Covered Bazaar (Kapali Çarsi)

The Covered Bazaar © michael_swan
The Covered Bazaar © michael_swan

The oldest and biggest enclosed bazaar in the world, also known as the Grand Bazaar, is one of the most enticing and mesmerizing attractions in Istanbul. Consisting of a vast labyrinth of 65 twisting streets crammed with more than 4,000 shops, teahouses, hamams (Turkish baths), mosques, storehouses and fountains. It is a fascinating experience to wander around the alleyways, looking and enjoying, or bargaining and purchasing.

Here you can find almost anything, from meerschaum pipes, carpets, and jewellery, to Turkish Delight, 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 period. 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