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Historical markets in the center of Istanbul: Grand, Egyptian, Arasta, Laleli, Mahmutpasa, Fish Market, European Passage

Istanbul is the largest city in Turkey, which has a rich and diverse history, as a result of which there are a large number of attractions in the city.

In addition, Istanbul, due to its location (in Europe and Asia), has been a place of intersection of trade routes since ancient times, which still makes the city a very popular shopping destination.

Local shopping streets and markets, which are called bazaars in Istanbul, constantly attract numerous tourists, and not only those who want to make purchases, but also all those who want to get acquainted with the culture and history of the city, because the main bazaars of Istanbul are also attractions.

Among all the bazaars of Istanbul, there are several particularly visited and famous ones that are located in the city center on the main tourist routes.

The "main" markets and shopping streets of Istanbul are located in the European part of the city.

Grand Bazaar and Mahmutpasha Bazaar

Grand Bazaar or Grand Bazaar (Kapalıçarşı / Kapalıçarshi) is a historical bazaar, which is one of the main attractions of the country, one of the oldest and largest markets in the world, as well as a symbol of Istanbul.

The birth of the Grand Bazaar was started in the winter of 1455-1556 by Sultan Mehmed II the Conqueror.

Today, the Grand Bazaar is world famous. It is visited by many tourists every year, thus the Grand Bazaar is one of the most crowded places in the world.

The bazaar has both a covered historical part with domed painted ceilings and an open part, which is located on nearby streets.

The range of goods sold at the Grand Bazaar is very large, although somewhat monotonous from shop to shop. These are mainly jewelry and jewelry, antiques, shoes, bags, leather and fur products, textiles and articles made of it (clothing), carpets, souvenirs, herbs and dried fruits, lamps, ceramics and wood products, tableware, hookahs, Turks, etc.

Restaurants, tea shops, coffee shops, hookah bars, ateliers and currency exchange offices are also located inside the Grand Bazaar.

The open part (street) of the Grand Bazaar includes, among others, the Mahmutpaşa clothing Bazaar, which is one of the most famous Turkish shopping streets in Istanbul and starts from the gate of the Mahmutpasha Grand Bazaar and stretches to Vasif Çınar Cad Street.

The Grand Bazaar is located on the European side of Istanbul, in the old part of the city, in the Fatih district. Learn more about the Grand Bazaar with photos, website, location and description...

Egyptian Bazaar

Egyptian Bazaar or Spice Bazaar (Mısır Çarşısı) It is also the historical bazaar of Istanbul, where trade is carried out mainly in sweets, spices, dried fruits and tea.

The market was opened in 1663-1664 and was intended for herbalists and cotton sellers. Then the bazaar was called "New Bazaar" (Yeni Çarşı) and "Valid Bazaar" (Valide Çarşısı).

In the middle of the 18th century, the bazaar was called the "Egyptian" or "Spice Bazaar", because spices brought from Egypt were traded there. Spices were supplied from India, Syria, Egypt and Arabia, and they were turned into essences, pills, powders and ointments that gave a pleasant smell to the beard and dishes.

Today it is the second most popular bazaar in the city, after the Grand Bazaar, which also has a closed with vaulted painted ceilings and an open part.

The Egyptian bazaar sells mainly foodstuffs, including Turkish sweets, dried fruits, nuts, olives, tea, coffee, herbs, spices, meat delicacies, etc.

There is also a restaurant, shops with jewelry, souvenirs, dishes, hookahs, soap, textiles and some other non-food products.

The Egyptian Bazaar is located on the European side of Istanbul, in the old part of the city, in the Fatih district, near Galata Bridge. Learn more about the Egyptian Bazaar with photos, website and description...

Arasta Bazaar

Arasta Bazaar (Arasta Çarşısı) is one of the oldest markets in Istanbul, which appeared in the 17th century and now represents one small shopping street nearBlue Mosque.

On both sides of the street there are cozy small shops selling things, spices, pottery, souvenirs, hookahs, sweets, etc. Learn more about the Arast Bazaar...

From the Arast Bazaar there is an exit to the Museum of mosaics of the Grand Palace (Büyük Saray Mozaikleri Müzesi) with an exposition of mosaics from the time of the Byzantine Empire (period 450-550 AD), discovered during excavations at the site of the Grand Palace of Constantinople.

Entrance to the museum is paid. Also in the mosaic museum there is a museum map of Istanbul (Museum Pass Istanbul) and a museum and tourist map Istanbul E-pass. More about the Museum of mosaics of the Grand Palace...

Laleli Bazaar (Russian Bazaar)

Laleli Bazaar, also called the Russian Bazaar (Laleli), is a clothing market where leather and fur products, shoes and copies of branded items are sold.

Today, the market is a shopping street (shopping district) with shops.

The market appeared back in the days of the Ottoman Empire, and received its second name "Russian" due to the fact that in the 90s visiting merchants from the former Soviet Union bought at this market.

Karakey Fish Market

The Karakoy Fish Market (Karaköy Balık Evi) is a very colorful place where fish and seafood are sold.

Most of all, this market is attractive to tourists because it has a cafe where you can taste fish and seafood dishes.

The market is located near the Galata Bridge and the Karaköy Istasyonu Ferry pier.

European Passage and Istiklal Street

The European Passage or Avrupa Pasajı (Europe Pass, Avrupa Pasajı) is a historical shopping gallery that has a mirrored arcade (Aynalı Pasaj) and is located in the Beyoglu district of Istanbul.

The passage is made in neoclassical style and was built by the Ottoman Armenian merchant Onnik Dyuz in 1874.

Today, there are 22 shops in the shopping center, with a predominance of souvenir shops, antiques, clothing, carpets and jewelry.

The passage is located near Istiklal Street, at the address: Hüseyinağa, Meşrutiyet Cd. No:8, 34435 Beyoğlu/Istanbul, Turkey.

Istiklal Caddesi Street is the most famous pedestrian shopping street in Istanbul, which attracts many tourists and locals.

Along the street in serried ranks stretch buildings, including the historic (mostly 19th - early 20th centuries), which are now, including museums, currency exchange offices, Nightclubs, cafes (including the famous dessert cafe with delicious baklava "Hafiz Mustafa 1864" / Hafız Mustafa 1864 Meydan), Kubanych, bars and restaurants, shops, including world-famous brands, boutiques and souvenir shops, as well as various accommodation facilities (hotels, apartments) booking

A historic red retro tram of the T2 line runs along the street, connecting Taksim Square and Tunel, where the Beyoğlu underground funicular station is located. More about Istiklal Street...

Khorkhor Flea Market

For lovers of antiquity, the HORHOR FLEA MARKET (HORHOR BITPAZARI FLEA MARKET), where antiques are sold, including furniture, dishes, chandeliers, can be suitable.

In this market, you need to be attentive to prices, because they may be overstated.

Market address: Iskenderpaşa, Horhor Cad./kırk Tulumba Sok. No:13, 34080 Fatih/Istanbul, Turkey.


In the markets of Istanbul, you need to be careful, because there are a lot of low-quality consumer goods. Although, it is quite possible to walk through the most famous bazaars, combining a trip to the bazaar with a visit to nearby attractions and, if desired, buy souvenirs. It is also necessary to bargain in the markets.

All accommodation facilities in Istanbul, including in the historical center of the city and more remotely from it, can be view and book here booking

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