By Niala Mohammad
Walking through the streets of the Grand Bazaar feelings of nostalgia overcame my senses. The Turkish people’s features and mannerisms starkly resemble those of the Pashtuns. The smell of grilled corn being sold on the corner reminds me of local “waghey waala” or corn vendor in Peshawar. For a split second I felt I was in Kuchi bazaar when a Turkish lantern salesman Hassan said, “please sister, have some Turkish tea or else I will feel very insulted”.
The Grand Bazaar is one of the largest and oldest covered markets in the world dating back to 1455. It has over 65 lanes and over 4,000 shops. The Grand Bazaar has anywhere from 250,000 to 400,000 visitors daily. You can very easily get lost in this market….and it’s a good kind of lost! The Bazaar offers everything from spices, teas, leather goods, glass lanterns, ceramics, clothes, watches and jewelry. If you like something, make sure you buy it right away, because the chances of you coming back and finding the same shop are slim to none.
The Bazaar is open seven days a week from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., however even this 12 hour window will not allow for you to see the entire Bazaar. Just the gold section of the bazar will take you an hour to stroll through. And the Turkish knock off designer Chanel, Gucci and YSL bags put the Chinese knock offs to shame with their detail to authenticity.
If you get hungry, you can stop and eat an Adana kebab sandwich or gulp down fresh juice from one of the hundreds of vendors located within the bazaar. And if you are craving coffee or tea afterwards, look no further than the shop selling you your glass lanterns or ceramic goods. The Turkish people are extremely hospitable and friendly, very similar to Pashtuns. Although you will be won over by Turkish charm, do not hesitate to bargain.