Kapalıçarşı, meaning ‘Covered Bazaar’; also Büyük Çarşı, meaning ‘Grand Bazaar) in Istanbul is one of the largest and oldest covered markets in the world, with 61 covered streets and over 3,000 shops which attract between 250,000 and 400,000 visitors daily. In 2014, it is listed number 1 among the world's most-visited tourist attractions with 91,250,000 annual visitors.
The place is a cavernous riot of activity, bustle and bright colors. Beautiful mosaics cover much of the intricate inner arch ways. Red Turkish flags hung above many shop entrances. Terry of course shopped as I sketched. I sat outside a jewelry shop and the shop owner took quite an interest in what I was doing. It is traditional to offer shoppers a cup of tea and I was offered a cup as well. You can see several tiny tea cups resting on a silver plate on the floor of my sketch. The merchant was in his late 50's with a thick grey mustache' He spoke fluent English and he told me That he has run the family business for over 30 years. He also told me that much of the tile work was done by local students.
The construction of the Grand Bazaar Began in 1455 shortly after the Ottoman conquest of Constantinople and was finished in 1460. Fires, earthquakes and other calamities ravaged the market through it's long history, but it always recovered. The uncovered streets around the market a r just as crowded and bustling. Terry and I took a culinary tour of the market to taste food from some of the hidden gems of restaurants that can be found everywhere. We sampled cheeses and learned how the locals shop. Shopping at the Bazaar is a real adventure. Finding Terry after the sketch was done was another adventure.