The Grand Bazaar (or Covered Bazaar, in Turkish ‘Kapalicarsi’ means(“Covered Bazaar”)) in European side of Istanbul is one of the largest covered market in the world with more than 58 streets and 4,000 shops, and has between 250,000 and 400,000 visitors daily, located in Beyazit, Eminonu. It is well known for its jewelry, pottery, spice, and carpet shops. Many of the stalls in the bazaar are grouped by type of goods, with special areas for leather coats, gold jewelry and the like.

Its Layout:

The bazaar contains two bedestens (domed masonry structures built for storage and safe keeping), the first of which was constructed between 1455 and 1461 by the order of Sultan Mehmet the Conquerer. The bazaar was vastly enlarged in the 16th century, during the reign of Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent, and in 1894 underwent a major restoration following an earthquake.

The Major Sections are:

Inner Bedesten : It was the first building to rise in Kapalicarsi, actually it is the Old Bedestan which forms the backbone of the bazaar. The names of the gates are: Bouquinistes, Hat Shops, Jewelry Shops and Costume Shops.Sandal Bedesten : It has the most number of domes in Kapalicarsi. At present it can be accessed through two gates, one is through the main gate and the other is through the Nuruosmaniye district.

Other sections of the Grand Bazaar:

The architectural design of the roads making up other sections apart from the two bedestens is not symmetrical and geometrical; it has a scattered nature due to its formation which took many centuries with new parts being added. In this way, it stays away from the closed bazaar style of the West and has a character of an Oriental bazaar. This laid back settlement and scattered nature prevents the bazaar from being dull, and at the same time gives it a romantic flavour. Such a complicated structure and settlement not only maintains the monumental state of the bazaar, but also makes it a palace for shopping.Grand BazaarThe Grand Bazaar has four main gates situated at the ends of its two major streets which intersect near the southwestern corner of the bazaar. One street combines the 106 Bayezid II Mosque and Bayezid Square with Nuruosmaniye Mosque.

How to go: There is tram from Eminonu to Grand Bazaar.