The Grand Bazaar, or “Covered” Bazaar,” is the shopping bazaar to the world! Begun in 1455 as a series of separate bedestans, hans, kiosks and caravanserais (arcades and courtyards), it is one of the largest covered bazaars in the world, and the western terminus of the Silk Road. Its more than three thousand shops sell every item imaginable, from gold and antique jewelry, leather goods and clothing, ceramics, antiquities, artworks, and oriental carpets, costumes and textiles, old and new, from all points east, plus more. One of the great pleasures of Istanbul is to wander its corridors, chatting with vendors about their fabulous goods.
The Spice Market, also known as The Egyptian Market, located along the Golden Horn next to the Yeni , or “New” Mosque, was Istanbul’s premier source for wonderful local and foreign spices, and still is! Bags and cases of exotic colors, textures and scents confront the visitor to this smaller, L-shaped bazaar. Be sure to pick up some spices, dried fruits, vegetables and nuts to recreate your favorite Turkish cuisine at home. Shops in the Spice Bazaar now also sell textiles and souvenirs similar to those in the Grand Bazaar.