Bazaars of Istanbul – exuding history and the colors of life

Author

Bazaars of Istanbul – exuding history and the colors of life

During your visit to Istanbul, the bazaars are, of course, an obvious experience that you must encounter. They are full of colorful, fragrant, variegated and energetic life - that is, everything that you cannot experience at all in, for example, my home country of Finland. But did you know how many different types of bazaars you can find in Istanbul? Or that the locals also go to the bazaars?

Bazaars are an endless source of smiles, joy and inspiration for me. Just as we need calm in our lives, on the other hand, we also need the wild and crazy energy of life – the balance is important. And in the bazaars you really find the taste of life!

Color energy of glass lamps.

This topic is endlessly broad and I cannot cover it sufficiently in this short post, but you can still see examples of different bazaar areas through the photos and short videos.

Tea sets and coffee pots in Grand Bazaar in Istanbul.
Do you need a new tea set or a coffee pot?

The locals find my passionate delight in bazaars amusing, because bazaars are everyday routine for them. But they mostly go to the vegetable, spice and fish bazaars, whereas I go everywhere.

One of the many entrances to the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul: gate number 1.
One of the many entrances to the Grand Bazaar: gate number 1
Grand Bazaar in Istanbul, Turkey.
The streets of the Grand Bazaar really exude history. The construction work of this bazaar started in 1455 and it reached its final form after many stages in the early 17th century. The Grand Bazaar is considered the world’s first shopping mall. The atmosphere is unique.
Grand Bazaar in Istanbul, Turkey.

The most famous bazaars in Istanbul are located on the European side, in the Fatih district, the Spice Bazaar (Mısır Çarşısı) and the Grand Bazaar (Kapalıçarşı) and the enormous outdoor bazaar area in between. But this is mainly for tourists, so I hope you explore the bazaar areas elsewhere as well.

The square and the entrance to the Spice Bazaar in Istanbul.
One of my favorite squares in Istanbul, where you can also see one of the entrances to the Spice Bazaar.
Spice Bazaar on the European side.
The tea selection of the bazaar in Istanbul.
The tea selection is amazing, and at the same time also visually beautiful.

You can find a bazaar almost everywhere in Istanbul, as long as you don’t walk past it without noticing it. The doorway is often small and inconspicuous, but a surprisingly large area of shops opens behind it. It is good to note that, in addition to the Turkish word “çarşı”, “pasajı” often means a bazaar-type shopping center (the word for a modern giant mall is “alışveriş merkezi”).

European Bazaar (Avrupa Pasajı) in Beyoğlu in Istanbul.
European Bazaar (Avrupa Pasajı) in Beyoğlu.

Both outdoor and indoor areas are called bazaars and often they specialize in a certain type of product.

Kadıköy outdoor bazaar on the Asian side of Istanbul.
Kadıköy outdoor bazaar on the Asian side.
Fish bazaar in Kadıköy.

In addition, bazaars can appear suddenly as if out of nowhere. For example, in our neighborhood, Friday is bazaar day, when vegetable sellers from the countryside spread out into our nearby streets, turning our neighborhood into a bazaar for one day. So the cars give way to the vegetables. A great idea, such healthy and fresh food is easily available.

You can buy, for example, a baby chicken at the outdoor bazaar in our neighborhood. In Istanbul, even in the urban areas, many families have chickens, so that the family’s egg production is secured. So you will unexpectedly also see free-roaming chickens on crowded streets.

As a small tip, I would say that you should be alert in every way in the bazaars in the tourist areas. And be aware of your location and your direction, because in these maze-like streets you usually can’t navigate using the internet – and the areas are larger than you imagine. In tourist areas, prices are negotiable so it’s normal to barter. And you can calm the overzealous sellers down either by answering in Turkish or by telling them that you live with your family in Istanbul.

The selection of the Grand Bazaar is wide and the streets are labyrinthine. There are a total of 61 covered streets and around 4,000 shops.
A gold shop in the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul.
If you have money and wish to bathe in gold, there are shopping opportunities in the Grand Bazaar for this purpose as well.

In other bazaar areas, you will not be bothered much; this is part of Turkish polite manners. In these areas of the locals, I recommend leaving fair tips instead of bartering, this way you directly support bazaar merchant families from whom the difference in the value of money threatens to take away their livelihoods. In fact, it is impolite to bargain during these times. You get a lot from the bazaars, so you can also give a lot if you want – even with small actions.

The entrance to the Tahtakale bazaar area on the European side of Istanbul.
The entrance to the Tahtakale bazaar area on the European side.
Tahtakale bazaar street.
Ovens on Tahtakale´s bazaar street in Istanbul.
You can buy, for example, an oven on Tahtakale bazaar street.

Have an adventurous bazaar day!

Share this post

Read my other posts

Bazaars of Istanbul – exuding history and the colors of life

During your visit to Istanbul, the bazaars are, of course, an obvious experience that you must encounter. They are full of colorful, fragrant, variegated and energetic life - that is, everything that you cannot...

Bosphorus Cruise – experience the most beautiful Istanbul

Encounters with street animals

Restaurant Villa Bosphorus – a visual feast with delicacies of the sea

Bazaars of Istanbul – exuding history and the colors of life

During your visit to Istanbul, the bazaars are, of course, an obvious experience that you must encounter. They are full of colorful, fragrant, variegated and energetic life - that is, everything that you cannot...

Bosphorus Cruise – experience the most beautiful Istanbul

Encounters with street animals

Follow SHS in social media!

Thank you very much for your interest!

By following me in social media you’ll get to know the wonders of Istanbul and dive into the adventures via my latest posts!