The Istanbul Grand Bazaar is one of the World's oldest and largest covered markets. Comprising at least 3000 shops and 61 covered streets, it also contains several squares, 5 mosques, 7 fountains, and 18 gates to the outside (and miraculously we managed to enter and exit the Grand Bazaar through the exact same gate). Estimates claim that between a quarter million and a half million people visit here each year. Construction of the structure, commissioned by Sultan Mehmet II, began in the winter of 1455 and completed the following year. It lies on the slopes of the third hill of Istanbul (Constantine had seven hills built here to mirror those in Rome) between the ancient Fora of Constantine and of Theodosius. The Grand Bazaar also lies near the first Sultan palace. Several outlying markets are adjacent to the Grand Bazaar, including one reportedly devoted to the ancient slave market. By the beginning of the 17th century it achieved its final and current shape.
Carl and Lorraine Aveni are two retirees planning on traveling through Europe for at least one year.