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Tuesday 2 October 2007

Top Ten Sights in Istanbul – No. 4: Kapali Çarşi & Mesir Çarşisi

If you Google for 'Grand Bazaar,' you'd probably end up with Kapali Çarşi (Grand Bazaar) on the top 10 of the search list. There are probably more than a thousand shops and stalls in the labyrinth-like streets with painted vaults of the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul.

As according to some sources on the Internet, there are 4,400 shops with 25,000 relentless shopkeepers on their quest to lure you into buying their merchandises.

These are the chimney-like structures on a building near to the Grand Bazaar.

There are many entrances to Grand Bazaar, but the two most convenient gateways are Çarşikapi Gate and Nuruosmaniye Gate. I entered Grand Bazaar through the latter.

The Nuruosmaniye Gate (Nuruosmaniye Kapisi).

The signboards are as good as nothing in the intertwining streets and all the painted vaults look the same. Therefore, it is impossible to have a landmark to navigate through the streets.

One of the many streets with painted vaults.

The main street of Grand Bazaar, Kalpakcilarbasi Street with jewelry stores lining on both sides.

A narrow street inside the Grand Bazaar where there are cafés awaiting for the tired shoppers and non-shoppers at the end of the street.

A row of tabs at a common washing basin.

No matter whether you are a shopper or non-shopper, you will be surprised by the abundance of things that you can find and buy here. You can find things ranging from apple tea to rugs to zinc-coated wares.

The Turkish delights for those with sweet tooth.

More Turkish delights. Anyone?

Some ceramic bowls for your home décor. Some may find it too beautiful to eat out of.

A ceramic plate with the motifs of whirling dancers at a Sema ritual.

These are called the Devil's eyes. It is not unique to Turkey though, you may find it in Thailand as well.

A rug with blue flower pattern. I was asked to buy this after taking the photo but I got away with it, haha.

A tea set for serving the fruit tea, especially apple tea.

Belly dancing costumes for those who fancy it.

After I have explored enough of the Grand Bazaar, I headed to Mesir Çarşisi, more known to tourists as the Spice Bazaar. It is also known as the Egyptian Bazaar sometimes. The L-shape Spice Bazaar is not as enormous as the Grand Bazaar, but the shops here sell very interesting things too, especially the local delights.

The main building of the Spice Bazaar.

There are only two narrow vaulted streets inside the Spice Bazaar connected into an L-shape.

Colourful spices and all kinds of flavoured tea leaves.

Shop after shops selling the spices and tea leaves.

Another shop selling spices and the local produce and delights.

Chunks of Turkish delights awaiting to be sliced and sold.

The self-acclaimed 'Mahathir Shop' as the shopkeeper claimed that Tun Dr. Mahathir only bought things from his shop, nowhere else.

Apart from food stuff, some other souvenir stuff can also be found at the Spice Bazaar.

I really had a good time roaming the streets of the two bazaars, looking at the colourful merchandises. It would be more fun if I were a shopper, but I only window shop and snap with my camera.

If you would like to read more of my travelogues on Istanbul, here are the links:-


Greg Wee said...

Hey CK,
Alright Turkish Delights!!! You should do a whole blog on that!

CK Ng said...

Hehe, good things have to be lightly tasted. Too much of it will cause overshot in sugar level. Haha! :D

Terri @ A Daily Obsession said...

now i'm sure i must go to istanbul! d ceramics!d mosiacs!d bazaars!d colorful turkish delights!wow, u've really captured d essence of istanbul; i feel excited just going thru ur pics. is it costly to tour there?

CK Ng said...

Hi Terri, thanks for the compliments. :) I'm glad that I've taken you through an armchair tour of Istanbul. The hotel I stayed in was USD30 per night, with two single beds, within walking distance to most of the sights that I've posted. A decent meal costs around RM30~50. A 1.5-litre bottle of drinking water is around RM2~3. Public transport is quite cheap, around RM2~3 per trip on tram or Metro. I hope those information helps in your planning. :)

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