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One of the largest and oldest market dating back to 1461, the Grand Bazaar is still a world of its own with many traditions that have remained unchanged over the centuries. There are approximately 4000 shops, arranged in sections that resemble villages, many antique fountains, mosques, a police station, a small stock market, restaurants, craftsmen’s workshops and many splendid Caravansaries. Over its lifetime, the Grand Bazaar has survived several fires and earthquakes, despite many parts being constructed in wood and the precarious web of electrical cables strung up all round!
In spite of the downturn in tourism, this market is still vibrant and packed with characteristic wares. In the main streets you can find gold, fabrics, carpets, leather and knock-off bags, whilst the back streets are a maze of sellers of antiques, jewellery, silks, lamps, scarves, ethnic and artistic items, copper, handmade silver and much more.
Our guide, IWI Partner Monica Fritz, has been exploring the alleys of the Bazaar for 20 years and, despite knowing it like the back of her hand, she is constantly discovering new secrets. Join her to experience a different kind of Christmas shopping – from original Orientalist antique paintings, to colourful trinkets, the Bazaar has something for every budget and most tastes.
The art of bargaining starts with a tea, and is delicate at times, based on intuition and charm. It can also bring laughter and a happy ending. In a group we need patience, we can learn from each other, discover some interesting places and have fun bargaining.
There will be an optional lunch at the end.
© International Women of Istanbul 2017