Istanbul’s Grand Bazaar to undergo structural changes to accommodate modern brands

October 18, 2010

Istanbul’s Grand Bazaar, the oldest covered shopping complex in the world, will soon be changed to accommodate modern brand companies.

According to the Turkish Daily News, prominent Turkish brands are competing to open stores in the Grand Bazaar, the historic shopping complex in Istanbul, under a 140 million Turkish Liras refurbishment.

The changes will be used by the shops, city municipality and the bazaar management to boost trade in the 550-year-old Ottoman facility whose 3,600 shops selling gold and souvenirs attract about 500,000 visitors a day.

Work on the revamp will start as soon as the Council of Monuments, the official body responsible for reconstruction works on the country’s historic heritage sites, approves a Fatih Municipality study.

The bazaar will gain a totally modern identity, Hasan Fırat, the head of the Grand Bazaar Traders’ Association, told daily Radikal. “As caterpillars are banned at the bazaar, all the building’s ceilings will be restored manually.”

The bazaar has a covered area of 45,000 square meters.

The restoration will take place at night so as not to disturb the daily trade in the bazaar, the paper said.

After the renewal, the bazaar will have the potential to meet the demands of big brands, Fırat said.

Vakko, a local luxurious garments seller, and Migros, a supermarkets chain have already applied to the bazaar management in the past few weeks, he said. “Vakko even offered to open a stand as an interim solution.”

“Migros also requested a place, even if it is just 40 square meters,” he said.

The biggest revitalization in the bazaar’s history has attracted brands such as Vakko, Vakko to apply to rent a storefront in the bazaar, as many celebrities and international figures visit the structure during their vacations to Istanbul.

“We were always interested in the Grand Bazaar since it is the first destination to visit for a foreign tourist in the city,” Vakko Board Chairman Cem Hakko told daily Radikal. “World leaders and stars shop at the bazaar during their Istanbul visits.”

Hakko said the company is waiting for the bazaar management to reply to their request.

Migros said a store in the bazaar would be a “prestige investment” for the company.

“The Grand Bazaar is a special location for us,” said Özgür Tort, the Migros general manager. “It is important not only because of its historic texture but also its heavy daily traffic.”



About the author

Born August 3, 1960 in Monastir, Tunisia
Media career:
  • ABC News (Tunisia)
  • Bahrain Tribune
  • Gulf News
  • Bahrain Television News
Teaching career:
  • Monastir (Tunisia)
  • University of Bahrain
  • MA  Mass Communications, University of Leicester
  • BA  in English & US literature and studies, University of Tunis

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