The Grand Bazaar of Istanbul is the granddaddy of all malls – one of the oldest and certainly largest covered markets in the world.
It seemed as though most of the 400,000 visitors who come each day were inside with us.
With over three thousand shops packed in along sixty-one covered streets, we felt like lab rats looking for cheese (when we did stumble upon one of cheese shops, it didn’t help much).
WATCH: A romp through the Grand Bazaar – Veronica learns to haggle!
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After adjusting to the spectacle of product overload, we focused on the architecture.
When the market was built, in 1455, Istanbul was very much the crossroad between Europe and Asia, and the bazaar soon became the hub of trade between the continents, so it had to be spectacular. Merchants came from far and wide to stock up on items to sell back home.
But over the course of four and a half centuries things had changed, fires and earthquakes nearly dealt a death blow to the already declining bazaar. After fading and falling into in disrepair until the 1950s it staged a comeback.
By the 1980s restorations had taken place and the bazaar returned to its glory.
These days tourists, rather than merchants, come from far and wide, and the name grand is fitting once again.
David & Veronica, GypsyNester.com
Thanks to Princess Cruises for inviting us along and providing this adventure! As always, all opinions are our own. See our entire Mediterranean voyage aboard the Royal Princess here