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Grand Bazaar

The Grand Bazaar in Istanbul is one of the largest covered markets in the world with 60 streets and 5,000 shops, and attracts between 250,000 and 400,000 visitors daily.

The Grand Bazaar (Kapalıçarşı) has been an important trading center since 1461. Its labyrinthine vaults feature two bedestens (domed buildings), the first of which was constructed between 1455 and 1461 by the order of Sultan Mehmed the Conqueror. The bazaar was vastly enlarged in the 16th century, during the reign of Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent; and, in 1894, it underwent a major restoration following an earthquake.

Today, the complex houses two mosques, four fountains, two hamams, and several cafés and restaurants. In the center is the high-domed hall of the Cevahir Bedesten, where the most valuable items and antiques can still be found, including furniture, copperware, and amber prayer beads (among others). Many of the stalls in the Grand Bazaar are grouped by type of goods, with special areas for leather, gold jewelry and the like. It is well known for its jewelry, hand-painted ceramics, and carpets (among others). Currently, it is estimated that 15 million people visit the bazaar each year.

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