The Grand Bazaar, the oldest bazaar of İstanbul, contains over 3.600 stores in an area of 30,700 square meter.
The Grand Bazaar The Grand Bazaar is the oldest and biggest closed bazaar of the world in the center of the city of İstanbul. The Grand Bazaar was founded in 1461. Like an enormous labyrinth, it is a spectacular and unique part of İstanbul with 60 streets and over 3600 stores in an area of 30,700 square meters. This site, which resembles a city, has grown and developed over time. It now includes five mosques, seven fountains, one stream, one public fountain, eighteen gates and forty public houses. Many streets named after occupations such as Altuncular, Aynacılar, Basmacılar, Çuhacıhanı, Fesçiler, Halıcılar, İplikçiler, Kalpakçılar, Kürkçüler, Terlikçiler, Terziler and Yağlıkçılar and many others used to be in this bazaar but only their names exist now.
Two structures covered with thick walls and a series of domes in the 15th century were covered and additions were built in later centuries. This place was a bazaar where each street harbored different occupations, handicrafts were strictly supervised, and commercial morals were respected. All types of garments, jewelry, guns and antiques were offered for sale by families that specialized in their fields for generations. Although the Grand Bazaar was restored back to its former shape after earthquakes and fires at the end of previous centuries, its past characteristics have changed.
There are jewelers on the street which is considered to be the main avenue of the bazaar and there are gold sellers on the side streets of this main avenue. These stores, which are small in size, offer different prices and different possibilities for bargaining. Thus the Grand Bazaar preserves its color and attraction.
The Grand Bazaar is always crowded all day. Craftsmen insistently call customers to their stores. Almost all products produced in and exported from Turkey are sold in big stores. Hand-woven carpets and jewelry are valuable examples of Turkish art. They are sold with their certificates of quality and exported all around the world. Turkish silver, carpets and jewelry, copper and bronze souvenirs, decorative articles, ceramics, onyx and leather products and high quality Turkish souvenirs constitute a rich collection. Western writers often mention the Grand Bazaar in their memories and travel journals… The gates called Beyazıt, Çarşıkapı, Çuhacıhan, Kuyumcular, Mahmutpaşa, Nuruosmaniye, Örücüler, Takkeciler, Tavukpazarı and Zenneciler constitute all the entrances and exits of the bazaar.
The animation of trade in İstanbul shows itself in the shopping that goes on in the complicated streets of the Grand Bazaar, secret courtyards and corridors that provide passages. The main public houses of the bazaar are Ağa, Alipaşa, Astarcı, Balyacı, Bodrum, Cebeci, Çukur, Evliya, Hatipemin, İçcebeci, İmamali, Kapılar, Kaşıkçı, Kebapçı, Kızlarağası, Mercan, Perdahçı, Rabia, Safran, Sarnıçlı, Sarraf, Sepetçi, Sorguçlu, Varakçı, Yağcı, Yolgeçen and Zincirli public houses.
COVERED BAZAARS (BEDESTEN)
Covered bazaars of the east where all kinds of valuable articles were purchased and sold were called bedesten. The covered bazaar commissioned by Fatih Sultan Mehmet to be built near the palace was named Cevahir Bedesteni later on. The new covered bazaar built just in front of this bazaar was named Sandal Bedesteni because of the sales of a special garment woven from cotton and silk. This garment was called a sandal. Rich people and traders of the past would keep their valuable golden and silver belongings in small safes in the covered bazaar in return for a reasonable fee. Jewelry, gold, guns, valuable garments, shawls, carpets and all types of other articles collected from all over the empire used to be sold in the covered bazaar. Traders there were the richest traders of the city.
