For the shopaholics of the world, a visit to Istanbul is not complete without a stop at the Grand Bazaar. Its 5,000 shops stretch along 60 streets and feature an incredible variety of exotic goods. It's one of the largest covered shopping places in the world...and also one of the oldest! If Christmas hasn't satisfied your enthusiasm for shopping, then perhaps you are a good candidate for the Grand Bazaar.
Mark Twain visited it on his extended trip to the Holy Land, and the place is much the same today as it was when he penned this description:
We went to the Great Bazar 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. One street is devoted to a particular kind of merchandise, another to another, and so on. When you wish to buy a pair of shoes you have the swing of the whole street— you do not have to walk yourself down hunting stores in different localities. It is the same with silks, antiquities, shawls, etc. The place is crowded with people all the time, and as the gay-colored Eastern fabrics are lavishly displayed before every shop, the Great Bazar of Stamboul is one of the sights that are worth seeing.So happy anniversary, Grand Bazaar! It was here where I was able to buy my father, my son, and my brother-in-law genuine "Rolodex" watches. (Guaranteed to run for at least 24 hours!) They were worth the price in the fun we had buying them!