Sahaflar Book Market Istanbul
Opening HoursSahaflar Carsisi, the second hand book bazaar, stands in the old courtyard between Beyazid or Beyazit Mosque and Grand Bazaar , opens daily except on Sundays and during public or religious holidays, although some of smaller stores do remain open.
HistoryThe Book Market has a long history dating back to the 15th century and was originally located around the madrasah’s (religious schools) to supply books to the students and were grouped together in a covered bazaar; because of earthquakes in 1460 and 1894 it was relocated to its present site at Hakkaklar Market .
The merchants of the Book Market belonged to Antiquarian Book Stores Trade Guild and were not permitted to open a store without first working as an apprentice and then obtaining their masters degree; the stores at that time would open and close according to times of prayer. The spiritual guide of the Bookseller Trade Guild and the first bookseller at the market was Basrali Abdullah Yetimi Efendi. The 17th century French author, Antonie Galland, who was also an interpreter at the French Embassy, gave a calligraphy manuscript decorated with miniatures to the King of France that is today on exhibit at the Bibliothèque Nationale in Paris. Evliya Celebi , the famous 17th century Ottoman traveller wrote in his travel book “Seyahatname” there were 50 bookstores and 300 antiquarian booksellers serving the scholars at the time.
Unfortunately in 1950 the market and thousands of calligraphy manuscripts were completely destroyed in a fire, the surviving remains were confiscated by the Metropolitan Municipality who began restoration works and all the wooden structures that have been reinforced with concrete and today there are 23 bookstores there 17 of which are on two-storeys. Also, you will find on display in the middle of the market a fixed bust of Ibrahim Muteferrika (1674-1745) who was the first Ottoman publisher and printer.
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