|The First Art Newspaper on the Net
||Established in 1996
|| Thursday, December 7, 2023
|After rare silence, Istanbul's Grand Bazaar prepares to reopen|
Fatih Kurtulmus, chairman of the Grand Bazaar's board poses during an interview at the iconic Grand Bazaar on May 20, 2020 in Istanbul, amid the spread of the epidemic COVID-19 caused by the novel coronavirus. One of the largest and oldest covered markets in the world and visited by 150,000 people daily, the Grand Bazaar was blanketed by a quirky dead silence compared to its past noise when traders shouted in every foreign language in order to lure tourists into their stores. Ozan KOSE / AFP.
by Fulya Ozerkan
ISTANBUL (AFP).- An eerie silence has fallen over Istanbul's Grand Bazaar, one of the world's oldest, largest and most visited markets, where a raucous mixture of languages, cultures and commerce has buzzed for centuries.
But there are now signs of life at the market as municipal workers roam its deserted alleys, spraying the floor, columns and walls ahead of the doors reopening on Monday for the first time in two months.
The bazaar -- home to almost 3,000 shops where more than 30,000 people work -- was closed on March 23 as part of measures to stem the spread of the novel coronavirus, which has killed over 4,300 people in Turkey.
Officials say it has been the longest closure in the bazaar's more than 550-year-old history, except for forced shutdowns following fires and earthquakes.
The market is usually visited by 150,000 people every day -- and by 42 million last year -- while traders shout out deals in dozens of languages to lure tourists into their stores.
Now the stores are all shuttered, except for about 20 stock exchange offices and jeweller's shops which have remained open for economic reasons, with only special customers received by appointment.
The bazaar has been disinfected every Wednesday during the shutdown, while janitors have cleaned every morning.
"God willing we will reopen our market in a healthy fashion on June 1," Fatih Kurtulmus, chairman of the Grand Bazaar's board, told AFP in an interview.
"I have faith that our country will begin receiving tourists from mid-June by paying attention to hygiene rules," he said inside the historic market.
Kurtulmus added that while not much activity is expected in the first weeks, "I believe tourists will fly to Istanbul by the end of June because they cannot do without... the Grand Bazaar, Hagia Sophia and Blue Mosque."
The bazaar is located on Istanbul's historic peninsula, home to the Sultanahmet mosque, also called the Blue Mosque, and the ancient church-turned-mosque-turned-museum Hagia Sophia.
'Heart of the economy'
The Grand Bazaar was built in 1455, two years after the Ottomans seized Istanbul -- then known as Constantinople -- from the Byzantines.
The market thrived, expanding rapidly with the rising Ottoman empire, and by the 17th century it had taken on its current shape, giving the bazaar its Turkish name Kapalicarsi (covered market).
"Our Grand Bazaar -- the heart of the economy, culture, history and tourism has never been shut down except for natural disasters," Kurtulmus said.
"We had to take a pause because of the COVID-19 that has shaken the world because we had to prioritise safety and health before the economy."
After Turkey announced its first confirmed case in mid-March, health scans were carried out on the market's traders.
Seven were confirmed to have coronavirus, Kurtulmus said, adding that they could have been infected by the many tourists in the packed confines of the market.
'How will we pay rent?'
The bazaar will reopen under strict rules laid out by the health ministry, which include the mandatory use of face masks and a limit on the number of customers allowed inside.
Traders are worried as the bazaar is unlikely to see many tourists for some time, although Turkey is gradually easing its restrictions, including opening shopping malls.
"Tourism is the backbone of Grand Bazaar's economy. We will see when the tourists will come," said Ayhan Oguz, a jeweller on the bazaar's main alley.
"2020 seems to be a year of economic losses for us. If business returns to normal, tourism opens and flights resume by September, I believe we will also return to normal," he said.
Namik, another jeweller, had a gloomier outlook: "We are at a low ebb. How will we pay the rents?"
"My shop remains open but there's no customers, there's no business," he added.
Kurtulmus pointed to all the history that the market has survived already.
"I have the confidence that the Grand Bazaar will get up a full head of steam and compensate for the economic loss by the end of the year."
© Agence France-Presse
May 28, 2020
What do you do with a stolen van Gogh? This thief knows
Exhibition at Hauser & Wirth explores a concept that Maria Lassnig coined as 'body awareness'
Sotheby's to offer the first work of classical African art in any Contemporary Art Evening Sale this June
Paul Cadmus and His Circle: Property from the Estate of Jon F. Anderson achieves $1,163,055
Legendary Los Angeles artist Peter Alexander dies at age 81
Online auction spans Pablo Picasso's entire oeuvre
Rijksmuseum given unique painting to remember virus victims
A rare Chinese Red Revenue Stamp Collection hammers $170,195 on iGavelauctions.com
Xavier Hufkens opens an exhibition of drawings by Pierre Guyotat
Will Cotton offers a new take on the myth of the cowboy in new exhibition at Galerie Templon
Sperone Westwater showcases a group of recent paintings and photographs by Rochelle Feinstein
'Shelter in Place' organized by Ryan Muller on view at Metro Pictures
France names first indigenous director of top museum
Anthony Bailey, biographer with restless literary spirit, dies at 87
Chris Levine releases new portrait edition of the Dalai Lama through Jealous Gallery
Works by Dürer, Hockney, and Warhol lead sales at IFPDA Fine Art Print Fair Online
Rare Northern Irish penny sets worldwide auction record at Dix Noonan Webb
The National Gallery extends 'Titian: Love, Desire, Death'
Lehmann Maupin announes representation of Billie Zangewa
Reid Shier selected as curator for the Canada Pavilion at the 2022 Venice Biennale
Baltimore Museum of Art launches initiatives to directly support local galleries, artists, & community
After rare silence, Istanbul's Grand Bazaar prepares to reopen
Larry Kramer, author and outspoken AIDS activist, dies at 84
MIT Press and New Museum to publish "Saturation: Race, Art, and the Circulation of Value" this June
How to Convert YouTube to mp3 in Corona times
Different Types of Olive Oils and Their Significance in Italian Cuisine
Yowhatsapp apk is the best android application
Museums, Exhibits, Artists, Milestones, Digital Art, Architecture, Photography,
Photographers, Special Photos, Special Reports, Featured Stories, Auctions, Art Fairs,
Anecdotes, Art Quiz, Education, Mythology, 3D Images, Last Week, .
|Royalville Communications, Inc|
Tell a Friend
Dear User, please complete the form below in order to recommend the Artdaily newsletter to someone you know.
Please complete all fields marked *.