The Arasta Bazaar, a similar one in Edirne, has a perfect location next to the Blue Mosque. Arasta, which means bazaar or market where products of the same type are sold, has great importance for the Ottoman period and history. As time passes, products of the same class have been replaced by all kinds of products. Although Arasta has lost its meaning, it is possible to come across arasta bazaars in Istanbul, Edirne, and many other cities.
One of the most famous ones is next to the Blue Mosque, where the Selimiye, Rüstem Pasha, and Blue Mosque are still in between. It may also be stated that the shops are generally owned by foundations. In particular, the Arasta bazaars' revenues were used for the repair, maintenance, and needs of mosques.
Another name of the Arasta Bazaar, located just behind a historical mosque that has touristic importance, such as the Blue Mosque, is the Sipahiler Bazaar. The Arasta Bazaar, which various mosaics have been found inside during excavations and whose history dates back to the Byzantine Period, was extensively damaged by the great fire in 1912. The bazaar, which could not be used for many years and was restored and brought back to life under the leadership of the General Directorate of Foundations in the 1980s, has a diversity that you can find whatever you want today.
Those who want to see the mosaics excavated from the Arasta Bazaar excavations, where approximately 70 shops serve, can visit the Arasta Bazaar Mosaic Museum and the Great Palace Mosaics Museum. In the Arasta Bazaar, where you will come across various souvenirs, there are also famous Iznik tiles, whose fame has spread all over the world. Gift items generally consist of "Istanbul Souvenir" products.