Mısır Çarşısı (The Spice Market)
The Spice Bazaar, the second biggest closed bazaar of İstanbul, was commissioned by Turhan Sultan between 1663 and 1664 as a part of the Yeni Cami Külliyesi (series of buildings) which consisted of a mosque, a line of shops, a tomb, two fountains, and a school. It is behind the New Mosque near the Flower Bazaar in Eminönü. One line of the “L” which is about 120 meters long stretches perpendicular to the mosque and the other line stretches parallel to the mosque for 150 meters. There are 46 stores (23 on one side and 23 on the other side) in the long line and 36 stores (18 on one side and 18 on the other side) in the short line. There are also 6 iwans and 88 stores in the joint which makes 88 stores in total. This number has reached 105 now. The square in the middle of the joint of the two lines is called the prayer square and there is also an azan platform built there. The construction of the New Mosque, whose construction took the longest (60 years) in the history of the Ottoman Empire, was started by Mimar Kazım Ağa. The Imperial Head Architect Mustafa Ağa completed the construction. Rubble, stone blocks and bricks were used in the construction of the bazaar. It was named the Valide Bazaar when it was first founded but it was named the Mısır Çarşısı (“the Egyptian Bazaar,” but due to the many types of spice sold there, it is known as the “Spice Bazaar” by foreign tourists) as it was a place where goods from Egypt were sold in the middle of the 18th century. The bazaar was heavily damaged in two big fires that occured in 161 and 1940. It took its final shape after the restoration done by the Municipality of İstanbul in 1940. The bazaar has six gates, some of which are not used today. The two main gates of the Spice Bazaar provide a connection between Eminönü and Sultanhamam. The side gates open to the New Mosque, Tahtakale, Mercan, Yemiş İskelesi and Süpürgeciler. The Spice Bazaar was designated for herb sellers and quilt makers at first but the number of herb sellers decreased, particularly in the 1970’s, and these were replaced by jewelers, dried fruit sellers, drapers and other stores. Despite all these, it is a big bazaar where dry plants, various herbs, and hundreds of different spices to cure all problems have been sold throughout its history. The curative herbs of Anatolia have been distributed all over the world through the Spice Bazaar, despite the “fast food” habits, energy drinks and food with additives which are becoming more and more widespread.
MOST WIDELY USED SPICES AND THEIR FIELDS OF USE
ANISE: Good for gas for babies, children and adults. It strengthens the stomach.
LINSEED: Good for chronic constipation, hoarseness, stomach mucous inflammation and cholesterol.
FENNEL: Good for expectoration or swollen stomach and is a sedative for children
VALERIAN ROOT: Good for all nervous disorders and aches, anxiety, fear, nervousness, sleep disorders, headache, migraine, and nervous heart palpitation.
MAY DAISY: Good for cramps, gas, stomach disorders and upper respiratory inflammation, has a sedative effect.
NETTLE: Good for anemia, rheumatism and gout, urethra inflammation, headaches and all allergic disorders.
CENTAURY: Good for depression and disorders stemming from the nervous system and digestion.
ROSEMARY: Good for digestion disorders, muscle and joint rheumatism, and nervous diseases.
BUYING AND STORING SPICES
Do not buy spice subjected to light or cold.
Buy in small portions and have the seller grind as much as you need when buying white, red and black pepper.
If you buy more than the amount you need for one week, divide the spice into different packages.
Choose dry red pepper. Keep some of it in olive oil and make oily pepper.
Buy your spices separately rather than buying mixed spice.
Keep your spice in glass jars in a cool place out of direct contact of sunlight but do not keep it in a fridge.
Use laurel leaves and black pepper to season fish.
If you are not advised to eat delicatessen like sausages, you can still get a similar taste by adding a small pinch of cumin on the egg white.
Arasta Bazaar (Sipahi Bazaar)
The Arasta Bazaar was built as an extension to Sultan Ahmet Külliyesi. The bazaar is located south of the Sultan Ahmet Külliyesi. It was damaged in the big fires that occurred in the Ottoman Era and it stayed as a ruin for a long time. The bazaar was occupied by squatters for a long time but was taken over by the General Directorship of Foundations in the 1980’s and put into service again. Hand-woven antique carpets, silver ornaments and accessories and various souvenirs are sold in the historical bazaar which consists of a long street lined by stores on both sides.
The Coppersmith Bazaar
Another bazaar of İstanbul that attracts the attention of particularly foreign tourists is the Coppersmith Bazaar. Coppersmiths work on Lütfullah Street on Çadırcılar Avenue, which is between the Booksellers’ Bazaar and the Grand Bazaar. Copperwork that is sold includes cauldrons, pans, bowls, saucepans, basins, watering cans, copper buckets, tankards, buckets, round trays, braziers and gülabdan (a container which had a thin neck and a wide middle section and was used in the Ottoman era).
