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Grand Bazaar or Covered Bazaar (Kapali Charshi) is one of the biggest and the oldest covered bazaars in the world with more than 6000 shops. The shops sell carpets, jewelery, spices, pottery, souvenirs and many other things.
For the unwary, the Grand Bazaar can be a dangerous place. Bag snatching, pickpockets, underground organized crime all thrive. For most though, the biggest risk is happily parting with well earned cash, believing you have a one of a kind, authentic, genuine original bargain. Only to turn the next corner, or take the next alleyway, and see someone else buying the same thing – cheaper. That’s all part of the appeal though, after all, you are in Istanbul, former high court of the Ottoman Empire, once a Roman stronghold over Africa – it should be a wild place, full of mystery and a little hint of danger – that is what makes a visit to the Grand Bazaar such an exciting thing to do.
Open daily from 08:30-19:00. Closed on Sundays, on national and religious holidays.
The entrance is free but it is really difficult not to spend money while visiting Grand Bazaar.
Since the bazaar is very, there are many entrances. The following directions are given for the enterance near Cemberlitash
If coming from European towns of Istanbul, the last stop on the train line is the closest point to Grand Bazaar. The stop is Sirkeci and when getting out of the train station one can walk uphill following the tram line.
Since there are many stops many stops can be used to get to Grand Bazaar. The easiest ones are Chemberlistash and Beyazit
A car ride to Grand Bazaar would be tortuous since the streets around Grand Bazaar are really narrow, pedestrian only or tram only.
There are buses going to Beyazit and Sultanahmet from Taksim and many other parts of the city.
The best way to get there is to walk – from the Eminonu ferry terminal, follow the trams uphill, past Haghia Sofia and the Blue Mosque. Then you should pause for a coffee or a bite to eat at one of the many restaurants catering for the foreign palate, on the right side of the tram line. Then up past the Sultans tomb you will see a brown sign to the Grand Bazaar. The final approach to the Grand Bazaar is understated and winds through some back streets giving many a feeling of possibly being in the wrong place.
Then you will see it, above the gate an old and eroded sign on the outside of the unrestored wall, announcing your arrival… the rest is up to you. For more information you can visit this guide.
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