Grand Photo Bazaar


Colorful lamps of the Grand Bazaar

Colorful lamps of the Grand Bazaar

Last time I was in Istanbul, the Grand Bazaar was my favorite place I visited. In those days I was a shop-o-holic and I thought that this ancient, exotic shopping mall was my Retail Mecca. Even though I sold most of my stuff when I started traveling full time, I did keep a few things and my purchases from the Grand Bazaar from 12 years ago made the cut. My blue intricately designed Turkish bowls, an evil eye mug, and my favorite red leather jacket are packed away in my storage unit waiting to come out one day again and be seen again.

I’m not sure why these items made the cut when I was purging my life possessions – but they did. I think it was more about the memories of how I purchased them rather than the items themselves. The Grand Bazaar was the first foreign market I had ever been to – the first of now many many many markets – I still remember the man lighting the bowl on fire to prove how tough the finish was – I had never experienced this type of ‘extreme’ shopping before!

I also remember sitting in the leather shop drinking tea and negotiating for my coat. I had never had to barter for anything in my life and I remember trying to embrace the fun of it and more importantly trying to lose my Midwest ‘niceness’ so that I didn’t get taken advantage of. Looking back on that situation I’m pretty sure I did a horrible job of negotiating and was completely taken advantage of…but hey…I had some nice tea and a lasting memory.

Returning to the Grand Bazaar was an odd feeling as I’m not really much of a shopper at all any longer. I had lost a bit of my enthusiasm for the shops, and the act of dealing with the vendors – but I did have something I didn’t have on my first trip – a camera. Instead of negotiating for items and drinking tea with vendors I spent my time capturing this colorful old market and reliving fond memories.

The market is a treat to visit – a great place to wander and get lost in the maze of halls. The architecture and associated market culture is worth a visit alone.  But go with a great amount of patience for being constantly solicited. And if you are actually going to buy souvenirs – I would recommend going to the more not-as-touristy neighborhoods as I think you’ll probably get better prices based on what I saw around Istanbul. Galata is a great place to shop as is the shopping area behind the Spice Market to pick up souvenirs. But – if you are looking for a great photo walk – you can’t beat the Grand Bazaar!

Feel like shopping?  Then consider buying one of my Grand Bazaar Photos! Just click on the image for more information.

Looking through a magnifying glass

I’m looking through you….magnifying glasses for sale

A collage of flags on the cieling of the Grand Bazaar

A collage of flags on the ceiling of the Grand Bazaar

Pocket watched for sale

Time for sale

Metal antiques in the grand bazaar

Metal antiques give a golden glow

Fixed price sign in the Grand Bazaar

Fixed price shopping in the Grand Bazaar = no fun.

Evil Eyes for sale

Evil eye’s stand watch at the Grand Bazaar

Glass shop

A glass curtain

A vendor sits on the stairs

A vendor sits on the stairs in a far corner of the bazaar

whistles for sale grand bazaar

Whistle while you shop!

Hallways of shopping

Hallways form a complex maze of shops at the Grand Bazaar

Homemade soap

Flavorful and colorful soap for sale

metal plates in the grand bazaar

Metal plates carry a message

Turkish bowls with intricate designs

The popular Turkish bowls with intricate designs are found in all of the shops

A quiet corner of the grand bazaar

Sometimes you get lucky and can find some quiet corners of the bazaar

View all Grand Bazaar photography at my photography website.

Your Comments

19 Comments so far

  1. Alison says:

    Beautiful photos Sherry! This is way up there on my ‘places I want to photograph’ list :) I love markets even though I rarely buy anything. I think here I could be seduced though :)

  2. Miruna says:

    Wow, I’m speechless! I’ve been to Istanbul’s Grand Bazaar and I know it’s a very photogenic place, but your pictures are just stunning!

  3. gorgeous.

    cant wait to be there soon!

  4. Gorgeous shots! I can get lost for hours in places like this, camera in hand.

  5. Barbara says:

    LOL! Thanks for the pictures and the trek back to Istanbul. I’ve been to the Grand Bazaar twice and I must admit, it is sooo much nicer experiencing it on-line rather than in person. Don’t get me wrong: it’s beautiful. But I became very frustrated by the intense haggling and whistling very quickly. I think I wasn’t ‘built’ for that kind of shopping experience. :)

  6. Erica says:

    Beautiful pictures!

    • Great photos but I’ll have to agree with Barbara on this one. I’m not into shopping so much whilst traveling so its no bother. If I had my own place my outlook would likely be different.

      • Sherry says:

        I didn’t buy a thing there as I don’t have a home either and no reason to shop. However – I still see value in these places – and I just generally find them really fun to photograph and interact with the people!

  7. Carla says:

    Wow! Markets like this can seem so overwhelming (at least, they do to me) when walking through them. But your pictures really focus on the close-up beauty of everything that there is to see. I’ll have to try to do that with my own eye from now on (probably much easier said than done).

  8. Geek Goddess says:

    I spent all my “film” around the spice stalls! Beautiful photos!

  9. Amazing pictures! Would love to visit once. I enjoyed the soukes in the United Arab Emirates.

  10. I’m that person in the bazaar’s with their eyes wide in wonder. It is SO hard to restrain myself from buying EVERYTHING! The colours are the shiny objects are what do me in! I’m like a crow. haha.

  11. Jenn D says:

    Pinterrific Photos! Pinned them all! :))

  12. JoAnna says:

    I love marketplaces, and these photos are absolutely stunning. Possibly some of my favorites of yours.

  13. Sherry, these photos are STUNNING! OH MY GOSH!!!!!

  14. Margyle says:

    Sensory overload! Wow… so many things to see, smell and blow into (the whistles lol).
    Great pictures! Well done.

  15. Leslie says:

    Your pictures of the Grand Bazaar are fabulous. A nice mix of focus, big and small. I was just there 10 days ago and was mesmerized. Two shops I highly recommend for kind shopkeepers, negotiable prices for quality products are: DIYAR Terziler Sokak No. 20. Mustafa helped me select a beautiful caftan to wear at my son’s wedding this December. The other pottery store, Iznik Works at Takkeciler Sokak No. 82 84. Again beautiful tile and pottery and attentive service.

  16. Natalie says:

    In most situations a camera marks you with a big ol’ tourist bullseye, but I’m hoping it will act as a shield at the bazaar!

  17. Apurva Oka says:

    I could murmur only one word as I read this post…. ‘Colors’ …. There are so many, and are so vivid. Amazing place. Of course, credit to you to have photographed it so well.

    Beautiful captures !

Share your view

Post a comment