Kapali Carsi: The Grand Istanbul Bazaar
Nowadays, attractions are not just limited to visiting museums or going to a festival or fair. Attractions also mean visiting bazars, such as the Kapali Carsi, in Istanbul. This Grand Bazaar is where everyone comes to shop. It is a huge covered market that was the first shopping mall ever to be existant in the world. 61 streets are covered in the market, which is a lot of space for visitors to walk around. This Bazaar takes up a whole city quarter and is surrounded by walls, known as the walled city of Istanbul. It is located in the district of Faith, between the Nure Osmaniye Mosque and the Beyazit Mosque in downtown Istanbul. There are twenty-two entrances that enable people to come into the Bazar. Once you enter, there are many shops and stalls that contain Turkish souvenirs and cultural items that locals sell. There is a total of about 4,000 shops and about 250,00 to 400,000 visitors go there daily.
The Grand Bazaar was built in 1456, putting importance on economy and trade in Istanbul. Today, this bazaar employs about 26,000 and is a major landmark in Istanbul. This bazaar has been restored in 2012 to renew infrastructure as well as heating and lighting systems and some stalls inside the market were renovated. Now, the bazaar is open each day from 9 in the morning until 7 in the evening. There is a police station in this bazaar now as well as a post office, banks, tourist information centers and even a health dispensary.
Sometimes it is easy for a tourist to get lost, especially in a city that they are not familiar with and in a 61-street-covered-shop. But this is where your sense of adventure kicks in. Locals are also very friendly, so you can always ask your way around.
Some of the street names in the Grand Bazaar are Turkish but are quite descriptive of what the shop sells. For example, Takkeciler Caddesi means “Skullcap-makers’ Street,” and Halicilar Caddesi means “carpet makers.” The jewelry that these locals sell in some of the stalls are beautiful and colorful. There are many choices of jewelry that locals hand-make and later sell to tourists. These pieces of jewelry portray a lot of the Turkish culture.
This attraction is the best place to get a taste of the business and economy in Istanbul, as well as get to know the culture a little bit more. While you are at it, make sure you buy a little souvenir for your friends and family.