The Grand Bazaar (Turkish: Kapalıçarşı, meaning ‘Covered Market’; also Büyük Çarşı, meaning ‘Grand Market’) in Istanbul, Turkey is one of the largest and oldest covered markets in the world, with 61 covered streets and over 4,000 shops on a total area of 30,700 m2, attracting between 250,000 and 400,000 visitors daily. Grand Bazaar Istanbul is often regarded as one of the first shopping malls in the world.
With its 61 streets and over 4,000 shops, the Grand Bazaar Istanbul is one of the biggest covered markets in the world
The origin of the Grand Bazaar Istanbul dates back to the time of Sultan Mehmet II in the 15th century
The construction of the future Grand Bazaar’s core started during the winter of 1455/56, shortly after the Ottoman conquest of Constantinople, and was part of a broader initiative to stimulate economic prosperity in Istanbul. Sultan Mehmet II had an edifice erected devoted to the trading of textiles. Analysis of the brickwork shows that most of the structure originates from the second half of the 15th century, although a Byzantine relief representing a Comnenian eagle, still enclosed on the top of the East Gate (Kuyumcular Kapisi) of the Bedesten has been used by several scholars as proof that the edifice was a Byzantine structure. Aside from the bedestens, originally the Grand Bazaar structures were built with wood, and only after the 1700 fire, they were rebuilt in stone and brickwork, and covered. All the bazaar edifices, except the fur dealers market, a later addition which is two-story, are one story. The roofs are mainly covered with tiles, while the part burnt in 1954 uses now tarmac.