Haggler's Heaven -- The Grand Bazaar, Istanbul, Turkey

bazaar
@MALUSE (32976)
Denmark
November 23, 2017 12:25pm CST
The Grand Bazaar in Istanbul, Turkey, doesn’t have its name for nothing. It covers about 32 ha (which equals 42 football fields). Several halls are built side by side, the central ones with cupolas. The whole area is surrounded by walls which have 17 gates as entrances/exits. 60 mostly dimly lit streets criss-cross through it, about 4.500 shops employ more than 20.000 people. The first buildings, the nucleus of the present day bazaar, were erected in 1461 under Sultan Mehmet II, the conqueror of Constantinople. Seven great fires and four earthquakes couldn’t destroy the bazaar. After each catastrophe, it was not only rebuilt but also enlarged. The men - not once did we see a woman - standing in front of the shops and stalls trying to lure potential buyers hardly ever make a mistake as to the nationality of the passing tourists and most of them know the respective language well. This does not mean that the Turks are especially talented when it comes to foreign languages, but that only men with good language skills have a chance of finding a (well-paid) job there. Something which we don’t understand is the fact that shops offering the same goods are clustered together in one street or even quarter. In the Grand Bazaar you can find rows and rows of shops selling only jewellery or carpets or leather clothes or ceramics or souvenirs made of copper or in the so-called Egyptian Bazaar only spices or caviar to name just a few articles. What’s the idea behind the bazaar principle? If there’s only one shop selling a special article the people in charge can dictate the price, can be sloppy and unfriendly, people will (have to) come to them. Competition can be good in so far as it makes the salespeople give their best to attract and satisfy customers. But what if there are, say, 20 shops, one beside the other, selling precisely the same goods? A customer can buy only one copperplate so that the chance to sell one is 1/20 for each shop. How can the shops survive with so many competitors? You can spend hours in the Grand Bazaar, lose your way and if you aren’t attentive, lose your money, too (rucksacks to the front!). Maybe it’s a relief for you to know that there’s a police station in it, too. You can also find a post office, a mosque, a bank, a refreshing fountain and coffee and tea houses. (The Bazaar is open Mo - Sa, 9 am - 7 pm, closed on Sundays and holidays) No doubt, the Grand Bazaar is a must-see in Istanbul. You’ll only know if you enjoy it when you’ve been there.
17 people like this
16 responses
@RasmaSandra (13426)
• Riga, Latvia
23 Nov
Thanks for sharing. Sounds like an interesting place. I love markets and would love to explore one like this. Since I have no plans concerning Istanbul I just made up my mind to be bold and take a look online tomorrow to see what kind of Black Friday deals there might be. This year I am thinking of getting some presents for myself just to make the holiday a bit brighter.
5 people like this
@NJChicaa (29777)
• United States
23 Nov
My grandmother went to Turkey and said it was amazing.
4 people like this
@1creekgirl (8780)
• United States
23 Nov
Oh, I would love to go there! But at our age, I don't think it's happening.
3 people like this
@MALUSE (32976)
• Denmark
23 Nov
Start saving your myLot earnings! :-)
4 people like this
• United States
23 Nov
@MALUSE I won't live long enough to travel on my myLot earnings, that's for sure!
3 people like this
@MALUSE (32976)
• Denmark
23 Nov
@1creekgirl Well, what with the current earnings you may be right. :-)
4 people like this
@Madshadi (4928)
• Brussels, Belgium
23 Nov
I’ve been to Turkey before but never visited the bazar. I did hear about it a lot though. And been to other places like the old town in Sarajevo which is also a small bazar with ancient Turkish style.
3 people like this
• Malaysia
24 Nov
The old town in Skopje, Macedonia is charming too. I think the style is the same as the one in Sarajevo.
1 person likes this
@Madshadi (4928)
• Brussels, Belgium
24 Nov
@cahaya1983 yes that one is popular too.
1 person likes this
23 Nov
This place looks very cool. I'll have to put it on my list.
3 people like this
@Kandae11 (27201)
23 Nov
What a dazzling array of merchandise!. Makes one wonder how well the owner of that shop keeps track of his stock.
2 people like this
@MALUSE (32976)
• Denmark
23 Nov
And every night he must take the bags down and put them up again the following morning!
