Almost every visitor to Istanbul heads to the iconic shopping centre, the Grand Bazaar, which is worth a visit not just for the various attractive bargains on a whole host of products, but is also a magnificent heritage building.
Thus as tourism revival races ahead in Turkiye, the number of visitors to this historical trade centre has also registered a quantum jump. According to a press statement, a total of 39,766,801 people visited the Grand Bazaar in 2022.
Spread over an area of over 30,000 sqm, it has over 4,000 shops lining its 61 covered streets, making it one of the largest covered traditional markets in the world.
Located between Nuruosmaniye, Mercan and Beyazıt in İstanbul, the history of the Grand Bazaar dates to the middle of the 15th century. Within the scope of the Ottoman-era foundation system that covered almost all socio-economic and cultural life, structures such as bazaars were built near religious and other social and charitable sites to meet such needs as maintenance and repair costs.
The foundation of the Grand Bazaar, one of the most important landmarks in İstanbul, was laid in 1461 with the structures erected by Fatih Sultan Mehmet to bring income to Hagia Sophia. The Grand Bazaar, which became the region’s most important trade centre over time, has started to serve as an important financial centre where jewels and precious metals from all over the world are traded. According to the press statement, this magnificent structure with a labyrinthine interior features shops selling all kinds of products from textiles to antiques and has been a destination for shopping for centuries. The Grand Bazaar, a covered complex that resembles a small city with a daily circulation of thousands of employees and shoppers, started welcoming visitors to its renewed structure after the restoration last year.
The number of visitors to the Grand Bazaar rose by almost 56 pc from 25.5 million in 2021, to approximately 40 million in 2022. A total of 200,000 Indians were also among the visitors in 2022.
The Grand Bazaar has undergone several renovations by famous architects, including Sarkis Balyan, after various fires and earthquakes. Historically and culturally important, the Grand Bazaar – Kapalıçarşı in Turkish – has a prominent place in literature, travelogues, and art, and continues to draw attention as one of the most visited historical bazaars in the world.
The statement adds that a visit to the Grand Bazaar offers a chance to breathe the historical air of İstanbul and to observe its economic dynamics, in other words, to experience all of İstanbul through a bazaar. A search for the perfect item is likely to result in a fascinating stroll through the winding streets and passages of the Grand Bazaar, coming across numerous cafes and restaurants as well as enchanting shops.