The history of the Grand Bazaar, which is located in Istanbul (Turkey's largest city), goes back to the period of Fatih Sultan Mehmet, in the middle of the 15th century. According to the foundation system, which is one of the most important practices that kept the Ottoman institutions alive, another income-generating structure was created in order to meet the various needs of mosques such as repair and maintenance costs. The most important of these income generating structures are the bazaars, and the foundation of the Grand Bazaar was laid in 1461 with the structures built by Fatih Sultan Mehmet to bring income to Hagia Sophia and it has grown gradually with the additions made over the years. The Grand Bazaar, which has become the most important commercial center of the entire region, hosts the richest tradesmen of Istanbul, and where jewelery and precious jewelry from all over the world are traded, also served as a bank and financial center in these years.
At the same time, since it is seen as one of the places that best reflects Istanbul and the Eastern life in the eyes of Europeans, the fact that it is featured in many travel books and paintings by painters also proves the historical and cultural importance of the Grand Bazaar. The Grand Bazaar, which is defined as not only the oldest but also the largest shopping center in the world, is built on an area of 45 thousand square meters and contains 3,600 shops. The Grand Bazaar, which was the heart of the economy in the Ottoman Period, when it had more than this number of shops and covered a wider area, is the first stopover point for those who come to Istanbul and want to shop today. The number of visitors sometimes even reaches 500 thousand people a day.
Here you can find everything from carpets to bags, from textiles to gold and silver jewellery, from antiques to tiles and souvenirs that will keep your memories alive forever. The Grand Bazaar, which is so big that it is impossible to explore every part of it even if you spend the whole day just for a stroll, hosts the new and the old, the traditional and the modern, like the whole of Istanbul. For this reason, some of the products sold can be described as the heritage of the Ottoman Period, and some as the returns of the modern world. There are many places to shop in the immediate vicinity of the Grand Bazaar. On the street stretching between the Bazaar and the Nur-u Osmaniye Mosque, shops selling authentic materials, especially carpet makers, are lined up.
You can find handmade souvenirs in the Arasta Bazaar, located behind the Sultan Ahmet Mosque. Sultanahmet and its surroundings are another place where you can see all the different products together, apart from the handcrafted souvenirs. We recommend the old book enthusiasts to visit the Booksellers' Bazaar, which is located between the Beyazıt Mosque and the Grand Bazaar.