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Written by Swathi Sankar on August 24, 2022 Share on


Hagia Sophia Mosque, Istanbul
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In today’s world, Istanbul is a megacity with 14 million residents. Its growth has been densely populous since the 20th century. Istanbul is a major city in Turkey that straddles between Asia and Europe. The city is well known for its historical and cultural monuments, stunning infrastructures, breathtaking views and whatnot. Over the years, Istanbul has also been a remarkable point of trade and commerce. All this dates back to the construction of the Grand Bazaar in the 14th century. Let’s now find out what’s all the buzz behind the Grand Bazaar, Istanbul.


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The grand bazaar was constructed in the year 1455 under the command of Sultan Mehmed II in the Ottoman era. The main purpose behind this construction was so that, the merchants would be able to sell their goods, in order to accrue income for the Ayasofya mosque. It was ordered to be built as two stone domed buildings (Bedesten) and was named Cevahir and Sandal respectively. The last and final bedesten built in the second half of the 15th century was quite outside the historical peninsula, named Galata. Very soon, the grand bazaar became a central landmark of commercial activities. Towards the end of the 16th century, numerous shops and stalls had cropped all over the Bedestens.

Despite several natural disasters such as fires, earthquakes plus minor repairs and maintenances over the years, the grand bazaar is stepping onto the 567th year as of 2022. We all have to take a minute to admire and appreciate, the withstanding capacity of this magnificent architecture.

Grand Bazaar, Istanbul
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Owning an area of approximately 30.7 Sq km, the grand bazaar is the roof for over 4000 shops at 61 streets, four fountains and two mosques. Can we all agree that it is indeed confusing and hectic to maintain the pace, to move around the place? Hence, here’s a short guide below that has all the details on where to find the exact commodities that you are looking for! Let’s keep you advised on the same!


In order to buy valuable commodities such as jewellery, antiques, copper wares and cutleries is available at this bedesten right from the earlier times. Of late, there are a lot of other items such as carpets, quilts/rugs and textiles equally found. There is a wide variety of goods such as old watches to modern artworks. If you’re a religious person, then this is just the perfect place as it has rosaries as well as handmade Iznik tiles too.

How to find Cevahir Bedesten?

The Cevahir bedesten is the first building that forms the main core of the grand bazaar. It is very easy to locate this Bedesten. This is so because it is located right at the centre of the Grand Bazaar. It can be best and easily reached by taking a tram.

Stalls at the Cevahir bedesten, Grand Bazaar Istanbul
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In the earlier times, the sandal bedesten represented itself as an auction space for the use of Istanbul City Council. Over the years, it has diversified stalls of cloth materials such as sarees, shawls, scarfs and so on. In fact, you can find several vendors specialising in the making of tassels, a form of knitting. The bedesten is well known for the never ending ethnicity.

How to find sandal bedesten in Grand Bazaar, Istanbul ?

The sandal bedesten is located towards the centre most portion of the Grand Bazaar. There are 20 domes, surrounding this bedesten. The interesting part with the sandal bedesten is that it is a building within a building. It has separate entrance and exit points.

Scarfs stalls at Sandal Bedesten
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The Galata bedesten is a reflection of commercial relations and the functions of the grand bazaar. The Galata district is positioned as an international commercial centre. This is so because the assembling of goods purchased takes place at this bedesten only. There are around 9 domes supporting this bedesten. The cheapest way to reach the grand bazaar from Galata tower is just 15 minutes by tram.

Galata Tower, Istanbul
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The bazaar, which has managed to stay across different cultures, beliefs and occupations within the structure since the beginning of its construction is not an easy deal. The diversity of shopkeepers inside Istanbul bedestens has significantly decreased today. The tradesmen who operated from the Cevahir and Sandal bedestens included Jewish, Rum (Ottoman Greek), Armenian and European merchants.

More than 3,00,000 -5,00,000 people visit the shops and stalls every day. An annual turnover of 2 billion is calculated under by the produces of the shops. 85 percent amounts to the revenue generated by foreign tourists. It is truly fascinating to understand that bedestens played an important role in the growth of Istanbul majorly.

What are you waiting for ?

Istanbul is always a city that is famous for its mosques, vibrant nightlife and beaches. The kirks and towers, ottoman palaces and plazas always make the city extra beautiful. But, there’s a lot more to Istanbul than this. A visit to the grand bazaar will definitely change your ideology of shopping to a great extent.

No matter how long it takes, some places can never really be replaced. One such special place is undoubtedly the grand bazaar. Be it for the weather or attractions, Istanbul is a city that has to be under your ‘never miss’ list. So when are you planning to pick your trail and plan your Istanbul holiday packages with us?

Nightlife at Istanbul
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