The precursor to the modern mall, Istanbul's Grand Bazaar (or Kapalıçarşı) is among the largest covered markets in the world. It has been an important trading center since the mid-fifteenth century. Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent oversaw a vast enlargement of the bazaar in the 16th century. Today there are more than 5,000 shops attracting 250,000 visitors daily.
Even if you don't want to buy anything, the Grand Bazaar is definitely worth a visit. The atmosphere is a throwback to the past. If you do want to buy something remember to barter! There are a huge variety of goods available, including antiques, jewelry, gold, silver, carpets, furniture, souvenirs, and spices. The bazaar may seem disorganized, but the shops are often grouped by specialty. The most valuable goods are found near the Cevahir Bedesten domed hall near the center. There are also lots of places to grab a bite or some coffee.
The Grand Bazaar is located in the heart of Sultanahmet. The Beyazıt-Kapalıçarşı tram station is close by. It's just a fifteen minute walk from both Hagia Sophia and the Blue Mosque.
Hours: Open Monday through Saturday 09:00-19:00
Admission: No admission.