This is before we even got to the entrance …as Kate says…It’s crazy house! It looks like
you can hardly move and yet you slip through with relative ease and very little problem. People are tolerant and polite. It’s not that dirty for the volume of people here and cleaner than I remember China tho I guess there will be worse and better areas.
The Grand Bazar has been functioning since the 15th century and contains 40,000 shops over 54,000 sq metres and is the largest covered Bazar in the world! Yep you read that right. There’s at least another 40,000 around it too according to the guide we had the other day and we definitely passed a few thousand ourselves. I think she said Turkey has a population of around 80 mill counting refugees and Istanbul has around 17 mill. No wonder it feels so busy! The average is 100 people per square kilometre.
It is quite beautiful inside. How amazing is the ceiling and the smooth paved floor from centuries of shoppers. Crowd has thinned as shops closing at time of this pic. I love that they close for family/church time all Sundays. Didn’t buy anything, but it was really nice to wander through. Smell the teas and spices, run my hands through the silks and bedazzled by the gold and silver.
The young boys in training to sell have some fun as well. One danced around us trying to get us to buy spinning tops. Trying tricks without getting in our way and calling, “one lira, one lira”. When that didn’t work he called “ten lira, ten lira! And when I laughed he he laughed and started with “twenty lira…” Many of the older guys seeing Gilbert’s hat yelling out “hey kiwi” or pretty much anything they think will get your attention. Hey honey, hey princess…but if you keep moving they leave you alone which is fine. I haven’t felt hassled here at all.
Not very many beggars on the street at all but I did notice that Turkish people seem to give small coins to them. The shop owners don’t chase street hawkers out of the shop if they follow you in but as soon as you say no they do leave so I guess if they hassled you, they would be given the short shift. All in all I have really enjoyed Istanbul and if you visit us sometime you will be able to enjoy the ‘visual feast’ of our rug. It was either that or a scarf.