KAPALI CARSI (GRAND BAZAAR)
During the Byzantine period the area of the Grand Bazaar was a trade center. After the Turks came to Istanbul, two bedestens which formed the essence of today’s Grand Bazaar were built between 1455-1461 by Sultan Mehmet the Conqueror in an attempt to enrich the economic life in the city. Later on as people needed more places for their trade, they also added parts outside these bedestens. In time the Grand Bazaar was formed.
Throughout the Ottoman period, the bazaar underwent earthquakes and fires and was restored several times.
Today, shops selling the same kind of merchandise tend to be congregated in their own streets or in hans as this was originally the Ottoman system. In addition to two bedestens there are also 13 hans in the Grand Bazaar.
With 18 entrances and more than four thousand shops it is one of the greatest bazaars in the World. The atmosphere of the Grand Bazaar is very interesting for tourists and has consequently become a very popular place for foreign visitors.
It is open during working hours on weekdays, closing earlier on Saturdays, while on Sundays and religious holidays it is closed.