Thursday, September 16, 2010


Gate of the Grand Bazaar, Istanbul, TurkeyImage via WikipediaSince we sort of visited on Tuesday with perfumes, I thought we's stop into the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul today. Bring your wallet!

The real name is Kapalı Çarşı (covered market). "Market" is Souk in Arabic so where the name Grand Bazaar came from, I'm not sure.  It could be because the vegetable market is called the Pazar.  The farmers bring in their goods on market day which must have originally been Sunday, which is also "Pazar". 

I don't even know where to start myself, so this is where I pull out my Luxe Istanbul city guide. They recommend Nur Carpets and Kilims, just outside the Nuruosmaniye Gate (pic left).  Their list also includes Koç leather, Kirgiz jewellers, and Etno for handicrafts, but don't stop there. Wander the arched halls in search of colorful art glass, lustrous silver, copper or whatever else strikes your fancy.  Lots of the things I've previously written about can be bought there, like porcelain wares and evil eye charms.   
The best way to go about it is to find the section where they sell what you're looking for. Then you can't get distracted from the task at hand as easily (good luck with that).

A lá Assassin's Creed, Clive Owen scrambled around on the rooftops in The International and I realized for the first time just how massive it really is (see the pic below).  He also visited my Secret Cistern and the Blue Mosque

There's another, less famous bazaar I like to visit is the Mısır Çarşı. It translates to Egyptian Marketplace and you can find it down by the water at the tip of the Golden Horn peninsula. It's basically a very fancy spice market.  There you can sample dried fruits, nuts (hazelnuts come from Turkey mostly), and every imaginable kind of Turkish delight (try the pistachio). Unfortunately, you have to eat it all on the plane if you're coming back to the states because customs won't let you back in. You can buy perfume from the merchants lined up there, though. 

If you can't afford the time or the plane ticket, you can still get Turkish things stateside (with an upcharge, of course).  Try my favorite online retailer,

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Unknown said...

Very cool photos. Thank you for sharing.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Wow, that place is huge!

LTM said...

gorgeous and amazing! Wow.

And you won't believe, Kitty Howard's 9/11 post was about being at the Grand Bazaar at that time. It's interesting...

<3 :o)

Natasha said...

I was sure I was following your blog, but apparently not- my bad. If you don't find my name on the list when you log on, can you PLEASE let me know- blogger is funny sometimes.

And we call it nazar in India too.


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