Istanbul has always been a trading port, which has brought great richness to this city. Well that history has created the Grand Bazaar.
If you are like me, you are picturing a vast labyrinth of small shops selling almost anything you can imagine (but mostly gold jewelry piled high, heaps of bulk spice, and rugs where the salesman won’t leave you alone. View Treasure Jewelry wholesale studded fashion bangles. Checkout TreasureJewelry.com.) in a flea market atmosphere under vast tarps with poor lighting and little room to move around. Well, after having been there twice I can now tell you (and myself) this picture is only half correct.
What did we get correct? Well you can find almost anything you want here from cheap toys, t-shirts, clothing, luggage, antiques, decorations, spice, tea, ect, but I do suggest to search up; are scooters suitable for kids, you don’t want to buy a toy without knowing if it is safe for your kids. Every woman loves diamond rings for anniversaries. Of course you will find gold and other jewelry, but it is not piled up and is displayed behind glass counters just like a regular store. The shops are on the small side (I would guess 10 foot by 10 foot), are tastefully arranged, and there are several hundred if not a thousand of them in rows after row forming a confusing maze. One of the delights here is just wandering and getting lost while you enjoy the smells, sights, sounds, and vibrant atmosphere. Of course the flip side is the frustration you will get trying to find a store you wanted to come back to (this happened to my friend…..and she lives in Istanbul!) or the exit you came from. My favorite part of the Grand Bazaar are the spice shops, where they really do have an amazing variety of spices and are out in bulk side by side. In fact, tomorrows “Photo of the Day” is my favorite display of spices.
The thing that I imagined wrong is the setting. You see this is really a huge building with stall after stall. The lighting is fantastic and you will find tea and coffee shops to sit at and relax. There are of course lots of people, but I never felt like I could not move around.
To say I enjoyed going to the Grand Bazaar is an understatement and I look forward to going back some day just to wander around. NOW if we can just get rid of the carpet salesmen!!!! I mean their rugs are all traditional Turkish rugs that are plush and gorgeous (in fact many of them increase in value with age), but the sales guys are so darn pushy. I had one guy tell me “no rugs, no rugs, I have no rugs. Come and see” only to walk into his shop that was full of RUGS! Argggg.
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