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The Arasta Bazaar is a small market complex built around the same time as the Blue Mosque. Located adjacent to the mosque, rents from the shops went to support its upkeep. Today, it comprises two squares lined with shops behind the Blue Mosque and a row of stable like shops that stretch the length of the mosque’s precinct.

Some shops of note include Jennifer’s Hamam, selling towels, shawls and bath wraps; the Mehmet Cetinkaya Gallery selling Turkish rugs; and Iznik Classics & Tiles, one of the best places to buy hand-painted ceramics

In addition to the dozens of shops, the Bazaar is home to the Great Palace Mosaic Museum, which displays a variety of ancient mosaics that have been unearthed around the city. The highlight of the museum is a mosaic pavement that dates from early Byzantine times.  Part of the triumphal way that led away from the Byzantine emperor’s Great Palace, the pavement is covered with hunting, fighting and mythological scenes with a variety of wild and domestic beasts.

Practical Information

The Arasta Bazaar sits behind the Blue Mosque in the old city of Istanbul. For those staying in or around Sultanahmet, it is likely within walking distance from your hotel. If not, take the tram to the Sultanahmet stop and it will be a short walk past the Blue Mosque from there.

The Mosaic Museum is open daily except Tuesdays, from 9:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and admission is 8 Turkish lira. You can find the entrance on Torun Sokak between the bazaar and the Blue Mosque.

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