There are many number of bazaars in Istanbul. Most of them are packed with tourist and locals and still housed in old buildings. Being in the Old Town, I found 3 bazaars during my walk and each of them has their own charm. And sure thing I have to go to the biggest – most famous – and supposedly the oldest one.
On my first day, I walked the 25 minutes from my hotel to the Grand Bazaar. I was in awe. The roads to go there are easy to maneuver and it’s like everybody is going there. Braving the cold, I was so excited when I finally saw the gate of the bazaar. It is huge! It is so big that you wouldn’t missed it.
I entered the bazaar with high spirit to conquer. With my huge bag and several rolled-up shopping bag, I began walking from one of the entrance. The bazaar is said to be one of the oldest and it’s like being transported back in to time. High ceilings are decorated in red, white, blue, & yellow. A few tears here and there, that made it even more lovely. The place is filled with tiny couloirs that made it seemed like a maze to a newbie visitor come moi. With more than 3K shops, I started to get startled. How am I supposed to go through all of them with such little time? And there are so many people around.
Slightly dazed, I suddenly found an aisle with ceramics store. It definitely caught my eye. The thing is I am bit crazy for all things hand made ceramics, I sort of wished I could take them all home. The ceramics were all vibrant in color with the Turkish type pattern and even a few quirky ones. The vendors are more than happy to show you all their products, show you how strong it is. But never forget to bargain. Bargain! Bargain! Bargain! It definitely can be a huge steal because you can get mostly everything ½ the price from what they originally asked for.
For me, this is my happy place! everything from cups, glass, bowl, vases and everything are all there. The price goes as low as 10 turkish lira for the small items. But can sure go through the roof for large decorative items with intricate painting. Just don’t forget to ask them to bubble wrap everything. And if you shop a huge load of them, they can even shipped them to your doorstep.