The Grand Bazaar

Dating back to 1455, the Grand Bazaar is one of the oldest and largest covered markets (shopping malls) in the world, with 61 covered streets and over 4,000 shops on a total area of 30,700 square meters. Initially, the Bazaar consisted of ‘dolaps’ or ‘stalls’ about 6 to 8 feet wide and 3 to 4 feet deep, where merchants displayed their goods and offered prospective customers a drink of tea or turkish coffee while they explored the products offered. At the end of the day, each stall was covered with drapes.

Over time, traders of certain types of goods concentrated in one area, resulting in different sections of the Bazaar focused on jewelry, sandal goods, the silk trade, spices, and a shoe market, where thousands of shoes of different colors were displayed, as Ottoman laws prescribed yellow shoes for Muslims, blue for Greek Orthodox, black for Jews and red for Armenians. It was only after the restoration of the market following the earthquake in 1804 that the Grand Bazaar developed shops similar to those found in the western world.

Today, the Grand Bazaar is one of the most visited tourist attractions in the world, with between 250,000 to 400,000 visitors daily!


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