After the mosques which add more beauty to the incomparable beauty of İstanbul with their delicare minarets and gorgeous domes, our histarical GRAND BAZAAR which is called “La Grande Bazaar” by foreigners is the most famous place in İstanbul. Tourists who come from the other enel of the world want to see this place for sure after they see the Topkapi Palace, Hagia Sophia, Blue Mosque and Suleymaniye (Suleiman) Mosque. Our GRAND BAZAAR becomes the symbol of an unknown and mysterious world for them. The history of Grand Bazaar goes back to the times of Mehmed the Conqueror. Mehmet the Conqueror ushered a new age in the world history by demolishing Byzantine and arelereel to buiJel mosques, public baths, inns, shops, houses and also “Bedestans” so that a “Turkish İstanbul” woulcl come to life instead of Byzantine. The markers which were covereel were nameel “Beelestan”. In a sh ort period of time one beclestan was built in Galata anel another two were built on the İstanbul hillsiele with the orcler of Mehmecl the Conqueror. The Beclestan built close to the Old Palace was later on called “Inner Beelestan” or “Cevahir Beclestan” because of the majority of the shops which solcl valuable goods in here. In a little elistance from this Bedestan, is located another one callecl “Sanclal” which sells a type of fabric woven by cotton anel silk. This bedestan is called “Sandal” because it was the name of that specific fabric that was being sold there. Old Beclestan which was in the size of 28 x 36 meters sat on four walls anel eight feet. It was covereel with fifteen domes on the top. There were twenty eight repositories anel the shops e<ılled “cabinets” along with storage spaces nameel “trunks”. Apart from these, there were a hunclrecl separate trunks. These “trunks” were renteel by the merchants and the rich of the time to preserve their jewelries and all other precious items. In Beclestan, the biggest shops of İstanbul useel to seli the most precious jewelries, gold items, guns of the big Empire in addition to fabrics, rugs and furs. Tradesmen of Beclestan were the wealthiest anel the most trustwoıthy tradesmen of the city. Beclestan which hele! the biggest wealth of İstanbul was protected by a special organization of guarcls. In his well-known “Book of Travel”, Evli ya Çelebi had written about these guarcls:
“These guarcls are such trustworthy people that if the cabinets were left open and many Egyptian treasures which only the Creator knows the ammınt of, jewelry or precious items were all over the place, they would never touch any of them.” Bedestan which is called the “GRAND BAZAAR” today was under a drastic restaration at the beginning of the 18th century. During these four years of restaration period, they made improvements on the domes in order to maintain the brightness inside the Bazaar. Bedestan’s inner and outer gates were built during the times of Mehmed the Conqueror. The oldest known names of the four gates built on the four sides of the Bazaar are “Sahaflar Gate”, “Takkeciler Gate”, “Zenneciler Gate” and “Kuyumcular Gate”. After the restaration in the 18th century, the names of these gates were changed according to the shops in bedestan. The gate that opened to the jewelers was called “Kuyumcular Gate”; the one that opened to the ready-made clothing stores was called “Oturukçular Gate”; anather one that opened to the bookshops was called “Sahaflar Gate” and finally the one that opened into the shops that sold clothing was called “Dolancılar Gate”. In time new sınaller gates were built and the names of these gates increased.