Istanbul’s Grand Bazaar

Although not for everyone, for me a must do experience in Istanbul is a visit to the awe inspiring Grand Bazaar. Even if you do not like shopping the experience is spectacular with colour everywhere you look.


It is best to keep your wits about you, as I said, it’s not for everyone. Like a lot of busy places there are swindlers and thieves about. True, it is hectic with pick pockets around, and recommend you keep your wits about you as you barter for a bargain or all the fast talk could lead to strife.

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The extravagant covered market includes a maze of dazzling shops displaying rugs, jewellery, handmade pottery, clothing, spices and more.

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Overall it is amazing just wandering through the alleys, soaking up the aroma from the spices, absorbed in the haggling. I loved watching the sellers interacting and striking up a deal, often sealing the deal with apple tea.

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This place is massive and it is easy to get lost if you don’t keep the direction of one of the exits in mind.  There are hundreds of different stores. Shops and cafes selling jewellery, coloured glass lanterns, bright colourful ceramics and shop after shop of shiny baubles and trinkets.

Take the time to absorb the fragrance of spices like apple tea, orange tea, jasmine tea and more. The aromas from the spice stalls will tease your nostrils.

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The Bazaar is bustling with activity with hordes of people and the strong scent of Turkish coffee.  The massive market has marble drink fountains, impressive tilework and pushy salesmen. The lamp shops are colourful and bright and many of the jewellery shops sell Nazar bonuk or the evil eye charms, said to ward off evil spirits.

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On sale are silk scarves, saffron spice, Baklava, Turkish tea, Turkish tea sets with tiny matching spoons and of course mandatory Turkish delight which will be wrapped up tight to stay fresh until you return home.

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We didn’t need to shop, we just wanted the experience of wandering, enjoying the sights, sounds and smells of this colourful maze, but couldn’t resist just one evil eye charm as our Turkish souvenir.

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We were in Istanbul as part of our Grand Mediterranean cruise. Have you been to the Grand Bazaar? Did you make it out without a purchase?

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Top 5 Turkish Cuisine


Scott Archer is a passionate blogger. He works on behalf of Turkish visa.  As an avid reader and blogger, he shares his experience through his articles on Travel, Food,  Education, Technology, Parenting and many more. He has been writing content on the web professionally since 2006 and kindly wrote my first Guest Post on something very passionate to him, Turkish Cuisine.

Turkish food is exceptionally assorted and internationally known. With a Turkey visa you can enjoy the blend of societies which brings the scenario of different tastes of cuisines on your buds. The country I must admit is no place for a fast food joint as their dedication in cooking is evident. On the top of my list, I will give your imagination a brief experience of Tandir.

1. Tandir*

This is a type of Kebab commonly found in Kastamonu town. The inner contents of the Kebab mainly include roasted male lamb. The lamb is only roasted by charcoal. The seasoning is only applied by pine tree leaves which are later placed on the side of the dish when being served to boost the aroma. Basically all the condiments are natural which vary from lemon, green or red pepper and sliced tomatoes.

2. Kunefe

This is a type of an Arabic cheese pastry which is super tasty and locally found all over Turkey’s restaurants. The cheese is unsalted and between two thin unleavened dough breads. Kunefe is a dessert which served warm. When it’s ready to eat, it has a brownish color, grated pistachio (groundnuts) is dressed on top. The bite of Kunefe can only be explained as juicy, warm and a well-rounded collection of diverse flavors blended together on your tongue.

3. Baklava*

This is another dessert which is easy to make even at home, though some native expertise is required in its combination. The components of Baklava are brown dough, hazel nuts and a sugar syrup. The hazel nuts are spread carefully among the thin layers. Each layer is dressed with ghee or special butter. The different layers are carefully crafted together to make small square like buns which are not fully divided then slowly baked. The natives prefer to bake it with a wood flamed oven and their preferred wood is usually pine as it doesn’t burn a lot. The Baklava is then topped with a syrup of your choice.


4. Menemen

A Turkey visa issued in the evening can let you land in Turkey for breakfast for Menemen. Menemen is omelet cooked in Turkish style. The ingredients include boiling tomatoes, pepper and leafy onions.. These are later mixed eggs, red pepper, and parsley. The flavor is unmatched and a common dish served in exotic restaurants as it takes time to prepare.

5. Adana *

This is cut out for non-vegetarians. Its name hails from a city in south-east of Turkey known as Adana. *Adana is not your ordinary dish as you need a permit from the chamber of commerce in Adana town if you’re going to prepare it for commercial purposes. The various ingredients include lamb flesh and carefully looking for a fatted lamb’s tail. *Once again tradition states that one should only use a male lamb which is less than one year of age, grown on its natural habitat or fed with only its natural herbs which are wild. The meat is mixed with the fat, kneaded together with red and green pepper, grilled onions then roasted with charcoal. It is served with thin slices of baked bread. In order to enjoy these Turk cuisines, simply apply for a Turkey visa and drool as you wait to set foot on this land.