The Grand Bazaar, which is frequented by local and foreign tourists with its historical texture and intense commercial life, is being renovated with restoration and earthquake strengthening works.
The Grand Bazaar is getting ready to return to its old days with the comprehensive restoration process that has been going on in stages for two years.
There are 3,600 shops and 14 inns in the Grand Bazaar, which has a closed area of approximately 45 thousand square meters. As part of the restoration, the roof was completely repaired and the waste water and clean water channels were replaced. Electric and fiber cables were renewed. Earthquake reinforcement, pencil work on the main walls and ceilings has come to an end.
Fatih Kurtulmuş, Chairman of the Board of the Grand Bazaar, told Anadolu Agency (AA) that the restoration work they started with a strong protocol as the Istanbul Governorship, Fatih Municipality and the Grand Bazaar floor owners’ board of directors is continuing.
Stating that the strengthening work in the remaining part of the bazaar will be completed soon and the cables will be completely hidden, Kurtulmuş said, “Currently, the restoration works on 21 doors in the Grand Bazaar have been completed. It has been determined that there is a need for static strengthening in one area of our bazaar. There is also some pencil work. “We have some shortcomings regarding the gutters. Apart from that, we are almost at the end of all our works on superstructure, infrastructure, roof, body walls,” he said. said.
Stating that they carried out the restoration works with the experts in the Monuments Board and the Scientific Committee, Kurtulmuş said, “The restoration was carried out with a team of 100 people. Approximately 31,500 square meters of ceilings were hand-drawn. This is done by designers, graphic design graduates and handicraftsmen. More than 90 percent done.” shared his knowledge.
“Hopefully we’ll probably get things sorted out by June.” Kurtulmuş said, and underlined that the compilation, tidying and correction processes have already been carried out, and that there is no obstacle to working and shopping in the Grand Bazaar.
TARGET 50 MILLION VISITORS
Kurtulmuş said that approximately 40 million people visited the Grand Bazaar in 2022, and that their 2023 target is above this.
Reminding that President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has set a target of 60 million tourists regarding tourism, Kurtulmuş said, “We hope we are targeting 50 million visitors in our Grand Bazaar. Approximately 30 percent of this is completely foreign tourists. We believe that we will achieve a record level in visitor numbers due to the 100th anniversary of our Republic.” he said.
Noting that tours are currently organized on the roof of the Grand Bazaar, and tourists can visit the bazaar through agencies, Kurtulmuş said:
“Tourists really want to go to the roof of the Grand Bazaar, they want to see the view of this place. We give them this opportunity. For the benefit of our bazaar, the elderly and babies are not allowed here, provided that they go down to these visits within 15-20 minutes. “I would like to give you the good news that it has been opened for safe shopping and that no obstacle prevents life, culture, art and shopping. I invite everyone to visit the 562-year-old Grand Bazaar, which was founded in 1461.”
THE ROOF DAMAGED IN THE FILM JAMES BOND
The roof restoration of the Grand Bazaar, the world’s largest and oldest bazaar, came to the fore in 2012 after shooting the Skyfall series of the James Bond movie. During the shootings in April 2012, 3 motorcycles that were taken to the roof of the historical bazaar were used on the roof, causing serious damage. The restoration of the bazaar, which caused serious reactions after the images spread on social media sites, started in July 2016 after the necessary permissions were obtained.