Canadian Travel Press
Issue Date: Mar 04, 2019

Istanbul’s Grand Bazaar offers shopping on a grand scale


(Photo above: Istanbul’s Grand Bazaar has 22 gates and over 4,000 shops)

Hakan Baykara says those planning to visit Istanbul’s famed Grand Bazaar needn’t fear that they may end up spending days in something of a maze.

Baykara says rumors of people getting lost in the massive shopping complex are groundless, and, in fact, it’s relatively easy for visitors to navigate around it, thanks to some very orderly planning.

“It’s a myth actually,” he says of occasional stories over the years of tourists needing help when wanting to find their way out of the bazaar.

Indeed, Baykara notes that the lanes working their way through the bazaar are all named and each store is numbered, making it relatively easy for newcomers to find their way around.

As well, each of the gates leading in to the complex is numbered.

But there’s no question that the Grand Bazaar is huge, Baykara continues.

“It’s 22 gates, 65 streets and over 4,000 shops,” says Baykara, who recommends that tourists hire a guide if they’re looking for specific items, given the huge selection of choices that await them. Those choices include watches, clothes, carpets, food, spices, and traditional Turkish handicrafts.

Most shopowners are multilingual.

The bazaar is closed on Sundays.

Some Istanbul residents now prefer to head for shopping malls, but Baykara says modern malls don’t have the Grand Bazaar’s luster or cachet.

“The Grand Bazaar has a history,” he points out. “It’s the oldest ancient market still working.”