Bedestan at Evliya Çelebi

23Big Bedestan has a rich literature along with its rich traditions, systems, customs, manners and life inside. Here is a description of the state of Big Bedestan in the midelle of the 17th centuıy, written in his own unique style by traveler and author Evliya Çelebi:”Old Bedestan is located in the most crowded and elite place in İstanbul and it is such a big treasure of the Osman family that it seems !ike “Kala-i Kahkaha”. Belongings of commanders of war, viziers and people stay in hundreds of underground repositories with iron doors. In 857(1453) this big and solid building belonged to Mehmed the Conqueror. Felt makers, antique booksellers, cap makers, gardeners, trimmings manufacturers and jewelers are located outside the four sides of the building. In eveıy corner there are strong and iron gates !ike the ones in castles. Sahaflar Gate faces towards noıth, Takyeciler Gate faces towards west, Gazazlar Gate faces towards south and Kuyumcular Gate faces towards east. There is an imposing picture of an eagle with its wings open on this gate; the intention of this wild bire! being pictured on this wall is to give a massage meaning “if you can hunt this bire! in delicacy, you can make some profitin this bedestan.” But the realityisa hidden surprise. Inside this bedestan, above the stone stairs, there is a big dome indented with navy colored lead that has windows on four sides with iron casements. There are floors araund the domes for people to stı·oll on and close the windows. There are six hundred shops in Bedestan. The number of cabinets in layers is two thousand. If the owner wants to resign and sel! his cabinet, he can sel! it for five thousand piasters. It is a house of profit that functions from early morning to mid morning and contains many valuable goods. There are one or two thousand merchants who are alsa ship owners. The number of the guards in Old Bedestan is seventy. Their leader is the head keeper of the treasuıy. These are trustworthy Muslin1 people who light the candles inside the Bezzazistan eveıy night. Their leader is Akir Hindi. These guards are such trustworthy people that if the cabinets were left open and many Egyptian tı·easures, jewelıy or precious items were all over the place, they would never to u ch any of them.”


Resat Ekrem Kocus

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