The Grand Bazaar is one of the oldest bazaars and market places in the world located in the center of the districts of Beyazit, Nuruosmaniye and Mercan. The Grand Bazaar has about 4,000 shops and it employes 25.00 employees. It is said that during the peak times of the day, there are half a million people visit the place at the same time. With 91 million tourists a year, the bazaar is the most visited tourist attraction in the world.
The Inner Bedesten, which is the core of the Grand Bazaar, is a structure that probably remained from the Byzantine period although it is controversial among the historians. The new Bedesten is the second important structure of the Grand Bazaar built by Sultan Mehmet in 1460 and is known as the Sandal Bedesten. This is the name of the place because this was where cotton was woven from silk and cloth called Sandal was sold.
It was accepted that the founding year of the Grand Bazaar is 1460, the year that Sultan Mehmet began the construction of the Grand Bazaar. The main big bazaar was built by Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent as a wooden structure.
The structure, which is like a giant labyrinth, is a unique center that has to be seen in Istanbul, with 66 streets in 30,700 square meters and with 4,000 shops. This site, resembling a city, is roofed, has developed and grown over time. Until recently, there were five mosques, one school, seven fountains, 10 wells, one fountain, 24 doors, 17 inns.
In the following centuries, the two old buildings covered by a thick dome, a series of domes that remained from the 15th century, became covered by the covering streets of the developing streets, making additions and becoming a shopping center. In the past, this was a highly respected bazaar where commercials and ethics were highly respected, where certain professions were located on every street, and their handcrafted manufacturing (manifacture) was under strict supervision. All sorts of precious fabrics, jewelry, weapons, antique goods were offered by the masters trained through many generations with complete confidence. Even though the Grand Bazaar, which suffered an earthquake and a few major fires in the last century, has been repaired accurately, its past features have changed.
In each street, the masters of the different products were in the form of guilds (quilt makers, slipper makers, etc.) The competition between the sellers was strictly forbidden. Even a master could not process a product by bringing his stand to the front of the shop and showing it to the crowd. The price of the products could not be set higher than the state determined.
In the past, the sense of confidence that was outspoken would have caused the accumulated money to be given and operated like a bank. Today, many shops in the streets have been undergoing functional changes. Occupational groups such as quilt makers, slipper makers, fez makers only street names today. In the street, which is considered to be the main street of the bazaar, there are mostly jewelry shops and gold sellers. The Grand Bazaar preserves its former vitality as color and attraction. However, since 1970s, shopping opportunities for tourists coming to Istanbul have been provided by modern and large establishments at the main entrance of the bazaar. The Spice Bazaar along the Golden Horn is also a roofed bazaar which is smaller. Another small roofed bazaar which dates back to the 15th century is still being used in Galata district.
The Grand Bazaar is busy and crowded at all hours of the day. Tradesmen invite visitors to their store. Comfortable big stores developing at the entrance of the bazaar offer almost all the goods manufactured and exported in Turkey. Hand-made carpets and jewelry are the most beautiful examples of traditional Turkish art. They are sold with quality and all documents and guaranteed shipping all over the world. Beside carpets and jewelry, the famous Turkish style of silver works, copper, bronze gifts and decorative items, ceramics, onyx are sold. In addition, premium quality leather products are also available for purchase. You can create a big collection of Turkish memories here.
Western writers have made extensive use of the Grand Bazaar in their travels and memoranda.
It is one of the important touristic places of Istanbul.