Istanbul’s bazaars and marketplaces with their diversity, colour and crowds provide interest for everyone. The most well-known of the traditional bazaars is the Grand Bazaar, which attracts the attention of tourists and locals alike. The Grand Bazaar, located in Istanbul’s historic Beyazit district, is spread over a large area, has several entrances and houses 4,000 shops who welcome millions of visitors every day. The building of the Grand Bazaar is said to date as far back as the Roman period and its mystical aura fascinates visitors who can find everything they are looking for under one roof, from clothing, jewelry and handbags to hand-woven carpets. It also houses cafes and restaurants where you can rest and eat when you need a break from shopping. Within walking distance to the Grand Bazaar is the ‘Spice Bazaar’, which is one of Turkey’s most famous markets. There, you’ll find a wide variety of spices originating from the Asian and European trade route as well as a flower market, a fish market, ceramics and souvenirs sellers.
In addition to traditional venues, Istanbul has a wealthy array of modern shopping malls. Many of these malls are counted amongst Europe’s, and the world’s, largest malls and they offer a variety of shopping and recreation amenities for local workers and tourists.
For example, the Cevahir Shopping Mall in Mecidiyekoy is accepted as Europe’s second biggest shopping mall. It boasts a 2500-space car park, cinema, restaurant floors, recreational activities for children and adults, theater halls, and dozens of retail shops. The Zorlu Mall is located in Besiktas and, besides housing many famous designer brands, it also has a world-famous opera house which hosts spectacular shows and concerts. The Kanyon Shopping Mall in Şişli garners a lot of attention with its unique architecture. In addition to famous retail brands, Kanyon contains famous restaurants, a fitness center, a gym, health and cosmetics shops, hairdressing salons, home decor shops, book shops and a cinema complex. Meanwhile, the elegant Istiklal Street in Beyoglu offers an array of stores of every famous brand available and is a first choice for shoppers.
If you plan to buy antiques, secondhand items and old books while in Istanbul, it would be a good idea to check out the used-books sellers which can be found in almost every district around the city. A large number of old bookshops can be found in the historic Old Books Bazaar in the district of Beyazit. The Bazaar is located in a well-known historic locality and will certainly be a trip through history as you leisurely wander around the hundreds of booksellers. On the other hand, the districts of Beyoglu and Kadıkoy also have many good used-book shops which sell interesting items.
In addition to historical bazaars such as the Grand Bazaar, Istanbul’s street markets feature largely in local life as they are the main source of weekly produce shopping for households. Public street markets are set up on one specific day a week in a street within a community and sell fresh food produce as well as clothing and small household needs at reasonable costs. Local people are able to buy their fresh groceries on a weekly basis. Street markets are usually found in every neighborhood and appeal to the community by being within easy reach. Some of these markets sell quality items as well and are known as ”high society markets” by the public. Market vendors sell fresh vegetables, olives, cheeses and fruit. Well-known markets in Istanbul are the ‘Bahçelievler Society Market’, ‘Bakirkoy Zuhuratbaba Tuesday Market’, ‘Feriköy Organic Market’ and, the most famous, the ‘Historic Kadikoy Tuesday Market’.