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Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Trip to Turkey - The Grand Bazaar...

The last full day in Istanbul was Tuesday, April 15th. Tuana drove Noah to our hotel after her boys were put on the bus to school (she had kept them home from school on Monday just so they could be with Noah) and then the four of us headed to the Grand Bazaar in the old part of the city.

From Wikipedia:
The Grand Bazaar (or Covered Bazaar, Turkish: Kapalıçarşı ("Covered Bazaar")) in Istanbul is one of the largest covered markets in the world with more than 58 streets and 4,000 shops, and has between 250,000 and 400,000 visitors daily. It is well known for its jewelry, pottery, spice, and carpet shops. Many of the stalls in the bazaar are grouped by type of goods, with special areas for leather coats, gold jewelry and the like. The bazaar contains two bedestens (domed masonry structures built for storage and safe keeping), the first of which was constructed between 1455 and 1461 by the order of Sultan Mehmed the Conqueror. The bazaar was vastly enlarged in the 16th century, during the reign of Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent, and in 1894 underwent a major restoration following an earthquake.

Here is one of the many covered streets (58, according to Wkipedia).

Here is Tuana helping Kathy buy some scarfs (pashminas). It helps to have a local with you to help secure the best prices. Americans are not used to haggling for everything (in the US nowadays even the price for a car normally isn't negotiated). Imagine going into Walmart and haggling for every purchase.

Noah and I waited outside the shop while the wheeling and dealing for scarves went on. We went to a nearby shop and found a jersey from another of the four top level football (soccer) clubs. It was offered at 20 Turkish Lira ($15.50) and I got it down to 15 ($11.50). Not bad.

We then had a nice lunch in one of the many restaurants in the bazaar. It was a very interesting experience and Kathy and I both wished we had gone there sooner to shop. As you can imagine, with 4,000 stores they have lots of neat stuff.

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