3 people like this
@Kandae11 (27201)
23 Nov
@MALUSE Amazing!
1 person likes this
@Tampa_girl7 (21657)
• United States
24 Nov
I would love to stroll through it
1 person likes this
@MALUSE (32976)
• Denmark
24 Nov
You'd be addressed in perfect American English! The bazaar people have an incredibly good eye and ear.
2 people like this
@Tampa_girl7 (21657)
• United States
24 Nov
@MALUSE yes, I believe it. We had a big Turkish population when I lived in Kaiserslautern, Germany and they spoke English very well.
1 person likes this
@MALUSE (32976)
• Denmark
24 Nov
@Tampa_girl7 The reason may have been that they attended German schools in which English is obligatory as the first foreign language. The bazaar people in oriental countries are a special species. They mostly learn by listening to the tourists.
2 people like this
@valmnz (13199)
• New Zealand
24 Nov
Sounds like an amazing place. I imagine it would be best to go either with no money, or a surplus you're prepared to spend!
1 person likes this
@MALUSE (32976)
• Denmark
24 Nov
Just like when you go to a gambling casino!
2 people like this
@valmnz (13199)
• New Zealand
25 Nov
@MALUSE ha, ha, I imagine so. I've never been to a gambling casino.
@pgntwo (21763)
• Derry, Northern Ireland
23 Nov
Never been to a Turkish bazaar, but the bazaar in Sousse in Tunisia was interesting, and the one near Hammamet was daunting. I am reminded of this classic scene...
The Haggle skit from Monty Python and the Life of Brian I do not own any of this material it's all courtesy of Monty Python at www.youtube.com/MontyPython . ...
1 person likes this
@MALUSE (32976)
• Denmark
23 Nov
Will there ever be a situation which doesn't remind you of a sketch, a song or a comic?
2 people like this
@pgntwo (21763)
• Derry, Northern Ireland
23 Nov
@MALUSE Interesting question. I hope not, as it would mean I'd finally lost my marbles...
2 people like this
@celticeagle (114511)
• Boise, Idaho
23 Nov
Yes, thanks for sharing this. Very interesting.
1 person likes this
@cahaya1983 (9705)
• Malaysia
24 Nov
Oh I miss this place! You made a good point about the competition though, I wondered the same too. The good thing is if I see something I like in a shop, I don't have to worry about buying it immediately because I can be sure there are probably 10-20 more shops selling the same thing. The shopkeepers are smart too, they know how to attract customers. Somehow some of them could tell I'm Malaysian and start speaking in Malay to make me buy their things.
@MALUSE (32976)
• Denmark
24 Nov
They spoke Malay to you? That's extraordinary considering that there aren't so many tourists from this country visiting Turkey.
1 person likes this
• Malaysia
24 Nov
@MALUSE Yeah I thought it was just that one particular shopkeeper at first but was surprised that it wasn't just him.
@m_audrey6788 (11509)
• Germany
23 Nov
Wow! You visited Turkey? Thanks for this informations about Turkey
@MALUSE (32976)
• Denmark
23 Nov
My husband and I were there several times. Once in Istanbul and the other times on the coast.
2 people like this
• Germany
23 Nov
@MALUSE Oh nice Thanks for sharing it
@jstory07 (57993)
• Roseburg, Oregon
25 Nov
That sounds like a nice place to shop and find many interesting things,
@MALUSE (32976)
• Denmark
25 Nov
If you don't watch out, you can spend too much money!
@Corbin5 (81979)
• United States
23 Nov
I think I would be in a frenzied state due to trying to go from shop to shop to shop to snag a particular item at the lowest price possible. I think I would like to just sit down and watch all the action.
@JudyEv (101133)
• Bunbury, Australia
23 Nov
I hope that guy doesn't have to take in all his stock each night! My friends have just returned from Turkey and their rugs have arrived by mail. They were a bi worried about having them sent separately but they had to write their name on the back of each rug so they would know they had received what they'd purchased. I know that could be forged too but it did give them some comfort.
@Fleura (6225)
• United Kingdom
23 Nov
I love Turkey. The snag with shops like this is that if you say you don't want whatever they are selling, they don't believe you but think you are just playing hard to get!