Results 1-10of 23 Reviews
District of Columbia County, District of Columbia
August 27, 2013
From journal A Week in Turkey: Istanbul
London, England, United Kingdom
April 9, 2013
From journal Istanbul - Things to Do
Gravesend, United Kingdom
July 8, 2011
From journal Turkish delight 2
Amsterdam, North Holland, Netherlands
December 6, 2010
From journal Istanbul part 2
ashbourne, United Kingdom
March 23, 2010
From journal A short week in Istanbul
Newcastle upon Tyne, England, United Kingdom
April 11, 2009
From journal Istanbul - A Tale of Two Cities
New York, New York
February 14, 2002
A laundry list of my numerous purchases indicates what’s available:
* Dozens of glass medusa’s eyes (varying sizes)
* Turkish flag t-shirt
* Loose spices such as saffron and cumin
* Five spice sets (there are many varieties)
* Inlaid wood and mother of pearl backgammon set
* Two hookahs, one 3-foot bronze and one painted glass
* Two hanging lanterns (metal and fabric)
* Loose black and apple teas
* Various bracelets and earrings
* Two embroidered throw blankets with sewn-in mirrored pieces
AND (drum roll here)
* Two gorgeous handmade Turkish rugs!!
The endless rows of vendors call out in a deafening cacophony of such lines as "for you, special price!" or "I have many things beautiful like you," et cetera. The aggressive selling techniques are commonplace—it’s rare to go by a quiet stall or a passive vendor, unless the man is tired or on a break, say, during Friday prayer.
Which reminds me, Friday midday is a less hectic environment than usual. Many Muslims attend a Friday service, and inside the Grand Bazaar is no exception. There is a mosque on premises and the call to prayer is heard throughout the halls of the bazaar. At this time, you'll have less vendors to choose from than usual, but it is also a mellower scene and you can still buy anything you want, as so many booths sell very similar products.
Bargain to your heart's content! This is most definitely expected behavior, and the set prices and even the "special price just for you" are incredibly inflated. I bought a gorgeous, weighty, bronze hookah with calligraphic and vegetal designs for a fraction of what my "final" deal was to be. This occurred near closing, which is good trick to know: Salesmen will generally come down much farther in price by the end of the day as they either just really need to make a sale or sometimes because they more than made up for it by overcharging unsuspecting (or generous) patrons earlier in the day.
It also never hurts to hang out and befriend your salesmen. Not only might you get a couple really great deals, but also you'll learn a great lot about the business of the bazaar and about Istanbul itself. For the most part, I found the vendors respectful and very eager to talk and practice English. Many even served me apple tea and a few even had seats brought for my companions and me! They certainly won my loyal business by doing such things, but more importantly they enhanced my affinity for this extraordinary but crazy place.
From journal ISTANBUL: Inspiring (and Sometimes Irascible)
by Jim Rosenberg
May 23, 2004
From journal Istanbul: exotic and friendly -- a bargain, too!
March 1, 2004
A good way to arrive at the Grand Bazaar is to walk west along the tram tracks from the Sultanahmet area until you get to the Beyazit stop. Then cut north to enter the complex through one of its eighteen entrances. It is fun to wander around aimlessly even if you do not want to purchase anything, as you will see bright red Turkish flags draped all over the cavernous archways. The origins of the market date back to 1455, and the complex had been rebuilt many times over after several devastating earthquakes and fires. Nowadays the bazaar seems rather modern and civilized in here. I have been to bazaars and souks in Morocco and they seem to me much more frenetic and perhaps a bit more authentic than this one in Istanbul. Still, it is very interesting to check out the colorful maze of storefronts and stalls.
The Spice Bazaar (also the Egyptian Bazaar or Misir Carsisi), between the Grand Bazaar and the Galata Bridge, is much smaller but more fragrant and perhaps more exotic than its big brother. Located next to the Yeni Camii, the Spice Bazaar has an L-shaped layout and six entrances. A stroll through here is quite an experience for the eyes and the nose. Both the Grand Bazaar and the Spice Bazaar are closed on Sundays.
From journal Bill in Turkey - ISTANBUL
Santa ROsa, California
November 15, 2002
Almost the entire bazaar is covered, so it's a great place to go if it's raining, or too hot. If you still get too hot, just wander into any carpet shop and they will close the door and turn on the AC, plunging the small room into subarctic temperatures in no time at all.
The shops sell almost everything. What was missing (and what I much preferred about the Moroccan medina) were the craftsmen creating the goods. Nothing is made in the bazaar; it's all imported (sometimes even from Turkey) and just sold here.
Although all the guide books warned us about how hopelessly lost you will certainly get, we found this was totally not the case. Not only were there street signs and tourist information signs up everywhere, but the layout of the city is pretty straightforward, with many landmarks (like the old bazaar) helping to locate you when you get lost. But again, nothing (and I mean nothing) compares to the complexity and confusingness of the market in Fez!
The Grand Bazaar is an easy 10 minute walk up the tram tracks from Sultanahmet. It is another *must see* when visiting Istanbul.
Be prepared to haggle. They expect it. You should never buy something for more than 50% of the original asking price. As the day wears on, sales get better - especially if the shopkeepers have had a bad sales day. After we finally agreed on buying a carpet, we got into a great conversation with the shopkeeper - we talked to him for an hour after closing. It's a great opportunity to meet Turkish people. It was clear to us that their friendliness wasn't just a ploy to get us to buy, as it continued well after the sale, even when we made it clear that we wouldn't be back in Istanbul for a long time, if ever.
Although a lot of deals can be had, a lot of ripoff's can also be had. It's been said that the Grand Bazaar has the best and the worst of Turkish shopping, and I have to agree. Be aware of the prices and set expectations before you enter the bazaar.
From journal Istanbul (not Constantinople)