Lonely Planet Writer

Bazaar renovations threaten Istanbul heritage

Inside the Grand Bazaar.
Inside the Grand Bazaar. Image by traveljunction / CC BY-SA 2.0

A 250m lira (£61m) renovation project could turf out thousands of merchants from Istanbul’s ancient Grand Bazaar and convert 1,700 historical buildings in the Bazaar’s surrounding area into hotels. The ambitious plans, announced by the local area’s mayor, have angered Bazaar tenants who believe that the tourism-driven renovations could endanger the very essence of what it is that visitors come to see: Istanbul’s local life, history and culture. The mayor has promised that renovations will restore the Bazaar to its original state, improve infrastructure and allow for better regulation of shops inside the market. Historic buildings being eyed for construction include several old inns surrounding courtyards called han, where many traditional craftsmen still house their workshops. Last week 80 tenants in the Grand Bazaar’s textiles market were forcibly evicted to allow for renovations and more evictions are expected if the project goes ahead. Read more: theguardian.com