The Grand Bazaar, constructed under the command of Fatih Sultan Mehmet (Mehmed the Conqueror), is a historical shopping arcade surrounded by shops covered with roofs and domes. The two covered bazaars form the core of the large area with its historical name, “Çarşu-yı Kebir”. The construction of the first bedesten (bazaar) was completed in 1460s, namely Cevahir, and Sultan Mehmed was endowed with the yield, to grant it to Hagia Sophia. The Sultan later developed a variety of shops and shop stalls which later became the center of commercial life.
The Architectural Features of Grand Bazaar
The Grand Bazaar, founded in 1461, with its aesthetic design resembles a giant maze. The historical shopping area consists of close to 61 streets and more than 3600 shops and is located on a 30.700 thousand square meter area. It can be expressed as a point of attraction for Istanbul in terms of both tourism and commerce.
At first sight, the square exhibits a complex structure full of colorful elements with the main attraction: Cevahir Bedesten (bazaar). The bedesten, which has an architectural monumental appearance is divided into 15 separate sections. Each section in itself consists of a view covered by a dome. Small niches inside the walls are striking features. Sandal Bedesten was designed to be surrounded by 50 domes. This decorative covered bazaar is one of the leading examples of Turkish architecture in dome designs. These two substantial bazaars are characterized as the citadels of the Grand Bazaar. In history, these two buildings are mostly known for their thick inner iron safes. Traders kept in these iron safes; their capital, savings and jewelery, as well as records and registration documents of the Guild.
Shops and Organizations in the Grand Bazaar
The Grand Bazaar, which attracts attention with its wide crowd every hour of the day, houses shops such as precious jewelery, weapons, antiques and food & beverage. Names in the bazaar are sufficient for expressing what the place was used for in the past.
Gates: Kuyumcular (Jewelers), Nuruosmaniye, Sepetçihan, Takkeciler (Skullcap Sellers), Tavukpazarı, Zenneciler (Women’s Clothiers), Beyazıt, Çarşıkapı, Çuhacıhan and Mahmutpaşa.
Streets: Ağa, Altuncular, Acıçeşme, Aynacılar, Basmacılar, Çuhacıhanı, fesçiler, Hacıhasan, Hacıhüsnü, İplikçiler, Kalpakçılar, Karakol, Kavaflar, Kazazlar, Kolancılar, Kürkçüler, Lütfullahefendi, Mercançıkmazı, Parçacılar, Ressam, Sandal, Serpuççular, Takkeciler, Terzibaşı, Varakçıhan, Yorgancılar, Yüncühasan, Zenneciler.
Hans: Ağa, Astarcı, Bodrum, Cebeci, Çuhacı, İçcebeci, Kapılar, Kaşıkçı, Kebapçı, Kızlarağası, Sarnıçlı, Sorguçlu, Yolgeçen, Zincirli and Evliya.
Internal Order of the Grand Bazaar
In the bazaar, it is possible to find various establishments where products under 97 categories are put up for sale. Health care center, police station, branches of all banks and post office are among these organizations. The private security company is an organization that works exclusively for the bazaar.
The Grand Bazaar, although appears complex, is actually a structure in which a complete order works. Between Ağa Street and Aynacılar Street at the entrance of the Bazaar, colorful images of exchange offices and goldsmiths are spectacular. As you go through Jeweler's Street; Zincirli Han, known for its goldsmiths and craftsmen, greets you. Zincirli Han, built on 2 floors, contains many elements that bear witness to the traces of history. Amazing with its grandness, Cevahir Bedesten harbors little boutiques for shopkeepers dealing with small handicrafts and artistic ornaments. Specially when you continue from the exit of Zenneciler Street, you will find a infinite image of calligraphers and antique shops. Specially when you continue from the exit of Zenneciler Street, you will come across a magnificent image of calligraphers and antique shops.
When you get to the exit of the road, you will come across Cebeci Han. Immediately adjacent to the Han, several coppersmiths align with their impressive presence. Mongers who continue to work without losing the old livelihood, will please you with their artistic work as well as their warm and pleasant conversations. After wandering through many touristic routes in the Grand Bazaar, it is strongly recommended that you visit Feraceciler Street. You can make sure that you will be relieved from the day’s exhaustion with a sip from the delicious and frothy Turkish coffee.
Working Days Of The Grand Bazaar
The Grand Bazaar, hosting many tourists from all over the world every year, has succeeded in maintaining its importance both with its historical texture and its artistic pieces that offer an insight to the past. Apart from being a place of manufacturers, it leaves a good impression on its visitors with amiable mongers and valuable handicrafts. The Grand Bazaar is open every day of the week, including Saturdays, between 08.30 and 19.00 for sightseeing and shopping. It is closed on Sundays.