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Grand Bazaar (Kapalicarsi)

The Covered Bazaar © michael_swan
The Covered Bazaar © michael_swan

The oldest and biggest enclosed bazaar in the world, Kapalicarsi is one of the most enticing and mesmerizing attractions in Istanbul. Also known as the Grand Bazaar, it consists of a vast labyrinth of twisting streets crammed with more than 4,000 shops, teahouses, Turkish baths, mosques, storehouses, and fountains. It's a fascinating experience to wander around the alleyways, looking at and bargaining for an array of goods and services. Here you can find almost anything, from meerschaum pipes, carpets, jewellery, and Turkish delight, to textiles, spices, clothing, and hand-painted ceramics. Protracted bargaining over a cup of tea is an important institution. Built during the rule of Sultan Mehmet the Conqueror in 1461, the bazaar grew by covering an increasingly large area of shops and streets with roofs, arches, and domes. Eventually it became the centre of trading during the Ottoman Empire. Caravans of silk traders traditionally stayed here and rested their camels while selling their merchandise, and many of these caravanserais still exist as storehouses today.

Address: Kapali Çarsi, Beyazit to Eminönü Harbour.

E-mail: dernek@kapalicarsi.org.t is

Website: kapalicarsi.com.tr

Telephone: +90 212 519 12 48

Transport: Tram to Beyazit, Üniversite or Sirkeci.

Opening times: Open daily except Sundays from 8.30am to 7pm.

Admission: Free