Love Shopping? I Have a Grand Bazaar for You

This is one of the neatest places to go in Istanbul if you like to shop and haggle, and even if not, it is still quite impressive by its sheer scale in size and offerings.  You can almost picture business going on here for centuries!  The bazaar is huge – it is a veritable maze of over 60 covered streets and 3,000 shops.  How is that versus hanging out at a mall in the U.S.?  Yes, not the same thing.

The Grand Bazaar came to be into its current form over a couple of centuries – it evolved and was added to over time and now it is close to 550 years old.  Fortunately for us visitors, it sits in a perfect spot with key sites all around it – almost a ground zero for the visitor checking out the places to see in Istanbul:  Topkapi Palace, the Hagia Sophia and some of the mosques including the Blue Mosque.

Grand Bazaar, shopping, Istanbul, Estambu, Turkey, Turkiye, Turquia, photo, travel, Canon EOS Rebel

Arcade in the Grand Bazaar

I, not a fan of shopping, actually enjoyed walking around and seeing all the goods on offer, getting lost in the maze along the way.  I even ran into some sort of informal “pit” of trading in something:  guys on cell phones, maybe 8-10 of them, exchanging money around.  Pretty cool!

Finally, some advice:  haggle is the name of the game; it is expected in fact – so don’t be shy.  Pay no more than half of what they originally asked but go for less if you can!

Please note that it is closed on Sundays.

Going Under in Istanbul

I have shared in other posts about the incredible Hagia Sophia, Topkapı Palace, and the beautiful mosques of Istanbul – definite must-sees in that great city.  But be aware, right under your feet could be some of the remnants of good ole Roman engineering:  the cisterns of Istanbul.

Old cities tend to have lots of hidden secrets.  Many of them are hidden simply because they are underground.  Istanbul is no different except most cities’ hidden structures are not even close to being around 1,500 years old.  Istanbul’s cisterns are.  The best known and largest of the underground cisterns in Istanbul is called the Basilica Cistern because a basilica had stood at that location.  The cisterns in Istanbul are part of a system that brings water from outside the city via aqueducts – all evidence of the well-known Roman engineering.

Istanbul, Turkey, Turkiye, Turquia, cistern, Basilica Cistern, columns, architecture, travel, photo, Canon EOS Rebel

The Basilica Cistern

The Basilica Cistern is not far from the Hagia Sophia and is well worth a visit.  I felt like I had walked into a flooded underground church.  The cisterns used to be visited by boat but at some point, platforms were built for the visitors to explore them.  Most of the materials used in the cistern, including the 300-odd columns holding up the ceiling, were re-used from structures elsewhere.  That includes the bases of two columns carved with the image of Medusa.  Of course, everyone knows not to look at Medusa in the eyes so the builders placed the bases sideways or upside down to protect innocent visitors who may dare gaze into her eyes…

Istanbul, Turkey, Turkiye, Turquia, cistern, Basilica Cistern, Medusa, architecture, travel, photo, Canon EOS Rebel

I rotated this photo so you wouldn’t have to rotate your device 🙂

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