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Written by Janani on January 28, 2022 Share on

Sahaflar Carsisi, Turkey – Get ready for your Book Hunting Journey

Sahaflar Carsisi, Turkey: In the beautiful city of Istanbul, is there something you cannot find? Istanbul is the melting pot of culture. The city is exactly where the east meets the west. True to the above words, you will get a chance to see both century-old buildings and modern skyscrapers stand next to each other proudly boasting the architecture of their respective centuries. This gorgeous city is also known for its breathtaking views and splendid nightlife. If all the above aren’t the things that excite you and all that you need is a book to get hyped, you are in the right place. While you are in Istanbul, make sure you visit Sahaflar Carsisi, the book bazaar without fail. Keep reading this article to know more about this historic book bazaar in Istanbul, Turkey, and explore it with our tailored Turkey tour packages.

About Sahaflar Carsisi, Istanbul

Also known as the Beyazit Book Bazaar or the Old Book Bazaar or the Grand Book Bazaar, Sahaflar Carsisi has been in place since the 15th century. Book hunters are sure to revel in foraging through the stores of this Bazaar for new editions and releases, second-hand books, historical maps, the holy book Quran in various languages, other ancient texts, and other rare books.

Books arranged in shelves
Source: Unsplash

Breaking down the meaning of Sahaflar Carsisi‘Sahaflar‘ means ‘Booksellers‘ and ‘Carsisi‘ means ‘Baazar‘. Thus we get to know that Sahaflar Carsisi has been the Bookseller’s Bazaar for quite some centuries here. Considering the fact that now we are living in a period where e-books are replacing the traditional old books and the brand new Book shops taking over the age-old booksellers, this antique market is sure to blow your mind. Though you can purchase books in other parts of the country as well, this book bazaar is certainly a place, a book lover will enjoy. It is also important to note that this is one of the oldest markets in Istanbul, Turkey.

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History of the Grand Old Book Bazaar

Street view of Istanbul

The founding of this fascinating Beyazit Book Bazaar dates back to the 15th Century. This was primarily built for the theological society students. Traditionally during the Ottoman period, it is common for the bookstores to be situated close to theological schools (then madrasahs). It is important to note that this book bazaar was once a part of the Grand Bazaar of then Istanbul. It was then moved to its current location, the site of Chartoprateia.  

This was the book and paper market at Byzantium times. At the time it was built, the Sahaflar Carsisi is said to have more than 50 book stores exclusively for Literature with over 300 employees.

The Fall and Rise of Sahaflar Carsisi

Towards the end of the 19th century, Istanbul was hit by an earthquake that damaged the original structure. That was the reason why the bazaar was re-built. Another horrible disaster happened in 1950. A huge fire broke out in the bazaar complex, turning some valuable manuscripts to ashes. A few months later, the Bazaar was re-built and nationalised. At present, there are bout 23-25 book stores in the Bazaar. 

fire on Book
Source: Unsplash

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The current existing structure of the Grand Book Bazaar built-in 1954, sits right on the historical site where the Chartoprateia was present. Just a few meters away from the book bazaar was the ‘market of book antiquarians’. The best place to purchase some of the antique collections of Turkey.

And if you walk furthermore down through the narrow streets of the the Beyazit Mosque, you will reach Beyazit Square. This is a small square that Houses a monument of Ibrahim Müteferrika. Ibrahim was a Hungarian scholar who is said to have commemorated Istanbul’s first Ottoman printing house. This Printing house opened by Ibrahim in 1726 played a very important role in the history of books in Turkey. Also during Ottoman times, the Sahaflar Carsisi became a centre for printing and literary trade. This indeed drew the attention of many intellectuals and writers to the Beyazit and Grand Bazaar area.

Why is it Famous and Important?

As said earlier, the Sahaflar Carsisi or the Beyazit Book Bazaar is believed to have been the first printing press in Turkey. It commemorates Istanbul’s first Ottoman printing house which was opened by Ibrahim in 1726. But, why is this so important? Are you thinking of it? I’ve got it covered for you.

book rack
Source: Unsplash

Printed books were not usual in those times. It was the time when manuscripts were prevalent and so printed books were new into the system and became very sensational. A lot of scholars and literates were fascinated by the fact that they will be able to see a printed book for the first time very soon and that drew greater attention into the Bazaar and the printing press. Though the printing press started in 1726, the first book was printed and published only 3 years later. Though we aren’t sure, if this is a fact or a fiction, when you visit the bazaar; you will be able to see the status of Ibrahim in the Beyazit Square.

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What to expect here?

If you are a booklover, then this is your paradise. A place you can just dive into your own world. The Grand or Old Book Bazaar is famous for its books on Turkish and international literature. Be it used or new, illustrated books or calligraphies or religious, you will have books of all kinds here. It is important to note that even miniature books and specialist literature books are available here. There is no wonder why so many people shower their love in this place. Make sure you take your time here and plan your day accordingly. You are sure to make many interesting and joyful discoveries.

Location: The old book bazaar is located between Fesçiler Gate and Beyazit Square in the Fatih district of Istanbul.

Address: SAHAFLAR Carsisi OLD BOOK BAZAAR, Beyazit Mh., Sahaflar Bedesteni Sk. No:4, Fatih,34126, Istanbul, Turkey.

Timings: 9 AM to 7:30 PM (all days)

Entry Fee: No entrance fee

Hope this article on the Sahaflar Carsisi quenches your thirst for books. I know what you are thinking!! If you are desperate to fly to Turkey right away and hold those books in your hand, do not worry when we are here! We in Pickyourtrail offer customized Turkey packages and help you book your ideal trip just in minutes. Just ping us and we’ll take care of the rest.

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