The Grand Bazaar is located in the center of Istanbul, in the middle of the Beyazıt, Nuruosmaniye and Mercan districts, and is one of the world’s largest and the oldest covered bazaars, which welcomes more than half a million visitors on some days. And it is one of the most visited tourist destinations in the world with approximately 100 million visitors annually with its rich cultural structure that developed during the Ottoman period. It attracts shopping enthusiasts of all ages. While wandering around The Grand Bazaar, you can find shops selling precious jewelery or valuable historical items, delicious flavors, skillfully processed wooden products, interesting decorations and healing herbal teas.

The Grand Bazaar was brought to its known form during the reign of Fatih Sultan Mehmet. The Internal Bedest remained from the Byzantine period, New Bedest was built after the conquest of Istanbul by Fatih Sultan Mehmet, and it continued its journey in history close to its current state. The establishment of it is considered to be 1461. During the reign of Suleiman the Magnificent, its main bazaar was built in wood and took its final form. It is is one of the greatest works of Istanbul during the Ottoman Empire period.

It resembles a city with an area of 110 thousand 868 m2, of which 45 thousand m2 is covered. There are 4 thousand shops in 66 streets and approximately 25 thousand people work in these shops. The names given to the streets were generally made according to the goods sold in the shops and stores on those streets. Such as Tassels, Kavaflar, Zenneciler (women’s shoes), Yağlıkcılar. It was developed and grew over time, it accommodated 5 mosques, 1 school, 7 fountains, 10 wells, 1 fountain, 1 fountain, 24 doors and 17 inns.

The streets are covered with a broken dome-shaped masonry in the form of a “vault” and later used with concrete. Windows are placed in such a way that they correspond to the shops between these vaults.

The famous Italian writer Edmondo de Amicis gave information about the history of the Ottoman in his travel article about Istanbul and briefly said about The Grand Bazaar: You cannot anticipate the mobility inside from the outside of it, and after entering in, you cannot hear the sounds outside. As soon as you enter the door, you will encounter a true city, surrounded by carved domes and columns, with streets covered with arches, small mosques, fountains, four roadways, small squares and a large crowd illuminated by a dim light. Each street is a bazaar, and a main road, decorated with arabesques, such as a mosque scene covered with a dome, all with black and white stone arches. Customers are invited to shops with words and signs from all sides. Inside, the crowd of things and people will surprise you. But don’t be fooled by this turmoil, the Grand Bazaar is as regular as a barracks, and after a few hours, you will be able to find everything you are looking for without a guide. All kinds of goods have a small neighborhood, a small street, a small corridor and a small square. The variety of products inside is so rich and eye-catching that if you are not careful, you will spend a lot of money than you might expect and can spend half of the day unnoticed.

It was a symbol of power for Ottoman empire.

Istanbul was one of the most important cities of its period and played an important role in creating a new identity in the Empire after the conquest. In this period, the “product” was redefined. It was undoubtedly built for the realization of the idea that it is necessary to cover and protect something to proceed and develop something. From this point, It is the most important and complex project developed by the Ottoman Empire. During the 600-year period, shipyards, mint, schools, palaces were built, giant-sized industries were established, and many successes and failures were experienced. It is the only project that continues its function.The Grand Bazaar has experienced many earthquakes, fires, and destructions until today, but it has been rapidly restored and developed every time. The main reason for this is that It is a giant mechanism that keeps the Empire’s product identity and economy alive. It was not only a bazaar, it was the most important economic project of the state for the sustainability of the Empire’s product identity and ensuring international competition. It was a mechanism between the North-South, where versatile trade using the Silk Road and Spice Road was controlled and balanced.

Evliyâ Çelebi, one of the leading travelers of the 17th century and known for his 10-volume Seyahatnâme, described The Grand Bazaar as an enormous powerful fortress. What Çelebi explained about it in the 1640s are as follows: It was established in the most crowded and popular place of Istanbul, it is the great treasure of the Ottoman Empire, full of happiness. All the expeditions, merchants’ goods are here, earnings are like a wild bird flying in the air, if you can hunt him gently, you will profit.

The Grand Bazaar, which is one of the most important symbols of Istanbul, maintains its same liveliness today and welcomes many domestic and foreign tourists every day. While wandering in there, you can find yourself with the feeling of discovering the mysterious and exotic world of the east. You will be impressed by beautiful gifts and ornaments, gold and silver jewelery and handcrafted carpets made by experienced craftsmen. Antiques, and tiles will dazzle you. The variety and beauty of bags and textile products are truly impressive. When you are tired of wandering around, you can take your fatigue with a delightful Turkish coffee with Turkish delight and continue your wandering. It is is a unique place to buy gifts that will make you and your loved ones happy. Delicious Turkish delight varieties, different baklava types, tea and herbal teas, delicious Turkish coffee varieties, colorful Turkish spices and countless product varieties that will interest you will be on your way.

You should definitely add The Grand Bazaar to the top of your list of things to do.

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