The Grand Bazaar in 1894 Earthquake

The earthquake on July 10th, 1894 caused severe damage in the Grand Bazaar. We would not exaggerate if we were to say that the Bazaar got the most damage as a result of this earthquake since it was first constructed. While the city was swayed heavily by the twelve earthquakes that occurred in about five hundrecl years from the time the Grand Bazaar was first constructecl, there is no clear anel cletailecl information stating that the Bazaar was damaged from these earthquakes. It may be thought that the Bazaar had some damage from the 1509 earthquake. Earthquakes causecl the biggest damage and impact in the history of this big Bazaar. This huge Bazaar was shattered by the disaster it went through and was not be able to recover. One hundred thirth five eleaci bodies anel one hundred forty seven wounded were found during the earthquake in Grand Bazaar which was stated as severely damaged in all of the sources. The seetion where Grand Bazaar is was filled with the soil that was taken out while they were digging the foundation for the construction of Beyazıt and Nuruosmaniye Mosques. It sits on a filled loose ground.

This loose ground playeel a big role on the severe damage caused by the earthquake. Therefore Grand Bazaar became this disaster place, the people and the tradesmen in the Bazaar starteel to nın in fear and panic and the Bazaar collapsed from place to place. Even a year after the earthquake, the blocks of stone were lieing on the floors. Sultan Abdülhamit II ordered to do whatever is neecled for Grand Bazaar. The borders of the Bazaar were narroweel during the restorations that were made in sections under the authority of the minister of Public Works, Mahmut Celalettin Pasha. The top cover of Çaclırcılar Avenue was removed and it was left outside the Bazaar. Dua Market, Flea Market, Yorgancılar and Koltukçular gates, be internal gates, were turned into gates that openecl to outside. Lütfuilah Street was clestroyed and a wall was built over its gate. Sarnıçlı Inn, Paçavracı Inn, Ali Paşa Inn were completely and Yolgeçen Inn was partially left outside the Bazaar. Gates were built to each of the ends of the avenue (Kalpakçılar) that connected Beyazıt anel Nuru Osmaniye. While the two years of restorations saveel the builcling, it changed the oı·der of shops and the original identity of the Bazaar. We are presenting the two documents, with their Turkish translations, that state that the Grand Bazaar was damaged severely and must be restoı·ecl immecliately: The Supreme Being may protect the Ottoman lands from any kincls of clisasters. Amin. As a result of the earthquake that happened the other day, sad scenes were seen in the Grancl Bazaar. The Bazaar is nameel the trade center of the capital of the Ottoman Empire and known by everyone. Even olcler and foreign tourists look forward to visit this place. The Bazaar is a place in which precious handicrafts are being sold; its reputation must be restored. Unfortunately, it seems !ike it is not possible to provide the necessities of the clestroyed places so that they can be repaired. However, if no action is taken, severe damage, moral and material disadvantages is expected.

Hereupon, I had the courage of writing this Jetter as a loyal   and sineere servant of the sultan, so that it may be a memory in the future: According to the rumors the majority of the Bazaaı·’s domes are damaged and some are completely destroyecL If there are dangerO.ıs places in the Bazaar, these places must be demolished; the area must be deaneel and the tradesmen and merchants must be placed to these convenient locations so that the Bazaar can be ready for trade again. A committee of the officers’ and traclesmen’s leaclers and two of the science expert architects must be formed in order to eletermine the cost of rebuilcling the clestroyecl places and the damaged domes that must be taken down so that they won’t be a danger for the community. Since the people of the Bazaar are not able to pay for the reconstruction and restaration costs right away, we hope the compassian anel consicleration of our Sultan will again reach for the help of his servants and people by letting them borrow a hunclred and fifty thousand piasters (liras), which is enough for the reconstruction, restorations anel deaning of the place, under the government’s seal and guarantee. The money can be borrowed with a moclerate interest rate and in exchange of the forty percent of the annual rent, in adelition to a certain amount that they will give from their earnings of their shops. If the Sultan approves, the construction will start this instant by using the current technology in artchitecture. These strong and useful developments will turn the Bazaar into a more pleasant anel neater place than it was before. That way, the business of the Ottoman Empire anel its citizens will revive. With no doubt everyone will show their gratitudes, aclmire anel pray for the Sultan. In any case, the decision, edict, kinclness anel bounty belong to our puissant anel powerful Sultan. Mubarram 13, 1312 andjuly 6, 1311 His servant Selim BOA, İrade Hus.198/14 M1312

The letter, Nritten by Selim Efendi who is the minister of agriculture and mining, which suggests starting the restaration of the Bazaar by using the latest technology of the time and making it better than it usecl to be, was sent to the prime minister; the sultan has approvecl the letter. Thereupon, it will be discussed in the House of Represantatives toclay. If it is found expedient, the location of the starting place for the restorations anel other cletails will be elecicieel anel written. The decision is going to be sent to the Sultan anel the fina! clecision anel eelict is my n1aster’s. 

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