Istanbul grand bazaar attractions

Next week I will be in Istanbul for a couple of days. Although this
isn’t my first trip to Istanbul, it will be the first time I’ve been
able to visit the Grand Bazaar. If any of you have recommendations of
specific shops that I should go to, please let me know. Otherwise,
I’ll be wandering aimlessly like the rest of the tourists. I’m not
interested in rugs, but do want to look at jewelry and hanging glass
lamps/lanterns, as well as general shopping.

Thanks for any help.

You’ll be overwhelmed. Take it slowly. Some of the shops have been
there for years through family, etc. But there is an ebb & flow, so
what was there previously may not be there now. And walk outside the
bazaar in the surrounding “neighborhoods”. Very interesting.

Be sure to see the collections (porcelan, jewelry, jewels, etc.) in
all of the courtyard museums at Topkapi Palace. Have coffee at the
Pera Palas hotel where Agatha Christie stayed. Taxi over to Ulus &
eat at Sunset which overlooks the Bosphorus, but watch out for the
lamb kidneys – ok it was dark and I thought they were mushrooms.
The lamb was delicious, however! You may have already experienced
these suggestions, but thought I’d forward on to you just in case.
When you google the above, you’ll see a great difference between old
& new just looking at the sites. Istanbul is OLD & NEW.

Great & safe travels.
Kay Taylor

Hello Jamie,

I arrived back from a week in Istanbul yesterday. It was my first
trip to the city and I was overwhelmed at the size of it and the
layers of history.

With regards to your question… I found two really interesting
little second-hand jewellery stores with a lot of rings containing
old-cut diamonds and precious stones in the grand Bazaar. They were
both owned by the same man and both had an interesting variety of
jewellery and ornaments in silver. Beware though, there was a lot of
the poorer quality mixed in with the good stuff… just look really
carefully and perhaps take a diamond tester with you (and a pocket
scale and loupe). Although I can’t direct you to exactly where they
were, I can indicate that there was one on either side of the main
"street" running through the bazaar??? just look for the shop that
has the older/tarnished stuff in the window…At the Spice market
(You have to go there, just for the “atmosphere”) there were some
good quality strands of rubies and sapphires, emeralds and tourmaline
at good prices… Again… there was also some bad quality, you just
have to know the good from the bad. Also, get yourself some "miswak"
or licorice roots, really fun to chew on!!! Don’t go to the jewellery
centre at what used to be the womans prison. It just seems to be the
run-of-the-mill mass produced stuff you can buy anywhere in the
world! (and it’s really aimed at the tourists!)

If you have time, pop in to the Roman Cistern, a water resevoir with
beautiful columns and a vaulted ceiling, it really blew my mind…
The Jewellery display at the Topkapi had queues that were VERY long
due to all the visitors from cruises the day that we were there. It
really spoiled the viewing of a really good collection… I loved the
Hagia Sophia, but the Dolmabache Palace, being newer, was not as
interesting… Try to take a walk down the pedestrian walkway in
Taksim if you are staying in that area. Many interesting shops…
Particularly a book and map shop containing paintings, medals, books,
photographs both old and new.

I really hope you enjoy your visit as much as I enjoyed mine…


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It is a great thing to offer to help people visit your city. I’ve
traveled to a number of places and know the true value of having a
friendly local contact to help show the true nature of a place. Kudos
to you.

Mike DeBurgh, GJG
Henderson, NV

Thanks to everyone for your replies, both off- and on-line. I had a
wonderful time in Istanbul. Although I previously visited the gem
displays at Topkapi Palace, I took the several recommendations to
revisit. Unfortunately, on the day that I visited, the Treasury rooms
were closed to visitors. Oh well. The Grand Bazaar was overwhelming.
Trying to decide what to look at while constantly being shouted to by
vendors was wearing (“Hey lady where you from”). I finally realized
that one language that none of them spoke was Russian, and my Russian
vocabulary of 10-words was perfectly adequate :wink: So much to see and
so little time. Again, thanks for your help, Jamie