Many have tried to describe the frenetic activity and indescribable atmosphere of Istanbul's Grand Bazaar, and few have found the words. Even novelist Mark Twain struggled to describe it when visited in the 19th century, saying: ‘We went to the Grand Bazaar in Stamboul, of course, and I shall not describe it further than to say it is a monstrous hive of little shops - thousands. I should say - all under one roof, and cut up into innumerable little blocks by narrow streets which are arched overhead.’
Hunt your way through 4,000 curious shops scattered throughout 64 narrow, meandering streets, crossed with 22 gates as you attempt to navigate the one and only Grand Bazaar. Kapaliçar?i, as it is in Turkish, indeed resembles a life-sized labyrinth. Therefore, this is no ordinary shopping tour! But instead, an adventurous journey of secret, surprises, and sensory overload!
Our tour progresses through a multitude of merchants selling quality handmade leather goods, delectable sweets, tasty dried fruit and pungent spices. Delicate jewellery and glassware glitter, and lovingly crafted pottery, woven fabrics, belly dancing costumes, T-shirts and all sorts of souvenirs tempt you to loosen your purse strings.
Watch as gold is melted before you over an open fire, in centuries-old fashion, at a hidden workshop. See expert craftsmen fix degrees onto carats and artisans engraving silver. Despite your complete disorientation, you will finally exit the Grand Bazaar - but we guarantee you will not be empty-handed!
Meeting/pick-up point: Hotel reception.
Duration: Four hours.
Start/opening time: At 1-1.30pm.
End/closing time: At 5-5.30pm.