Istanbul's Bazaars: A Shopping Tour
(Prices are per person and in USD)
Visits include: Sultanahmet Square, Arasta Bazaar, Caferaga Medrese, Grand Bazaar, Spice Market.
Duration: 4 Hours
The day begins at Sultanahmet Square, where your guide will introduce you to the landmarks that grace the center of this historically-rich districts. Then, it’s onto the Arasta Bazaar, the first stop of our shopping expedition, where you’ll learn how to bargain like a local! From there, we proceed to the historical Caferaga Medrese, an arts academy dating back to the Ottoman Empire, and recently renovated by the Turkish Cultural Foundation. Today, it carries on the spirit of education by hosting workshops in the traditional Turkish arts, like hat (calligraphy) and ebru (water marbling painting).
The Caferaga Medrese is also home to one of our favorite handicraft shops, where we'll explore their collection of finely-decorated and authentic Turkish art and craft work.
If we choose to walk from here to the Grand Bazaar, we go via Nurosmaniye Street, an elegant avenue filled with high-end boutique shops selling the best in antiques, carpets, jewelry, and more.
Be prepared for the most dazzling array of carpets, clothing, jewelry, and leather goods at the legendary Grand Bazaar. Come ready to bargain, and learn a little about what you find from the talkative shopkeepers who work in the labyrinth of streets and covered passages that house the Grand Bazaar's nearly 4,000 shops. The bazaar is a world of its own, a bustling marketplace that has kept the same pace for the last five centuries.
Our day ends at the Spice Market (also known as the Egyptian Bazaar). Built in 1660 as part of the Yeni Cami ("New Mosque'') complex, the revenues collected from traders coming from Egypt were used to maintain the complex’s school, hospital and baths. Imagine the fragrant scent of herbs coming from all over the Orient, emanating from the mounds of spices, herbs and teas, just as it did 400 years ago. At the Spice Bazaar, you will understand why Istanbul was the last stop of the Silk Road!
Next, we join the locals on a comfortable public ferry and start our leisurely cruise along the Bosphorus Strait.
This private tour includes: