Istanbul is the kind of city where you can’t possibly ignore its history - even if you tried. But why would you? While the modern metropolis is fascinating, sleek, advanced, and cosmopolitan, so it was also in previous eras. Indeed, Istanbul - and Constantinople, and Byzantium, back in the day - has embodied all those “modern” attributes for the last two thousand years. As the crossroads of Europe and Asia, and the capital of an astonishing four world empires, there’s a remarkable footprint of history nearly everywhere you look.
If you love gorgeous fabrics and antique curiosities, and swoon over old-world maps and elegant period furnishings, then Istanbul’s Grand Bazaar will be a veritable wonderland of treasures. Referred to by locals as both the Kapalıçarşı ("Covered Bazaar") and the Büyük Çarşı ("Grand Bazaar"), this labyrinthine maze of shops is one of the largest and oldest covered markets in the world, with an astounding 61 covered streets and over 3,000 shops. From exotic spices and exquisite carpets to beautiful fabrics and bountiful delicacies, the array of things to taste, touch, smell and see is truly amazing. It is an absolute feast for all the senses.