The Second-Hand Book Market, located next to the historic Bayezid Mosque in the Fatih district of Istanbul, is also known as the Sahaflar Carsisi. Sahaf, derived from Ottoman Turkish, translates to “pages” or “bookseller”. This reflects its purpose, as it is said that the first sahafs began to sell their ancient books in the madrasahs (Muslim theological schools) around the Fatih Mosque many years ago. Later, when the Grand Bazaar was built in 1460, these bookstores were moved to what is now known as the Engravers Market (Hakkatlar Carsisi in Turkish), which was previously known as the Sahaflar Bazaar until 1950.
The incredible book market has seen many events throughout its history. When we look at the features of the sahaflar, it is said that they were highly educated people in their craft. To achieve this, they had to go through a period of apprenticeship and semi-skilled training. Furthermore, a sage from Basra by the name of Abdullah Yetimi Efendi established a guild system to regulate and control them.
At the start of the Guild of Sahaflar, the Old Book Bazaar mainly sold ancient books such as Ottoman manuscripts, calligraphy and inscriptions from ancient times, as well as textbooks and new and second-hand books. It was also a place where Ottoman-made pamphlets were bought and sold.
In the 17th century, the French author Antonie Galland gifted a manuscript with miniatures to the French king. It is said that this manuscript can still be seen in the National Library today.
DESTRUCTION AND RENOVATION OF THE SAHAFLAR BAZAAR
The Old Book Bazaar was destroyed in a fire in 1950, resulting in the loss of thousands of works. The Istanbul Metropolian Municipality responded by transforming the wooden structures into reinforced concrete, and in 1952, the bazaar was re-opened.
When you wander around the charming bazaar, you will see the bust of Ibrahim Müteferrika, the explorer of the printing press and the first person to publish a Turkish book in 1732, in the middle of the area. After the glorious bust was erected in 1980, the parquets on the ground of the market were removed and replaced with hexagonal tiles in order to renovate the magnificent bazaar.
That charming market is not only a center for distribution and sales, it is also a rendezvous point for intellectuals and book enthusiasts. Today, it is frequented by many intellectuals, scholars, and booklovers.
Visiting the Sahaflar Old Book Bazaar in Istanbul is a great way to explore the city‘s rich culture and history. This historic bazaar, which has been standing since the 15th century, is a treasure trove of books and original manuscripts, both new and old. Not only will you find unique items, but also you will be able to witness the rich culture of Istanbul. You can explore hundreds of years of history in a single place.
Moreover, the bazaar is an excellent place to buy books, and the prices are very reasonable. You can find rare, valuable and hard–to–find books at the bazaar. It is also a great place to buy souvenirs and gifts for family and friends, as there are many unique items to choose from. In addition, the bazaar also hosts cultural events and activities throughout the year. You can attend lectures, theater performances, and even take part in book–reading activities. It is a great place to meet new people and make lasting connections.
At Tour Maker Turkey, we offer amazing tours to Sahaflar Old Book Bazaar in Istanbul. Our expert guides will help you explore the area in depth and discover the city‘s hidden gems. We will provide you with a unique and unforgettable experience.
So why not book a tour with us today and explore the fascinating history and culture of Istanbul?