If you are looking for a unique shopping experience in Istanbul, the Arasta Bazaar is a must-visit destination. This vibrant marketplace is located in the Sultanahmet district and offers an eclectic mix of shops selling traditional Turkish goods, such as textiles, jewelry, ceramics, and spices. Here’s everything you need to know about the Arasta Bazaar

History of Arasta Bazaar

The Arasta Bazaar was originally built in the 17th century as part of the adjacent Blue Mosque complex. The word “Arasta” comes from the Arabic word “arast,” which means “row of shops.” Over the centuries, the bazaar has been restored and renovated several times, but it has managed to retain its traditional charm and character.

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Why is Arasta Bazaar Special?

What sets the Arasta Bazaar apart from other markets in Istanbul is its cozy and intimate atmosphere. Unlike the crowded and overwhelming Grand Bazaar, the Arasta Bazaar is a smaller and more manageable size, making it easier to navigate and explore. It’s also less touristy, so you can browse and shop at your own pace without feeling rushed.

Where is Arasta Bazaar Located?

Arasta Bazaar is located in the heart of the historic Sultanahmet district, just a few minutes’ walk from the Blue Mosque and the Hagia Sophia. The bazaar is situated along a narrow pedestrian street that’s lined with shops and cafes, creating a lively and bustling atmosphere.

What to Buy on Arasta Bazaar

The Arasta Bazaar offers a wide variety of souvenirs and gifts, including textiles, ceramics, jewelry, leather goods, spices, and more. Some of the most popular items include Turkish lamps, mosaic tiles, Ottoman-style ceramics, and traditional Turkish tea sets. You can also find unique and handmade items that make for great gifts or mementos of your trip to Istanbul.

Also: Read our guide on how to buy spices in Istanbul >>

Explore Arasta Bazaar with Guided Tours

The Architecture of Arasta Bazaar

The Arasta Bazaar’s architecture is a mix of Ottoman and Byzantine styles, reflecting Istanbul’s rich history and cultural heritage. The shops and stalls are housed in traditional wooden buildings with ornate facades and colorful tiles. The narrow alleyways and arches create a maze-like atmosphere that’s fun to explore.

The Best Shops in Arasta Bazaar

There are dozens of shops and stalls in the Arasta Bazaar, each offering something different and unique. Some of the must-visit shops include:

  • Anatolia Hand Craft: This shop sells beautiful handcrafted textiles, including kilim rugs, blankets, and pillows.
  • Pasha Towels: This store specializes in high-quality Turkish towels, which are known for their softness and absorbency.
  • Jennifer’s Hamam: This shop offers a wide variety of traditional Turkish bath products, including soaps, oils, and scrubs.
  • Topkapi Safron: This spice shop sells some of the highest quality homemade chocolate, saffron in Istanbul, as well as a wide variety of other spices and herbs.
  • Meşale: This store specializes in unique and handcrafted gifts, including jewelry, ceramics, and glassware.

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Working Hours of Arasta Bazaar

The Arasta Bazaar is open seven days a week, from 9:00 am to 7:00 pm. However, some shops may have slightly different opening hours, so it’s always a good idea to check before you visit.

How to Get to Arasta Bazaar

The Arasta Bazaar is located near Blue Mosque. You can take the T1 tram to Sultanahmet station and then walk a few minutes to the bazaar. See the location >>

Arasta Bazaar vs. Grand Bazaar

While both the Arasta Bazaar and the Grand Bazaar offer a unique shopping experience, they are quite different in size and atmosphere. The Grand Bazaar is much larger and more crowded, with thousands of shops and stalls selling everything from carpets to spices to jewelry. The Arasta Bazaar, on the other hand, is smaller and more intimate, with a cozy and welcoming atmosphere.

Enjoy a Free Grand Bazaar Guided Tour with Istanbul E-Pass

The Istanbul E-Pass is a valuable option for travelers, as it offers guided tours to the Grand Bazaar, along with 50+ other attractions, providing a convenient and cost-effective way to explore the city.

What to See Near Arasta Bazaar

The Arasta Bazaar is located in the heart of the Sultanahmet district, which is home to some of Istanbul’s most famous sights and attractions. Some of the nearby attractions that you may want to visit include:

  • The Blue Mosque: This magnificent mosque, also known as the Sultan Ahmed Mosque, is one of Istanbul’s most iconic landmarks. Its distinctive blue tiles and six minarets make it a must-visit attraction for anyone traveling to Istanbul.
  • The Hagia Sophia: This historic structure was once a church, then a mosque, and now a museum. It features stunning Byzantine architecture and houses some of Istanbul’s most important cultural artifacts.
  • The Topkapi Palace: This sprawling palace complex was the residence of the Ottoman sultans for centuries. It features beautiful gardens, ornate courtyards, and stunning views of the Bosphorus.


The Arasta Bazaar is a hidden gem in the heart of Istanbul’s historic Sultanahmet district. With its unique shops, cozy atmosphere, and rich cultural heritage, it’s a must-visit destination for anyone interested in exploring the city’s vibrant and diverse marketplace. So whether you’re looking for souvenirs, gifts, or just a fun and memorable shopping experience, be sure to add the Arasta Bazaar to your Istanbul itinerary.

FAQs About Arasta Bazaar

Q: What is the best time of day to visit the Arasta Bazaar

A: The bazaar is less crowded in the morning and early afternoon, so if you want to avoid the crowds, it’s best to visit during these times.

Q: Are prices negotiable at the Arasta Bazaar?

A: Yes, prices are often negotiable, especially if you are buying multiple items or paying in cash.

Q: Are there any restaurants or cafes in the Arasta Bazaar?

A: Yes, there are several restaurants and cafes in the bazaar, serving everything from traditional Turkish cuisine to coffee and pastries.

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