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Arasta Bazaar, Istanbul

Arasta Bazaar, Istanbul

Arasta Bazaar is a well-known, albeit modest open-air market in the heart of Istanbul. Located on the north side of narrow Torun Street, behind the Blue Mosque, the bazaar was built in the 17th century with the idea to use rental revenues from its shops to subsidize the upkeep of the mosque. For many years later, the shops remained empty until the tourism boom of the late 1980s-90s prompted their restoration, making it one of Istanbul's most-visited tourist markets.

If you're tired of or simply don't have time for the Grand Bazaar but still need to buy authentic goods or souvenirs, Arasta Bazaar is a good alternative. Considerably smaller (just a fraction of the Grand Bazaar), cleaner, quieter and less crowded, the Arasta makes both shopping and sightseeing very convenient. Here you will find more than 70 stores selling carpets, kilims, jewelry, pottery, spices, teas, coffee, ceramics, textiles, handicrafts, souvenirs, tiles, scarves and apparel in abundance.

Prices may appear a bit higher than the Grand Bazaar, but still reasonable, and even more so after haggling. The place is quite relaxing to stroll through whilst being invited by dozens of accomplished salesmen speaking fluent English (and a half dozen other languages, too), with bottomless treasure troves of ironic humor and topical jokes, to have a look, take a seat, sip some Turkish coffee or tea and consider the purchase.

Whilst here, you can also visit the Great Palace Mosaic Museum underneath the bazaar. The mosaics found in the environs of the Arasta during excavation works in the 1930s proved that the territory once formed part of the Byzantine-era Great Palace complex.

Opening Times: Monday to Saturday 09:00-19:00. Some shops are open on Sundays as well.

This sight is featured in a self-guided walking tour of Istanbul, Turkey within the mobile app "GPSmyCity: Walks in 1K+ Cities" which can be downloaded from iTunes App Store or Google Play. Please download the app to your mobile phone or tablet for travel directions for visiting this sight. The app turns your mobile device to a personal tour guide and it works offline, so no data plan is needed when traveling abroad.

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Arasta Bazaar on Map

Sight Name: Arasta Bazaar
Sight Location: Istanbul, Turkey
Sight Type: Shopping
Guide(s) Containing This Sight:

Walking Tours in Istanbul, Turkey

Create Your Own Walk in Istanbul

Create Your Own Walk in Istanbul

Creating your own self-guided walk in Istanbul is easy and fun. Choose the city attractions that you want to see and a walk route map will be created just for you. You can even set your hotel as the start point of the walk.
Istanbul Introduction Walk

Istanbul Introduction Walk

Formerly known as “Byzantium”, “Constantinople” and “New Rome”, Istanbul is the main city of Turkey, straddling the Bosphorus Strait, and as such, bridging the gap between Europe and Asia, both geographically and culturally. This ancient transcontinental metropolis embraces cultural influences of the many empires and civilizations that once ruled and flourished on this land.

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Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 4.3 Km or 2.7 Miles
Byzantine Heritage Walking Tour

Byzantine Heritage Walking Tour

Being an imperial capital for over a millennium, Constantinople (present-day Istanbul) still contains numerous sites that testify to the greatness of the Eastern Roman Empire. This self-guided walking tour will take you through the most noteworthy of historical traces, giving you a glimpse of medieval Europe's most prestigious and flourishing city – the "crown jewel" of Byzantium.

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.5 Km or 1.6 Miles
Istanbul Shopping Tour

Istanbul Shopping Tour

Istanbul can easily claim to be one of the most colorful cities in the world. Located on the very edge of Europe, it later expanded into Asia resulting in a mixture of both cultures. When it comes to shopping, you will be amazed with the variety of goods available to buy here and the way everybody bargains - even in a grocery store. Take this tour and explore the legendary bazaars of Istanbul.

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.4 Km or 1.5 Miles
Asian Side and Bosphorus Walking Tour

Asian Side and Bosphorus Walking Tour

Istanbul, Turkey's wealthiest and biggest city is split by the Bosphorus in two parts: European and Asian. On this self-guided walk you can experience the Eastern side and feel the spirit of the Orient – whether by admiring the beauty of the waterway or the historic buildings that line its shores.

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 4.6 Km or 2.9 Miles
Mosques Walking Tour

Mosques Walking Tour

Once a citadel of Christianity, for over half a millennium now Istanbul (former Constantinople) has been a major center of Islam, replete with mosques – both, originally-built and converted from Christian churches – dotting the city scape. Whether religious or not, you may wish to explore the local mosques out of purely historical or architectural interest. In case you do, this self-guided...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 5.6 Km or 3.5 Miles
Istanbul Old City Walking Tour

Istanbul Old City Walking Tour

Situated at the heart of Old Istanbul, the Sultanahmet neighborhood is a fascinating hub of historical timeline. The former administrative center of the Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman empires, this area abounds in historic sites, such as the Great Palace of Constantinople – the former residence of Byzantine emperors, the Topkapi Palace – a place where the Ottoman sultans used to live, plus a...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.3 Km or 1.4 Miles

Useful Travel Guides for Planning Your Trip


Istanbul Shopping Guide: 16 Turkish Items To Bring Home

Istanbul Shopping Guide: 16 Turkish Items To Bring Home

Istanbul, known throughout history as Byzantium and Constantinople, has been a major center of commerce and trade, a place where merchants and general folk would rush to regularly in search of exotic things. In our days, modern travelers to Istanbul are also bound to enjoy a truly magnificent...