Grand Bazaar Observations by Mark Twain

The Grand Bazaar in Istanbul as visited by Mark Twain.

We went to the grand Bazaar in Stamboul, of course, and I shall not describe it further than to say it is a monstrous hive of little shops--thousands, I should say--all under one roof, and cut up into innumerable little blocks by narrow streets which are arched overhead. One street is devoted to a particular kind of merchandise, another to another, and so on.

When you wish to buy a pair of shoes you have the swing of the whole street--you do not have to walk yourself down hunting stores in different localities.

It is the same with silks, antiquities, shawls, etc.

Mark Twain American Writer Born: Samuel Langhorne Clemens
Mark Twain American Writer Born: Samuel Langhorne ClemensGiclee Print
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The place is crowded with people all the time, and as the gay-colored Eastern fabrics are lavishly displayed before every shop, the great Bazaar of Stamboul is one of the sights that are worth seeing.

It is full of life, and stir, and business, dirt, beggars, asses, yelling peddlers, porters, dervishes, high-born Turkish female shoppers, Greeks, and weird-looking and weirdly dressed Mohammedans from the mountains and the far provinces--and the only solitary thing one does not smell when he is in the Great Bazaar, is something which smells good.

Go to main Mark Twain page after Grand Bazaar.

Of course, nobody could describe a place quite as well as Mark Twain, but I, Kari, also had a few strolls through this grand place. Once I was with two young American businesswomen, one of which bought some great Turkish outfits complete with curled up toed shoes, for her nieces. The other snatched up a bright red Turkish flag for her husband. These girls were on generous allowances from their company and could hustle about in taxis and eat at expensive was nice to partake of their generosity and kindness.

OK....let's see...carpets, towels, silver, gold, kilims, stamps, postcards, get the idea? Yup...just about anything from Turkey can be found here. It's almost as good as visiting the Grand Bazaar in person...

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