Istanbul's Grand Bazaar - Kapalı Çarşı - Covered Market
Grand Bazaar - Kapalı Çarşı is a great bazaar in Nuri Osmaniye and Beyazid Mosques and Mahmutpaşa Bazaar, made up of streets of various shops sheltered by roofs and domes. Though not very regularly shaped, it holds and area of about 31 thousand square meters. It has hundreds of domes which are covered with lead and windows. The nucleus of Kapalı Çarşı is a Byzantine building which is today called Old Bedesten. The section of the bazaar where valuables and jewellery are bought and sold was commissioned by Sultan Mehmed the Conqueror and the main great bazaar itself was commissioned during Kanuni Sultan Suleyman, on a wooden basis. Kapalıçarsi, today has a surface of 30.7 hectares, 61 streets, 10 wells, 4 fountains, 2 mosques and over 3 thousand shops, managed to claim its present look within 250 years.
Grand Bazaar - Kapalı Çarşı, which burned in years of 1546, 1618, 1652, 1660, 1695, 1701, 1750 has always been repaired after each disaster. After all this, it had undergone great damage in the earthquake of 1766. It is partially burned in fires of 1791 and 1826. The bazaar which had just regain is composure was again shaken by an earthquake in 1894 this time. It catches fire again in 1954 at the latest and could only be repaired in five years. The major sections of Grand Bazaar - Kapalı Çarşı are :
Inner Bedesten: It was the first building to rise in Kapalı Çarşı, actually it is Old Bedesten which forms the backbone of the bazaar. The gates' names are as follows : Bouquinistes, Hat Shops, Jewellery Shops and Costume Shops.
Sandal Bedesten: It is the one with most number of domes in Kapalı Çarşı. At present it can be accessed through two gates, one is through Kapalýçarþý and the other is through Nuruosmaniye district.
Other Sections: The architectural design of roads making up other sections apart from two bedestens is not symmetrical and geometrical, it has a scattered nature due to reflect its formation and the catastrophes it has gone through. In this way, it stays away from the closed bazaar style of the West and has a character of an Eastern bazaar. This laid back settlement; this scattered nature prevents the bazaar from being dull and at the same time gives it a romantic flavor. Such a complicated structure and settlement not only maintains the monumental state of the bazaar, but also makes it a palace for shopping.
Hans: Four adjacent sides of Kapalı Çarşı is surrounded by hans which are separate units by themselves. Today the hans which are directly connected to the bazaar, that is, which can be accessed through the bazaar and not through an outside entrance are : Astarcı Han, Büyük and Küçük Safran Hans, Evliya Han, Sarraf Han, Mercan Ağa Han, Zincirli Han, Varakçı Han, Rabia Han, Jewellers' Hani Yarım Taş Han.