Istanbul’s Grand Bazaar has existed almost since the conquest of the city by the Turks in 1453 AD/CE (831 AH), with the estimate of its construction taking place between 1455 and 1461 AD/CE (833-839 AH). Luckily for me, one of Istanbul’s main tourist attractions was about a fifteen minute walk from my hotel. So, having no excuse, I made my way there as a relatively quick and easy ‘to do’ on my list of touristy stuff.
A map for your frame of reference:
And so, after stretching my legs, in I went:
And I found out was every bit the center of hustle and bustle it was made out to be. See for yourselves (and forgive your humble videographer?):
I wandered, happily so. Some may have a set agenda when coming to a place like this, but I was only to happy to get lost and just see what there was to see. There was a bit of everything – glassware, carpets & embroidered cloth, hookahs, t-shirts, suits, you name it! Best of all, the spice stalls inside the Grand Bazaar were interspersed throughout its enclosure rather than being combined into a single section. This had the added bonus of adding ‘oases’ of fragrance to what was an already wonderful atmosphere.
I finally came across a small shop selling futbol (soccer) jerseys. While my 13 year-old nephew plays the American version of the sport, I figured that a nice jersey from a Turkish team would still be a cool gift. (The jury’s still out on this.) I wound up picking a jersey representing Fenerbahçe Sports Club (Fenerbahçe, for short):
I picked this because I was informed by the young shop manager that they were the Turkish League champions that year. I was also informed that it would better for me to purchase a genuine Nike brand jersey for a more than reasonable cost. My definition of ‘reasonable’ differed from his greatly, of course. So, we haggled. He better than I. Of this I am sure as I walked away paying more than I thought was fair but one learns. I managed to rationalize that I was on vacation and that such things are part of the experience. Besides, I reasoned to myself, it was for my nephew. Still, I gotta tighten up my haggling game. Though, to be fair, I did do ok the day before purchasing a small carpet – but that’s another story.
On the way back, I passed another tourist site, the Burnt Column:
It was much more impressive centuries ago when it looked like this:
After that, I went and grabbed lunch and walked by to my hotel room, biding my time and wondering what to do next. There are worse ways to spend a morning.