The History

5I came to the Grand Bazaar exactly in 1992. What was this place? Who built it? Who knows what happened here over the years? In the Bazaar, people of three generations, who made their living in this place, were teliing strange stoıies to each other. On the top of the Cevahir Bedestan gate, which faces towards the Jewelers Street, there is a relief of an eagle which was surprisingly not stolen. I believe this relief was the reason why some people used to say that the Bazaar was from the times of Byzantine. It was also said tl1at most of the shops were used as bams. There was a pure confusion. The history of the Bazaar was not researched and the ones who researched it were not appreciated. There were neither any records of it nor mentality for keeping them. Perhaps the only work that had been done on the Grand Bazaar is the “The Grand Bazaar Novel” which was written as a result of long researches by Çelik Gülersoy. He said that after he had written his book, he went to the Bazaar Association. However, it helped him understand the situation of the Grand Bazaar better when he heard the “great” idea of tuming the roof of the Bazaar into a restaurant from the president of the assodation of the time. The tradesmen of the Grand Bazaar did not pay any attention to the book. There were really amusing people in the Bazaar. All that was missing was the researches which were going to accentuate the histarical data and current impoıtance of this social structure that was formed by the piquant synthesis developed during tl1e histoıy by integrared and rich cultures. Were these shops really usedas barns? Was this hu  ge stn.ıcture left from Byzantine times? Who was the true passessor of this place in which innumerable tradesmen made their living for five hundred fifty years and of the prayers that were said by tl1em? Late Çelik Gülersoy also could not find defınite answers to these questions in his researches; he came to a decision and published the information and points of view he collected in his book. While I was teliing the history of the Grarıd Bazaar, by using the same method that he used, I wanted to share with the reader all the data and documents I collected. One of my concems during this process was tl1e possibility of these data and the infom1ation to get lost after me. I avoided updating and conecting the writers’ languages which reflected the time that these languages were being used, for the sake of keeping documents’ original quality. I also thought that it would be benefidal to give infannation about some subjects which consist of different topics and have histoıical value in addition to the histarical knowledge which was elicited during the researches of the Grand Bazaar. For example, I tried to reflect topics !ike how the Grand Bazaar used to be a Book-Heaven once; how it was the place of origin for most of the antiques tl1at are exhibited in world’s museums; how the disasters created structural changes in tl1e Grand Bazaar or the damages on the tradesmen structure caused by social factors, not only as absolute histarical facts but also as real stories. Other than the sources of scientists, thinkers and researches, I elaborated to benefit from tl1e light of the told and lived stories. I prefened to cite the sources as they are while I was writing about the histoıy and otl1er characteristics of Grand Bazaar. I wanted to quote any infoımation by using the person’s exact words, although this may have caused the repetition of some topics in some aıticles. I am hoping that this work that I had put forward with the responsibility of being a tradesman will be reviewed taking into consideration of the fact that I am not an actual writer.


Rumors about the Grand Bazaar are full of mistakes. 1here are people who say that the Bazaar is inherited from Byzantine and it is alsa said that the shops used to be usedas barns. However, the article that te lls the history of the Grand Bazaar, written by Haluk Y Şahsuvaroğlu who attributed his asse11ions upon documents, which we c ome upon in the archives of  Taha Toros, is the most correct. White the article te lls that Grand Bazaar was constructed by the order of Mehmed the Conqueror, it gives information about the architectural structure of the Bedestan. It explains that the safe-deposit boxes were used in the Bazaar and the first banking system was established there. It alsa says that if the valuable goods in the boxes had no inheritors~ they became government property. In his first description, the city that he deseribed as İstanbul while he was giving information about the process of the Grand Bazaar is the interior of the city walls. That was considered as İstanbul in the past. As he talks about the two bedestans in İstanbul, he means the Cevahir and Sandal Bedestans in the Grand Bazaar. The article is below.

Haluk Y. Şahsuvaroğlu

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