The Grand Bazaar, or Covered Bazaar (Kapaliçarsi) in Istanbul is a magical city within a city. With over 60 streets and more then 4400 shops, the world’s first mall is a buzzing hive of activity, catering to the shopping whims of the some 400,000 people who might visit it on a given day.
It also must meet the needs of the 25,000 shopkeepers who attend to them, and a couple of small mosques can be found tucked in between the many shops. Though built in the mid 1400’s, the bazaar as it stands today is much the result of an 1894 restoration, following an earthquake. While most of the Bazaar has been given over to tourist souvenirs, the heart of the bazaar, the Cevahir Bedesten, is filled with beautiful antiques. It is here one can find Minyatür’s Nautical Instruments shop.
A sort of steampunk emporium, it contains, among other items, innumerable sextants, globes, ship captain’s spy glasses, the brass weighted boots from an ancient diver’s outfit, and a bowl of “tiger tooths.”
Know Before You Go
Take a tram to Beyazit, Üniversite or Sirkeci.
The Grand Bazaar is around 15 minutes walk from the Aya Sofya/Blue Mosque area.
In the center of the bazaar is the antique section, Cevahir Bedesten.