Thoughts Of The Grand Bazaar

Take a look at the tradesmen who learn the tourists’ languages in two days and try to seli in those languages… Which language school can teach a language as sincerely and quickly as this place?
In the last century, the impoıtance of the Grand Bazaar for İstanbul has changed and differentiated due to the city center’s shift to the north especially through bridges and highways. The Grand Bazaar, which consists of covered streets and shops, has the signs of the oldest and the most con- tinuous commercial life that is shaped by the commercial tradition of two thousand years from Byzantine until today. This is a sign that stands stil! for over two thousand years, connects East to West, bonds people to something more developed or underdeveloped, but in any case to something different, converts these differences into cultural and material richness. It tries to get over these differences positively with developements, and even just because of this reason, this sign forms the basis of the history of civilization. This is our sign, the sign of people … How right are the ones who claimed that if there was no trade, we would be living in caves? The Uzunçarşı Avenue, which leads to the Grand Bazaar stil! carries the same name since Byzantine. Down th~ street is the Egyptian Market. It is named after the countıy of Egypt. All the shops are named after the goods that are sold in them. Flour shops, Oil shops, Wheat shops … That is to say quays, storages, goods, merchants and centuries … These places have become the meeting place of Mediterranean, Far East and Europe. Courtyards of inns hosted caravans …

The Grand Bazaar functioned as the distributing point where all these goods reached to the people of İstanbul. The city of İstanbul, where the complicity of trade leaves its place to the geometiy of belief through Islamic social complexes, and the politicallives of Rome, Byzantine and Ottoman that took the support of this spectacular place … It is the trade and the people’s relationships that it created, which took Europe out from the Middle Ages, brought civilization and technology together and carried humanism and democracy to the highest level. In the world, trade enabled democracies and liberties to develop. People first got over the prejudices towards themselves and each other in commercial surroundings. No superstition could stand in front of the reality of commerce. People learned how to communicate through trading. Take a look at the tradesmen who learn the tourists’ languages in two days and try to seli in those languages … Which language school can teach a language as silleerely and quickly as this place? The Grand Bazaar is the universal center of these relationships. Now, we are entering a new world … In this world, the Grand Bazaar and the values it represents are in danger. The Grand Bazaar has to accommodate itself to the new world without any exceptions. Not even a single corner, courtyard, shop or inn should be left unfunctional. While on one side, it has to be a universal Ka’ba for tourists, on the other, no matter how many bridges and highways get built, it has to be an attraction point that will serve twenty four hours, all night and day long for İstanbul. It should and could be a museum with its histarical elements, a shopping center for the daily use, a concert hall where all the rhythms of the world meet, a conference hall in which all the new ideas and information of the world meet, a restaurant to seıve the different tastes of world, an exhibition in which many items are displayed, and most importantly a place where its people meet. .. Our Grand Bazaar is as close and amenable to get modernized as an action plan which will organize all these places and develop transportation. This would mean that İstanbul, which used to be the center of the world at the times of Rome, Byzantine and Ottoman, is going to be the center of the world again. This is the center of our world. Let’s not leave our world without a center.

 Yılmaz Kuyumcu


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