Well, going shopping is an essential part of anybody’s trip to Turkey’s Istanbul. The city is full of grand shopping malls, but still Istanbul’s Grand Bazaar, stretching over almost 55,000 square meters, occupies an authentic spot as one of the world’s oldest and biggest covered markets. Can you imagine how big it is!
The market covers 61 streets, has nearly 22 entrances and contains over 4,000 shops that attract nearly 250,000 to 400,000 visitors daily. The market was listed as the most visited tourist attraction in 2014 as it had annual visits of 91,250,000 persons. The market was founded during the 15th century thus regarded as one of the first shopping malls of the world.
The bazaar is notorious for its all types of products and coffee and tea breaks that all come with reasonable prices. The Grand Bazaar was damaged numerous times by fires and earthquakes along its history. In 1984, a 7.0 magnitude earthquake brought heavy damage to the complex. Later in 1954 a fire started by an electrical spark spread throughout the Bazaar and it took 489 firefighters and 28 days to completely extinguish the fire.
Shopping at Istanbul’s Grand Bazaar
Stepping inside the bazar, note that bargaining is your best friend, reduce any price given to you by half and the seller will propose another price and keep doing this till you agree on a reasonable price but don’t rush the process.
Choose good timing. The person attending to you in shops is usually a seller not owner thus he works on commission and daily quota. Early hours are the best time to get the best deals as a seller will be eager to sell at lower prices to make sure he reaches his daily quota.
Don’t look too interested, take a tour and compare prices to make the best deals.
Don’t name a price. A seller may ask you to name your best price but doing so will make it impossible to go under it. Make him take the first step.
Istanbul’s Grand Bazaar is open along the week except for Sundays. Entry is allowed from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Check openings during public holidays.