Grand Bazaar most popular tourist attraction in Europe, 10th in world

Grand Bazaar most popular tourist attraction in Europe, 10th in world

The Grand Bazaar (Kapalı Çarşı), built in the 15th century, is the most visited tourist attraction in Europe.

September 27, 2011, Tuesday/ 16:04:00/ TODAY'S ZAMAN

İstanbul's Grand Bazaar placed first among Europe's tourist attractions, and 10th in the world, on a list of the top 50 most popular sites published by the US travel magazine Travel and Leisure.

Travel and Leisure selected the world's top 50 tourist attractions using data acquired from the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) and various publications covering the tourism sector. Attractions on the list included parks and natural wonders as well as historic and cultural sites.

The Grand Bazaar (Kapalı Çarşı), built in the 15th century under the Ottoman Empire, with its 64 passageways and streets containing 3,285 shops, is the most visited tourist attraction in Europe and the 10th most visited in the world, according to Travel and Leisure's top 50, surpassing many renowned tourist attractions in Europe and the world such as the Taj Mahal, the Eiffel Tower and the British Museum.

At the top of the world attractions list is Times Square in New York, with 39,200,000 visitors; second is Central Park, also in New York, with 38 million visitors. All of the top nine places on the list are in the US, with the Grand Bazaar following them at number 10.

Thirty of the top 50 attractions are located in the US, six in France, three places in Hong Kong, two each in the UK, Japan, China and South Korea, and one each in Turkey, Australia and Mexico.

The Grand Bazaar surpassed Notre Dame Cathedral (13,650,000 visitors), the Louvre Museum (8.5 million visitors), the Eiffel Tower (6.7 million visitors), Versailles Palace (5.9 million visitors), the British Museum (5,842,138 visitors), Egypt's pyramids (4 million visitors) and the Taj Mahal (3 million visitors) with 15 million visitors per year.

Other places that draw millions of tourists to Turkey each year, such as the Topkapı Palace Museum, the Hagia Sofia Museum, the Sultanahmet Mosque, the fairy chimneys of Cappadocia, the ruins at Ephesus and the ancient theater at Aspendos, didn't place on the top 50 list. According to UNWTO's data, France, with 78.9 million foreign tourists per year, is the most visited country in the world. The US, with 60.8 million, is second, and then comes China with 55.6 million.

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