As one of the world’s biggest covered markets, stretching across tens of thousands of square meters, the Grand Bazaar is as impressive as it is confusing. We rounded up the best shops to add some clarity to your trip so you don’t get lost in the crowd.
A fourth generation family business specialising in a wide selection of carpets from all over Turkey, Şişko Osman (which translates to ‘fat Osman’) is the bazaar’s most popular carpet seller. Owner Osman Şenel has an academic understanding regarding his products and his precious collection ranges from antique to modern.
The other favourite in the bazaar is Ethnicon and its sister store Dhoku. While Ethnicon offers traditional yet unique Anatolian hand-woven carpets with special attention paid to the details and colour, Dhoku has a more contemporary outlook with geometric patterns. The two stores are right across each other, so you won’t have to wander far to visit both.
Leather is a highly coveted item at the Grand Bazaar with a lot of sellers that’ll want to entice you with their products. Skip them all and head to Koç Leather & Fur, a family run business that has been in the Grand Bazaar since 1968. Their large selection includes leather, lambskin, and fur outerwear with an aesthetic that has been compared to Dolce & Gabbana and Armani.
For a Turkish bath experience at home, head to Abdulla Natural Products, which sells beautifully scented natural soaps, 100 percent cotton hamam towels, hand woven shawls, and traditional bath accessories. You’ll know you’re in the right place when you see their modern logo that features a bright red fez.
Çini (traditional pottery and tiles with turquoise and red motifs) have become synonymous with Turkey’s national aesthetic. As such, a visit to the Grand Bazaar wouldn’t be complete without dropping by İznik Art, where the traditional motif can be found on all kinds of objects, from bowls to vases and everything inbetween.
Located just a little bit outside the bazaar entrance on Nuruosmaniye Street, Sofa Art & Antiques is probably one of the city’s best antique stores. There’s everything from prints to maps, ceramics to miniatures, calligraphy to antique rugs, silver to contemporary Turkish art. And the best part is the overtly jovial owners Kaşif Bey and his wife Dilek whose upbeat conversation will make your day.
A true treasure trove of antiques, Eski Fine Arts and Antiques has a beautiful collection from the Ottoman Empire, including paintings, backgammon sets, jewellery, calligraphy, hookahs, and sea-foam pipes, just to name a few. Before you even venture inside you’ll probably spend some time staring at the rich window display, a harbinger for what awaits you inside.