Istanbul: The Grand Bazaar.

When I booked my accommodations for Istanbul, I intentionally decided to stay in the Old Town part of the city, rather than the more modern side. It's because I wanted to be able to walk to the key attractions in the city... Which in this case is a lot of very old stuff. I also wanted to be close to the Grand Bazaar.

"Oh you must go to the Grand Bazaar," my friend, Frogger, told me. She'd heard great things about it, and knew that while it was "touristy"... It was something one has to see when in Istanbul.

The Grand Bazaar is a covered marketplace that has been operating for over 500 years. Over 200,000 people visit it each day. And it is filled with over 3,000 little shops/stalls. So it's easy to get lost in it. 

I also had read that it is quite easy to be intimidated in it. That the shop owners are quite aggressive at giving you a sales pitch. And that there are all kinds of rules for negotiating when you want to buy something. I had even read that if you're female, you shouldn't go in there alone.

I can tell you first hand what a load of crap that last one is. I am female. I went in alone. And no one bothered me at all. I had a very good experience exploring the place. 

The entrance isn't like that of any shopping mall in the US...


In fact, you could be walking down a street, and not realize you've walked into the place. I was expecting a crowded marketplace with all kinds of chaos. But...


For a mid-day afternoon, it was not too crazy at all. And the shops were similar to being in a mall... Little shops, though.

What kept pulling me in and "wowing" me, though, was the ceiling.


In fact, all throughout Istanbul, I couldn't get enough of the tile work. Especially on ceilings. It was so beautiful. So colorful.

Also colorful...


Were the spice stores. Bins and bins of teas and spices...


And the textiles and cloth materials...



Many vendors had the same things. And they were grouped close by each other. I wanted so badly to buy a scarf. But I really had no need. Tempting though.

I was fascinated by the more unusual objects that are so foreign to the context of my life in the US. Like these grinders...


Ornately sculpted metal... All for grinding spices.

Also tempting were the oils...


I use essential oils all the time at home in the States, for various conditions. But none of my little vials look anything like this.

And the ceramics...


I loved the ceramic work in Istanbul. Turkish coffee cups especially. And tiles.

There were even "luxury" goods at the Grand Bazaar...


Ha!

Very much fake. But if you wanted an Hermes Bikrin bag, Louboutin heels., or a YSL clutch bag... You could find it.

My most favorite thing of all in the shops of Istanbul (inside and outside of the Grand Bazaar) were the lighting fixtures...


So gorgeous. Done by hand. I was in love.


I wanted one so badly. But refused to allow myself to even ask the price of anything. Even this gorgeous coral number...


I only had a carry-on. Buying anything too big just wasn't going to happen.

I ended up buying nothing in the Grand Bazaar. But I spent a good two hours walking around the place and looking at so much. I even managed to use the exit that I came through to get into the place.


This is absolutely a "must-see" in Istanbul.