Sahaflar Çarşısı (The Bazaar of Second Hand Book Sellers)
This is the oldest book bazaar in İstanbul and is located between the Fesçiler Gate of the Grand Bazaar and the Beyazıt Mosque. Secondhand booksellers used to open stores around madrasahs to meet the needs of madrasah students for books. “Sahaf” means a bookseller that sells secondhand books. Secondhand book selling started with book sales around big mosques such as Fatih and Beyazıt. This was a bazaar where the most valuable manuscripts and miniature books were sold. When the construction of the Grand Bazaar was completed in the 1460’s, some of the stores in the bazaar were designated as secondhand booksellers. Booksellers moved to this area after the earthquake of 1894. A recent restoration was done in 1952. Lithography materials of the past are exhibited in windows at the entrance of the bazaar, where books for students as well as all types of books for tourists are sold at the side of the Beyazıt Mosque.
İMÇ (İstanbul Drapery Bazaar)
İstanbul Drapery Bazaar consists of six blocks. There are about a thousand stores within the complex. The urban design of the area and the architectural design of the building complex were chosen as a result of contests organized in 1960’s. İMÇ plays an important role, as it promotes modern architecture and advanced urban planning to Turkey with architecture that represents its period. The various blocks belong to textile companies such as garment sellers, flooring companies, carpet seller,s and sewing machine sellers. The whole area of the last section contains music stores. Most of these are music producers and the others are instrument sellers.
Public houses were places where traders from distant countries could stay and keep their goods safe.
They were an indispensable part of Ottoman trade.
Fatih commissioned four public houses in four main locations:
This is a public trade house built at the end of the 18th century with a courtyard and two floors. Its stone-arched plain entrance in Tığcılar Street is connected to the courtyard with a vaulted passageway. The stairs to the second floor are located in there. Fireplaces in the rooms have not survived to today. However, the stones on the floor, stores in the upper floor, and even the stairs have been preserved as they were. The outer doors of the rooms were also preserved. There are jewelers in the rooms of the upper floor as in the past. The stores look just like each other. As the original green doors are still attached to the rooms, the view was not altered in any way. When you look inside from the windows of the stores, it is as if the place was suspended in the past. The arcades surrounding the courtyard have round arches made from bricks. The square supports for the arches were made from stone. Both floors are covered with cross vaults above. The lower floor has gone through a lot of changes and has lost its original structure.
This is the district between Rüstem Paşa Mosque and Hasırcılar Avenue, southwest of the Spice Bazaar. Tahtakale has been a commercial district behind the port and the most important commercial docks just as it used to be in the Byzantine and Ottoman Eras. It is the oldest trade street of İstanbul. The name means a wooden castle but the exact reason for why it was named this is not clear. One suggestion is that it was derived from the name Taht-el Kala’nın (below the castle).
Tahtakale harbors a lively trade life today. As a rare district where the old street pattern of İstanbul is well-preserved, it has busy human and vehicle traffic on its narrow streets. The district is the last center where porters still work. The district was also famous for unofficial foreign exchange transactions before the 1980s and this resulted in the creation of the term Tahtakale Stock Exchange.
Mahmutpaşa Bazaar was commissioned in 1762 by Veli Mahmud Paşa, a grand vizier of Fatih Sultan Mehmet. The külliye included a mosque named after the grand vizier, a tomb, a public house, a bathhouse, a madrasah, a soup kitchen and a children’s school. There are 256 stores in the bazaar in this külliye. There are also a tomb built in the name of Mahmud Paşa (1473), a public fountain, a bathhouse, and other fountains in the bazaar. The bazaar, where all types of clothes are sold, is particularly crowded when people are shopping for the school season or festivals. Economica prices offered in Mahmutpaşa make poor people happy.
Asmaaltı Çarşısı (Main Market)
The main market has always been one of the most attractive commercial scents of the city.It is located between the Spice Bazaar and the Rüstem Pasha Mosque at asmaalti street. Due to it’sstategical location just between the ancient harbour and the Spice Bazaar.
The street vas known as the wholesellers street .And it was the last stop of the silk road. Shops form part of the Rüstem Pasha mosque complex built in 1580 by Mimar Sinan.
Todays shops keeps selling same products such as the old times; spices,natural teas accesories, pashminas and hand made gorments…
Ibrahim Mutefferika was born in Romania. He became a Muslim and learned Turkish when he was captured by the Ottomans in 1692. He learned Ottoman laws and ways in a short time and reached the rank of mütefferika (the person that communicated palace orders). He established the first printing house in 1727 and published an Arabic-Turkish dictionary, the “Vankulu Lügatı”. He published sixteen other works on history and geography. İbrahim Müteferrika included explanations and additions to many of his printed works and enhanced some of them with notes and maps. He went to Daghestan in 1743. He died in 1745.