazıt, another to Cağaloğlu, another to Mercan Yokuşu, and another to Çemberlitaş, covering a vast area.
How to Get to the Grand Bazaar?
Due to the bazaar having more than 20 gates, there are many alternatives for reaching it. However, we will provide directions based on the simplest and most well-known option, the Beyazıt Gate.
The smartest way to reach the Grand Bazaar is to use the Kabataş-Bağcılar Tramway Line and get off at the Beyazıt-Grand Bazaar stop. From the stop, it is just a short one to two-minute walk to the bazaar entrance.
To get to the Grand Bazaar from the Anatolian side, you can still use the tramway line. To do this, you can transfer to the tram by taking a ferry to Eminönü, Karaköy, or Kabataş, or by taking the Marmaray to Sirkeci.
For those who want to reach the Grand Bazaar by bus, any bus going to the Beyazıt stop can be used.
Grand Bazaar Map
You can access the map and transportation alternatives for the bazaar in the location information section.
For more information about Istanbul, don’t forget to subscribe to our email newsletter and follow us on social media.
See you again soon!