The Grand Bazaar is one of the oldest and largest covered markets in the world! It is comprised of over 3,000 shops spanning 61 covered streets. The Grand Bazaar used to be where the locals did all of their shopping, but today it is basically a tourist trap attracting up to 400,000 visitors a day. But it is a fabulous tourist trap! As soon as you enter, you are overwhelmed with sights, sounds, smells and even tastes (as shop owners quickly offer you samples of their tasty Turkish Delight!). You can probably find better deals elsewhere, but it is an experience that you shouldn’t pass up. Even if you don’t plan to buy anything, it is fun just to walk around and take it all in. The place is huge and you could easily get lost inside. Rob and I barely scratched the surface, but I feel like we got a good taste of what the bazaar had to offer.
One of my favorite parts was all of the lamp shops. I thought these mosaic lamps were absolutely beautiful! I didn’t end up buying one, but I definitely enjoyed looking at them (and apparently photographing them as Rob harassed me for taking yet another lamp photo over and over again!).
It is quite easy to get sucked into the shops that sell Turkish Delight. This stuff is well deserving of its name (DELIGHTFUL!). Clearly, Rob is the proverbial “kid in a candy shop!” (The shop owner was smiling because Rob actually paid him full price without even an attempt to barter!) Rob’s shopping privileges were put on probation after that.
The bazaar is filled with fabulous aromas from a wide variety of spices and teas. We didn’t buy either, but it made for some colorful photography.
The bazaar has an abundance of textile shops as well. You can find clothes, scarves, and carpets…and everything in between. Rob and I were thinking about buying a few scarves as gifts, so I took the lead on bargaining. The shop owner refused to drop his price below a certain point which led to me leaving the store a total of 3 times. He chased after us a couple of times and managed to get us back in to the shop, but then held steady on his price. It was a time-consuming process, but eventually he agreed to my price. Needless to say, the shop owner was happy to have made a sale, but he did not have the same shit-eating grin as Mr. Turkish Delight! Rob decided that the good cop/bad cop scenario worked best for our bargaining purposes. I don’t think there is really any need to point out which one of us was the bad cop. : )
I could have easily spent a lot more time at the bazaar, but my patrol partner has a much shorter attention span when it comes to shopping. All in all, he was a really good sport and we picked up a few nice things.