The Grand Bazaar


Situated between Nuru Osmaniye, Mercan and Beyazıt, construction of Grand Bazaar started during the reign of Mehmet the Conqueror in 1460 and expanded in the course of 250 years. The bazaar which has seen several earthquakes and fires took its current form through a 4 year reconstruction work during the reign of Sultan Abdülhamid after being destructed by the 1894 earthquake. Valuable goods like jewellery, precious metals, fur and precious stones and state treasury used to be kept in the bazaar. Grand bazaar used to open with prayers after dawn and stayed open till mid-afternoon, valuable goods were sold on Thursdays. There were 66 vaulted streets, 24 doors, 2 bedestens, 5 mosques, 1 school, 7 fountains, 10 wells, 17 hans inside the Grand Bazaar. Evliya Çelebi stated in his Seyahatname that in the 17th century there were 4399 shops, 2195 cells, 497 stalls, 2 restaurants, 12 cellars, 1 Turkish bath, 1 mosque, 10 masjids, 16 fountains, 8 wells with pumps, 24 hans, 1 school and 1 tomb inside the Grand Bazaar. Cevahir Bedesten (Bedesten-i Atik), which makes up the core of the Grand Bazaar and thought to belong to Byzantine period, was built in 1460 to generate income for Hagia Sophia. This bedesten has a rectangular layout mesuringg 48x36 meters, has a brick dome sitting on 8 pedestals. Second important structure Yeni (New) Bedesten, also known as Sandal Bedesten (Bezzasistan-ı Atik) was added during the renovation between 1545-1550. It measures 40x32 meters with a brick dome sitting on 12 elephant leg columns. The other parts took shape asymmetrically as per repairs after earthquakes and enlargements. Valuable goods, jewellery and cash used to be kept inside iron safes on the walls of both bedesten. Over the gate in Beyazıt direction there is an“Elkasib Habibullah” inscription and tuğra (signature) of Sultan Abdülhamid II, over the gate in Nur-u Osmaniye Mosque direction inscription and Ottoman coat of arms. Grand Bazaar is renovated several times because of the earthquakes and fires it has seen. It was renovated by Architect Ahmet Ağa in 1766, by architects including Sarkis Balyan after 1894 earthquake. Restoration work continues in the bazaar which has seen restoration at 1956, 1979 in the 20th century.

In this grand bazaar it’s possible to purchase jewellery made of gold, silver and precious stones, rugs and fabrics, antiques and giftware. Visiting Grand Bazaar would allow you to breathe in the history of İstanbul and witness its economic dynamics thus live İstanbul in a covered bazaar.


Ahunbay, Z., Batur, A., Gülersoy, N. Z., Kılınçaslan, T., Kuban, D., Ahunbay, M., Ağır, A. ve Köksal, G. (2015). İstanbul Mimarlık Rehberi, 1. Cilt: Tarihi Yarımada, s: 104-105. İstanbul: TMMOB Mimarlar Odası, İstanbul Büyükkent Şubesi.


Egyptian (Spice) Bazaar

It’s rumored that during the Byzantine period there was a bazaar called Makro Envalos where Venetians and Genoese made trade. Egyptian Bazaar was commissioned by Turhan Sultan, mother of Mehmed IV, as a part of Yeni Mosque Complex to Chief Court Architect Kazım Ağa in 1660 and completed by Chief Court Architect Mustafa Ağa in 1664. Previously known as Valide (Sultana) Bazaar or New Bazaar, the bazaar which was constructed with the tax revenue from Egypt has been called as such since 18th century. One other reason it’s called Egyptian Bazaar is that the most of the medicine and spices sold in the bazaar were brought from Egypt. The structure is allocated to herb&spice and cotton traders after it became a bazaar. The bazaar has six gates of which Balıkpazarı, Hasırcılar and Ketenciler gateswerereservedtoherb&spice traders, Yeni Mosque, Haseki and Çiçek Pazarı gateswerereservedtocottontraders. At this period 49 of the 100 stores were given to herb&spice traders, the rest to cotton traders and quilters. In time the names of the gates have changed. Eminönü Gate (Yeni Mosque Gate), Balıkpazarı Gate (Tahmis Gate – Hasırcılar Gate),  KetencilerGate (Tahtakale Gate), Çiçekpazarı Gate ,Yeni Mosque Gate (Çiçek Pazarı Gate) and 13 Garden Gate names were given. On the cornice of some of the stores there would be a symbol representing the store (fire tower, small rowboat, ostrich egg, scissors, tuft etc.) to make it easier to recognize. Tradesmen of Egyptian Bazaar would buy drog (raw materials produced from dehydrated animal and plant parts) and spices in bulk from Jewish merchants and retail to the public and small business owners.

Egyptian Bazaar was damaged significantly by the fire in 1691. Bazaar was reopened after the renovation in 1943. The structure which has an “L” shaped layout has a total of 86 stores. Haseki Gate is two story high, the upper floor was used as a courtroom. Bazaar has been restoratedd between 1940-1943 and between 2015-2018. In this bazaar it’s possible to find spices from all corners of the world and Türkiye as well as giftware.

Baytop, T. (1994). Mısır Çarşısı. Dünden Bugüne İstanbul Ansiklopedisi Cilt:5 içinde (449). İstanbul: Türkiye Ekonomik ve Toplumsal Tarih Vakfı.

Özdeş, G. (1953). Türk Çarşıları, s:35-36. İstanbul: İstanbul Teknik Üniversitesi.


Arasta Bazaar

Arasta Bazaar, originally called Sipahiler Bazaar, is situated right behind Sultan Ahmet (Blue) Mosque and one of the most visited locations by tourists visiting Sultan Ahmet Mosque, The Grand Hagia Sophia Mosque, Topkapı Palace and Great Palace Mosaics Museum. Today one can find a variety of giftware in this bazaar where the essentials of sipahi (cavalry in the Ottoman army) used to be traded in the old times.

Secondhand Book (Sahaflar) Bazaar

Located between Fesçiler Gate of Grand Bazaar and Beyazıt Mosque, Secondhand Book Bazaar is an indispensable location for bookworms and tourists visiting İstanbul. At Secondhand Book Bazaar current publications can be found together with old books and publications.

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Horhor Antiques Bazaar

Horhor Antiques Bazaar, situated in Fatih district, continues to be a favourite spot for antique lovers and tourists with more than 200 shops.


Gets its name fromthe Çukurcuma Street which lays between Boğazkesen Street and Altıpatlar street and Çukurcuma Mosque (*)Located in the Beyoğlu district of İstanbul, Çukurcuma takes its place in the itinerary of local and foreign tourists with its old houses, colourful streets and antique stores.

Reference  Üsdiken, B. (1994). Çukurcuma. Dünden Bugüne İstanbul Ansiklopedisi Cilt:2 içinde (539). İstanbul: Türkiye Ekonomik ve Toplumsal Tarih Vakfı.

Women’s Bazaar

Located in Fatih district of İstanbul,the bazaar has a historical quality and today is a place where one can find regional products and flavours. Became a favourite site for tourists after being the subject of local and international documentaries.