Istanbul: Places to Explore

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The Bazaar Area and Environs

The area between the Grand Bazaar and the shore of the Golden Horn teems with people during the day. Even though most of the old Byzantine and Ottoman buildings have long gone, the stalls and peddlers who line the narrow, rather grubby streets winding down the hill from the Grand Bazaar give an impression of what the city must have been like when it was the bustling capital of a vast empire. In addition to the Grand Bazaar and the Egyptian Bazaar, you'll come upon some of the city's most beautiful mosques here.

When exploring the Bazaar area, you might want to start at the Grand Bazaar and work your way downhill to Eminönü—it's a rather stiff climb the other way. From Sultanahmet, you can take the tram partway down the hill to the Grand Bazaar. It's almost impossible to get lost; just keep walking downhill until you reach the water. These streets can seem like one giant open air bazaar, and are much less touristy the Grand Bazaar itself. Note that the Grand and Egyptian bazaars are closed Sunday; the Beyazıt, Rüstem Paşa, and Süleymaniye mosques are open daily but effectively—if often not officially—closed to non-Muslims at prayer times, particularly Friday midday.

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