Shopping lists and supermarkets are synonymous with the daily humdrum life of a woman. So when you go on a holiday would you want to spend unlimited time in a market…Yes, definitely ..if it’s as astonishing as the Grand Bazaar Of Istanbul. Once you enter you will be too overwhelmed by the opulence and enthralled (or lost …that’s also a serious possibility) to leave. Istanbul, a city where a truly extraordinary experience lies around every corner here!
Merchants greet you at Gate No 1 of this Kapali Carsi or covered bazaar which was built by the Ottomans for trade in the fifteenth century on the shores of the Bosphorus where East meets the West. It has stood the test of time through fires and earthquakes and today is a cavernous maze of 61 streets and 4000 shops.
Enter a magical market of colours, aromas and sounds to entice every sensation in your body. The dome shaped ceilings with intricate mosaic patterns are so remarkable here. Be enveloped in a kaleidoscope of colour as more mosaics and ceramic plates and lamps adorn the shops, tempting souvenirs for you to take back for sure.
Clothes in silk, turkish shawls, embroidered boots and handbags and all the local craft to admire and acquire await you. Do you fancy some luxurious carpets or gold and silver jewellry, you are in the right place to indulge yourself. The bazaar today houses both modern and traditional items for you to browse or buy.
Nibble a few turkish delights (but wait for the best baklava …thats in Taksim square) as you stroll though the labyrinthine market and rest your tired but happy feet to have an Apple tea…thats something you can’t leave the Grand Bazaar without. When we visit the Spice bazaar you could buy some of it to take back too along with other wonderful spices.
We have a sumptuous Ottoman lunch whilst we are still in the Ottoman heartland. Savour the food of the royalty with a strong Persian influence. A tram ride to Sultanahmet is an experience not to be missed and you could saunter around here looking at more shops. You must take home some unique copper Ottoman earrings sold here. But we also have to take you to marvel at the splendours of Islamic Architecture here namely the Blue Mosque, Aya Sofia and Topkapi Palace.
Coffee time in Taksim square in Beyoğlu which is the European part of Istanbul and tuck into Turkey’s famous dessert : the best baklava, every variety possible and other simply delicious sweetmeats as well at Hafiz Mustafa,1864.
We unwind in the evening at the fishing village of Ortakoy, watching the boats go by. Many trendy bars and cafes, here as the locals and tourists hang out to have a hookah and watch the sun set over the magnificent city that was formerly called Constantinople. Today Istanbul is a perfect harmonious blend of the old and the new, Asian and European cultures, vibrant yet generous people.