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|Covered Bazaar: (Kapalı Çarşı)|
The Grand Bazaar (Kapalicarsi in Turkish) is one of the the largest covered markets in the world with its 4400 shops in 64 streets and with 22 gates . It's a real heaven for shoppers. It looks like a labyrinth at first sight but it's actually not that complicated. All you have to do is to keep your eyes on the main street (the jewelry street). The Bazaar was first constructed in 1464 with the order of Mehmed II 'the Conqueror' and had many restorations over the years due to the extensive fires and destructive earthquakes. There are tens of cafés, a police station, little mosques, tourists information points in the bazaar.
There are thousands of things you can find and purchase in the Grand Bazaar. You can find all kinds of stuff in the Bazaar, varying from Silk carpets to leather coats and from gold to fake brand T-shirts. The gate that one usually enters into the bazaar is called "Nuruosmaniye Gate" that means "the light of the Ottomans". That takes you directly to a shining street full of jewelry stores. Jewelry is one of the things could be purchased. Gold prices are not low but due to the lower workmanship costs, you may find a huge variety of gold, precious stones and semi precious stones like sapphire, ruby or emeralds at reasonable prices. Bargaining is a must. Before you purchase, it's recommended to ask more than 3-4 shops so that you can get the best price. The main street goes all the way up till the other exit and it's all full of jewelry stores. Covered bazaar is also known to be one of the most important gold markets in the world.
When you're walking on the streets in the Bazaar, some people might approach you and invite you to see their collections of carpets. They are commission-men but you may also reject them. They might seem insistent but if you don't care about them, they will go away. Carpet shops are usually spread out to smaller parallel streets and the purchasing decision is usually very hard. When you walk into a carpet shop, you're first offered coffee, tea or coke without any obligation of buying usually with a warm smile. The carpets are from several different regions of Turkey and the salesman tells about them one by one starting from less quality ones to higher quality ones (higher price of course!)
Covered Bazaar is definitely one of the must-sees of Istanbul, however you should be ready for the Hassle of shop owners. And I suggest not making any shopping from the street sellers .
|How to reach Covered Bazaar: Covered bazaar is very near to Beyazit square and also walking distance from Sultanahmet square. It is also on the route of Tram line. If you take a tram than you should get off at Beyazit square stop (1). Just walk a little backwards and you will see the road leading to the entrance of the Bazaar (2).. Walk along the shop and soon you will be in front of "Carsikapi" One of the main entrances of Covered bazaar. See map for detailed description.|
|Picture Gallery for Covered Bazaar|