Diving into Istanbul's Grand Bazaar on The History Fangirl Podcast
Note: the podcast episode is embedded at the bottom of the post. I merely offer some concise context here before listening. However, if you're in a desperate rush then scroll away, my friend. Please note that there may be some affiliate links in this post, which means that I may get commission for some of my recommendations, but my opinions are entirely my own.
There’s a bit of déjà vu here as it was only weeks ago that I was talking Istanbul on the Amateur Traveler Podcast. When I was departing Istanbul in August, I was bemoaning the notion that I wouldn’t be posting about or thinking about Istanbul as much. Well, obviously, that fear never came to fruition, at least not yet. For one reason or another, I’ve been writing and talking about the place I still consider my second home nearly non-stop, and I’ve got a fair bit of work in the pipeline for magazines and publications as well, so stay tuned to my Facebook page, and Twitter if want to keep your eye on that!
In many ways, it’s a confirmation of what I already knew – that my three years in Istanbul, Turkey would have a lasting impact on me in ways I couldn’t yet conceptualize while I was there. In particular, I’m relishing the opportunity to be on podcasts and essentially freely converse about the city (something I couldn't necessarily do while I still had an address in the country.) On a side-note, for those who don’t know, I’m currently working on a podcast that’s related to history which I’m aiming to release in the new year, so I’m enjoying each chance I get behind another microphone for other podcasts as I continue to imagine and envision how I’m going to launch and produce my own podcast (I did do three episodes with Into Istanbul, but I'm looking this time to create something with considerable longevity.) I’ll provide more details on that later, but for now it’s merely worth knowing that the podcast is a form I have deep respect for. I’ve written about podcasts in the past both for myself, and for others.
One thing that should be noted here before I embed the episode is that Stephanie and I go way back to my very first TBEX last spring (in the blogger world, for some reason that’s a significant period of time, as relationships have the potential to be fast and fleeting), but I was never worried about losing touch with Steph. We’ve always had a bond, and I’d like to think that showed in the episode with our rapport. This is me in her apartment in Sofia, Bulgaria just before we started recording. I feel like that might be my "in the zone" face. Steph posted it on her Facebook page just before lift off!
I’ve watched her build The History Fangirl Podcast from the ground up, and I know how much work she’s put into it, and that’s why I was so excited to be a part of the action. She knew that I had a breadth of knowledge about the city, but the History Fangirl Podcast is set up as to choose a particular UNESCO site as an anchor to discuss a nation’s culture, history, and draw expertise out of the guest on the present day country as well. From the moment I arrived in Istanbul (and even in the weeks leading up to moving there), I aimed to be a diligent student and absorb as much of the history and culture as I could. My feeling (at least I hope) is that most of the friends I made there, both Turkish or otherwise, would have seen how deeply I tried to dive into the history, and how much I tried to be a part of the delightful chaos of Istanbul.
The following is an excerpt from the post on her blog releasing this podcast episode, but i think it sums things up pretty well:
"Traveling throughout Europe, you can find the legacy of the Ottoman Empire just about everywhere. But if you want to experience a place that has lived through the ebbs and flows of the empire, and connects us through more than 500 years of history, you need to visit the Grand Bazaar of Istanbul. My guest on today’s show is Chris Mitchell, of the travelingmitch blog, who until recently lived in Istanbul, and knows his way around its landmarks. As Chris told me, while some things have changed about the giant shopping district, many things haven’t. And if you want to learn about a country, especially a country as rich in customs and commerce as Turkey, you head to the bazaar."
Outline of the Istanbul's Grand Bazaar Episode on the History Fangirl Podcast
[2:00] Introduction to Chris Mitchell
[5:44] Mehmet II and the creation of the Grand Bazaar
[10:19] Discussion of the physical layout of the bazaar
[15;14] How did it change over the centuries?
[20:20] What changed with the creation of the Republic of Turkey?
[29:05] What it’s like in the Grand Bazaar now
[35:32] Travel tips for Istanbul
[39:02] Are there safety concerns for visiting now?
What did you think of the episode? Did you learn a fair bit about the Grand Bazaar? What are your thoughts about visiting the Grand Bazaar or visiting Istanbul during this current climate? Have you been to the Grand Bazaar in the past? Any and all comments on the post are welcome, and as always, I'll respond to each and every one personally and individually.