The Fires In The Grand Bazaar

There had been many disasters in the Grand Bazaar during its history and it changed its face many times because of the contionuous earthquakes and fires. In ı509, during the times of Bayezit II, an earthquake which massed İstanbul up, also affected the Bazaar. In ı694 the fire that started in Inner Bedestan was extinguised before it got bigger. A big fire in ı 70ı followed this one. During this fire incident, all of the shops located between Old and New Bedestan were destroyed. In ı 749, another fire caused big damage in the Bazaar, the sultan of the time, Mahmud I, took care of the restorations in person. The earthquakes in ı 765 and especially the one in ı894 destroyed the Bazaar along with İstanbul. After ı894 eaıthquake, big restorations were made in the Bazaar; some parts were minimazed; the Çadırcılar and Kürkçüler gates of the time were removed; Dua, Bitpazarı, Yorgan and Koltukçular internal gates were turned into external ones.

On September 9th ı943, there had been another fire incident in the Bazaar; Döşemeciler section, Sarıhasan, Yeşildirek, Mütevelli, Ağahan, Cüppeli Streets and Alipaşa Inn were all destroyed. However, there is no doubt that the fire which started on November 27th ı954 was much bigger than the others; one thousand six hundred sixty six shops were destroyed. Especially Kalpakçılar Avenue was burned down to ashes until Kürkçüler; other destroyed areas were Terziler, Kolancılar, Kavukçular, Koltukçular, Hazırelbiseciler, Hacı Hüsnü Emirşah and Püsküllü Streets. After this fire, there had been a substantial repair in the Bazaar. Here is a document about the ı954 fire from the archives of Taha Toros. The repoıt from the Old Stnıctures Protection Commisian to Ministry of  National Education with the signature of the chairman: An addition to our report, number 624.265, dated November 30th 1954: The damage in the Bazaar caused by the fire that starteel on November 26th, 1954 at 10: 10pm had been examined. First of all, it is certain that the damages on chattels will be examined and a decision will be made by the experts. As a result of our investigation done for the reason of the structure being an old one:

Kalpakçılar Avenue being the center, the fire spreaded towards northeast in the Bazaar. The half of the Kalpakçılar’s beginning was bumeel down; after side streets to the destroyecl seetion of Kalpakçılar such as Fesçiler, Yorgancılar, Elbiseciler, Yağlıkçılar anel others were also bumeel clown, the fire stoppecl in front of the mosque in Örücüler market anel half of the mentioneel street was saved. The halfs of other streets !ike Kavaflar, Parçacılar were clestroyecl while the rest of them were not. An1ong other things, in the street that goes on from the Prayer Field to the Eectestan gate, the fire bumeel Halıcılar (Rug Sellers) anel Mobilyacılar (Fumiture Dealers) seetion away. In this respect the two fifth of the Bazaar is bumeel away while the sections toward Mahmutpaşa and Beclestans are safe. The fire damage on the building consists of partial bums on the plasters, stones on the feet of the archways and some poles. However, the collapse of an archway that was hold by a pole in the Prayer Field anel a vault supported by that archway causecl another collapse of an area of a hundrecl square meters in the clome. This inciclent took place where the street in Boclrum Inn intersectecl with another one that eneleel in Bat Pazarı and there had not been any other clamages in the archways except the collapse of an approximately two hundred square meter clome; other damages were not severe comparing to this one.

The fact that the Bazaar was affectecl by the fire is not that important. Although there were much more clestruction in the Bazaar after the earthquake in 1310, the Bazaar was reconstructecl in two years. In this respect, it is clear that toclay’s damage can be repairecl quickly with a serimıs attention and it will not cost a huge amount. As it is known, people with property deeds (who own properties) are responsible from their personal properties. Although the costs of these damages must be taken from the owners since the risks of these properties are taken by them as a certain rı..ıle, it is essential that it must be done with the audit of the authorities so that the restorations can be uniform. The most appropriate way to do this is to use the same technique which was used during the reconstruction in 1310 earthquake. That was to construct and repair fragmentarily anel to collect the cost from owners in payments. Since all eyes are on the Bazaar because of the fact that it is an original structure with no alike anel a precious memento, which is known by every govemment anel viewed by itinerants with astonishment, it is a necessity not to ruin its architectural qualities anel structural style during these reconstructions. It must be arrangecl just the way it was before and must be reconstructecl orclerly. The workers who will be a part of this restaration must take orders from the Council and High Committee who are the experts on this job. Therefore, the Bazaar must be repaired anel no parts must be ruinecl.

Both in the meclia and rumors it is written anel said that some commissions are formeel anel a law is going to pass on this subject. But, our Council is not being made a part of this yet and nothing is being asked to out association. It is obvious that our Council, in the capacity as an expert on the work that is going to be done, must be a part of these commissions anel clebates. On behalf of our Council, I am asking you to notify the necessary people in an effective way and give them the necessary orders. Respectfully yours The chairman of Old Structures Protection Commision.


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