While in Istanbul, we had the chance to visit both the Grand Bazaar and the Spice Bazaar, the two primary markets here. Both had so much to offer – too much in fact that it becomes overwhelming. And yet at the same time, it was so much fun to meander around the markets here.
The Grand Bazaar is the oldest and largest covered market in the world!! Built in the mid 1400s shortly after the Ottomans took over Constantinople, the Grand Bazaar is comprised of more than 60 streets and approximately 3600 vendor. The tough part about having that many vendors though is that you often see the same products over and over again – how do you figure out which ones are the best? The other challenge is that the vendors are constantly trying to hustle you into their stores to buy products – there is so much competition that this must be the best way to survive in this type of environment. I hate feeling pressured so I did my best to ignore them, but then felt rude doing so. However, we now have 80 euros worth of apple tea so I guess I didn’t do a good job of not succumbing to the pressure!
The Spice Bazaar was much smaller by comparison to the Grand Bazaar with only about 85 shops but still an impressive site to behold and also one of the largest markets in the city. It makes you realize just how huge the Grand Bazaar is! The Spice Bazaar was built around 1660 so much “newer” as well – if you can define almost 400 years old being new! Apparently in recent years, some of the spice vendors have been replaced with other non-spice businesses – a shame if you ask me.
It was fun checking out both markets during our visit and getting to sample some of the goods – we’ve got a lot of apple tea, Turkish Delight and assorted candies coming back to the Netherlands with us!
Knuffels en kussen,