There are thousands of things you can find and purchase in the Grand Bazaar. The gate that one usually enters into the bazaar is called “Nuruosmaniye Gate” that means “the light of the Ottomans”. That takes you directly to a shining street full of jewelry stores. Jewelry is one of the things could be purchased. Gold prices are not low but due to the lower workmanship costs, you may find a huge variety of gold, precious stones and semi precious stones like sapphire, ruby or emeralds at reasonable prices. Bargaining is always possible.
Before you purchase, it’s recommended to ask more than 3-4 shops so that you can get the best price. The main street goes all the way up till the other exit and it’s all full of jewelry stores….
A nother item which is important to our culture is carpets . When you’re walking on the streets in the Bazaar, some people might approach you and invite you to see their collections of carpets. They are commission-men and if you like them you can go to the shops they mention but you may also reject them. They seem insistent but if you don’t care about them, they go away. Carpet shops are usually spread out to smaller parallel streets and the purchasing decision is usually very hard. When you walk into a carpet shop, you’re first offered coffee, tea or coke without any obligation of buying usually with a warm smile. The carpets are from several different regions of Turkey and the salesman tells about them one by one starting from less quality ones to higher quality (higher price of course!) ones. Bartering with them is a real fun!
O ther than those of higher value items, there are good leather shops in the Bazaar. Leather could be found in a han on the left hand side of the main street called “Leather Goods Section”. There are also good ceramic items, wall plates and good tile plates. You may also find silverware, copperware, fake brand t-shirts like Tommy Hilfiger as well as good Istanbul or Turkey t-shirts all around the bazaar.
There are also belly-dancers costumes and traditional folkloric costumes. As you walk into deeper sides of the bazaar, you may explore heavens of religious icons, antique or used watches or old pages of calligraphies. One cheaper thing is the amber stone. You may find beautiful amber-stone work in the bazaar.
Today it covers an area of approximately 31thousand square meters with its over 3000 shops (some even say 4000), 17 inns (Han), 61 streets, over 20thousand employees, 4 fountains, 10 wells, 2 mosques, several cafes and restaurants, change offices, a police station, and 22 gates. It resembles a giant labyrinth and can be a little complicated for the first time visitor, but after a couple of visits there you can familiarize with it because streets are arranged almost on a grid plan, and shops tend to group themselves according to the type of goods they sell.