If you’re heading to Istanbul anytime soon, you have probably done your homework and found all of the “must see” tourist attractions in the area. I’m sure somewhere on that list is the Grand Bazaar and spice market, whether you’re in the market for some curry, paprika, a rug, teapot, leather, or a souvenir, it has it all…and more!!
Built in the 15th century, the Grand Bazaar is the world’s oldest covered market as well as the largest, spanning an area of 55 square meters. It truly is a maze with 56 passages, 21 gates, 56 streets, 4,000 shops, and TONS of items for purchase. We suggest before going you get a game plan together. Create a budget of what you’d feel comfortable to spend and maybe a list of items you’d like to find. It is less busy early in the morning but others have said going later in the evening is better to get the best deal from the employees prior to closing up shop. Many stores cary the exact same items so take some time to walk around and start asking shopkeepers what their price is so you can use that to your advantage when negotiating. Don’t be afraid to give them a low offer and see how much they will go down. Then, head over to the other shops with the same item and ask them to give you a better price than the shop down the street. Be patient and before you know it you’ll be more worried about how to fit all your goodies in your suitcase rather than going over your budget!
Some of our favorite items were the ceramic dishes and jewelry (obviously). If all that bargaining is wearing you out then stop by one of the cafes for some of the best apple tea on earth! Seriously, I’m not even a big fan of tea but we couldn’t get enough of it! In fact, after your done with the Grand Bazaar, finish up with the Spice Bazaar. Here you can pick up spices, candies, chocolates, dried fruit, and Turkish delight. Feel free to ask the shopkeeper for a sample or two and let those taste buds go wild. Don’t forget to see what kind of deal you can get over there too! Happy haggling!!