The Grand Bazaar Covered Markets

I wonder if the lost of the Grand Bazaar’s ‘shopping center’ pasi- tion to those cureall supermar- kets play any role in the lost of its local customers as well. When people get old, they tend to compare everything with “the old”ways. Years after I put the sweet dream of my childhood’s Grand Bazaar away in my memoıy, I stopped by there a few times since my work was araund Sirkeci/Cağaloğlu area. Then again, many years had passed and I had the opportunity to visit the place through our magazine again. Strangely my rare visits had arisen no magical feeling in me. Yet, in my last visits, I felt !ike I was back in that cool and gloomy dream of my early years. Perhaps, knowing the tradesmen played a role in this feeling. During my rare visits, I remember missing the old tradesmen a little

But this time, as I look at those familiar people in our own Inner Cebeci Inn, I know that the reason why I saw things differently was because of my own perspective. But why did I take this long break? The Grand Bazaar of my childhood was a place to go when special things were needed. I guess those “special” things were needed frequently because we used to go there so often. However,coming was also a sightseeing. Don’t we have time for sightseeing anymore or the way of sightseeing has actually changed’ Along with the charming streets, sparkling shops, water puddings, flashy gold, various kinds of fabrics and antiques of the Grand Bazaar, Beyazıt’s beautiful square with the pool were a part of the magic. Beyazıt has already been a center in İstanbul. I wonder if the lost of Grand Bazaar’s ‘shopping center’ position to those cure-all supermarkets play any role in the lost of its local customers as well. I have always seen the Grand Bazaar as sornewhere special and I stil! think the same. How can supermarkets, which bothers human soul by lining everything side-by-side with a so-called discipline, in which the only difference is on prices, and whose confusion circles rahter than flow away !ike in the Grand Bazaar, overshadow my childhood’s dream place?

Their only specialty is not being special. They only gather everything together. However, the Grand Bazaar gathers things together in a special way. Perhaps, things that are sold in supermarkets may not be found in the bazaar (or maybe they might), but half of the things that are available in the Grand Bazaar can not be found in supermarkets. Fluorescent lighted, fake and superfluous modern looking supermarkets where there is almost zero relationship between the buyer and the seller (including delkatessen and departments with sellers) make us long for the old shopping days. The Grand Bazaar stands right there. The way it was in the past and the way it is taday is more attractive and more interesting than the present day newly appeared “super”markets. Take a step into the Grand Bazaar for either curiosity or aspiration. Wander not only in its avenues, but also in its by-streets, active and quite inns. Who knows, maybe something from the old magic can transfer to this day.

jewelries and antiques come and go, where gold and silver are embellished by the most experienced craftsmen just !ike a delicate darling, has unfortunately been living quitely for years without any of our affections. Why was the bazaar so far away from us when it was actually so close? Every young gir!, who found their prince charming, used to stop by the Grand Bazaar at least once. How many engagement rings were sold irı this bazaar or how many people, who lost their wealth, pawned their most beautiful diamond rings in order to take same bread to their houses? How many little boys, who were brought to the bazaar by their fathers, dreamed of being an experienced jeweler sameday in the future? Who knows what hidden family dramas and big love stories wandered in this place’s magnificent ceilirıgs? In the workshops where the gold dust blew, who knows how many experienced old hands disciplirıed their apprentices? Which stories were told by the old masters to each other in the silence and darkness as the night fell and all the shutters got closed. No one knew that. . . For most of people, the Grand Bazaar was only a place where the curreny exchanges were determined. However, it had so many stories … Nevertheless, these stories never took place irı movies or novels. Perhaps, that was what Grand Bazaar wanted, always staying closed and mystic a little. I don’t know.

Sevin Okyay

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