The foundation of Grand Bazaar was laid in 1461. It is one of the unique centers in Istanbul to be visited with 60 narrow streets in 37.700 square meters giant like labyrinth, and more than 3600 shops. It is a covert site that reminds of a city which wasdeveloped and lgrew in years. There were 5 mosques, 1 school, 7fountains, 10 bores, l stream, 1 public fountain, 1 water-tank, 18 doors and 40 inns till recently.
The circle of the two old dome covert buildings with 15th century thick walls, has become a shopping center within next centuries by coverin upper sides of the blossomed streets and adding new features. Once upon a time, it was a morally respectable trade bazaar, with certain crafts in every each of the streets and the manufacture was strictly under control.
Every kind of precious fabrics, jewellery, guns and antiques were sold by the expert families with an absolute confidence. Although it was restored after the several big fires and earthquake at the end of the last century, unfortunately it lost some of its characteristics.
The width is the same in every shop of Grand Bazaar. There were specific masters of specific products guild in each street (such as quilt makers, slipper makers etc] and competition was strictly forbidden among the sellers. A craftsman even couldn’t work on his products at the stands in the middle of the crowd. No higher prices would be held on the products other than the government’s designation.
Grand Bazaar is very crowded the whole day. The sellers insistently call the visitors to their shops. Today, the large and comfortable shops at the main entrance, provide every kind of the manufactured and exported handmade articles in Turkey, The handmade carpets and jewellery are the finest examples of the traditional Turkish art They are sold with their quality and guarantee certificates and can be delivered to everywhere around the world. The famous Turkish silverware, copper, bronze souvenirs and decorative objects, ceramics, onyx and leather goods are all make up a rich collection along with the carpets and jewellery. The western writers have written a lot about Grand Bazaar on their travel books and memoirs.
61 Streets and More Than 4000 Shops
Located on a 47 thousand square meters area, Grand Bazaar consists of two covered bazaars. Eleven fires and two earthquakes have passed from the history of the bazaar which consists of 61 streets. The names of these streets belongs to various professions like Fesçiler (fez sellers), Kalpakçılar (cal pack sellers), Aynacılar (mirror sellers). The 1500 square meters of inner covered bazaar and the 1300 squared meters of Sandal covered bazaars ar the semi private parts of the bazaar. As you walk in the bazaar, you happen to hear the excessive voices of the shopkeepers to call the customers inside. During this process of persuasion, you may hear words from maybe 10 different languages. Bargaining also is the most important ritual of pleasure for both sellers and buyers.
Haluk Y. Şahsuvaroğlu