Istanbul is home to one of the most historic marketplaces in the world. Known as the "The Grand Bazaar" or Kapalıçarşı,in Turkish, it's a shopper's dream and quite possibly, an introvert's worst nightmare. It's loud. It's crowded. A stray cat may sit on your lap (happened to me and it was amazing). Someone may spit on your shoe (also happened to me, but it was an accident). And vendors can be downright aggressive. But it simply cannot be missed on a trip to Istanbul.
The Grand Bazaar is a massive covered marketplace that sprawls across 61 streets and is located around the corner from the architectural marvel, Hagia Sophia. The Hagia Sophia, which means "Church of Holy Wisdom" (pronounced AYA-SOF-IA by locals) was built in 537 AD and the Grand Bazaar was created to help fund the building's construction and maintenance. Side note, I was embarrassed to discover I'd be pronouncing it as HAG-IA SOF-IA for the past 15 years since learning about it in AP Art History class with Mrs. B.J. McElderry.