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Forza Beşiktaş! »« Haydarpaşa and the Crimean War Cemetery

The Hans of the Grand Bazaar

The Grand Bazaar is really a city unto itself. The main thoroughfares are where you’ll find the most popular shops and restaurants, but just like any city, the coolest spots are tucked away in its less-visited corners.

Silver Han

In days past, the hans of Istanbul functioned as inns; places for traveling merchants to rest and do business. Most frequently, the hans consisted of courtyards with a fountain for washing, and a kitchen or tea house. The Grand Bazaar, naturally, was a major hub for merchants, so it’s unsurprising to find so many hans within its walls.

Most hans were dedicated to a particular craft, and many still are. You can find gold-spinning in Astarcı Han, chains in Zincirli Han and silver merchants in Kalcilar Han. Wandering through the courtyards, you can find smiths practicing their craft… melting gold, for example, or hammering out a piece of copper. Happily, they seem to be accustomed to tourists, and don’t mind if you politely enter their shops for a quick photo. It’s great fun watching them at work, performing tasks that have been unchanged over the last few centuries.

Most of the hans are small and run-down, but many are lovely. The Zincirli Han, for example, is particularly photogenic, with all-pink shopfronts, a marble fountain and trees. And our favorite is the airy and comfortable Iç Cebeci Han, where you can dependably find guys sitting around in the sun drinking tea and playing backgammon.

If you stick to the main drags, a trip to the Grand Bazaar can be hectic and stressful. So make sure to duck off into the little pockets of relative tranquility offered by the hans, and check out some of the activities which have kept the Bazaar running for 500 years.

Great Resource: Self Guided Walking Tours Through Istanbul’s Hans

Pink Han Grand Bazaar
Turkish Crescent Han
The Third Man Istanbul
Han Copper Grand Bazaar
Workshop Hans Istanbul
Working In Istanbul
Old Hand Istanbul
Old Orient Lamps Istanbul
Worker Hans Istanbul Grand Bazaar
3 Little Dudes
Han Entrance
Sultan Hats Istanbul Grand Bazaar
Silver Shop Istanbul
Spinning Gold Istanbul
Copper Wire Spinning Istanbul Hans
Portraits Han
Dish Han Grand Bazzar
Grand Bazaar Tunnel
Secrets Istanbul
Tea Garden Han Grand Bazaar
Silver Decoration Grand Bazaar
Fountain Grand Bazaar
Smoking In Istanbul
Melting Work
Schmied Grand Bazaar
Melting Pot Istanbul
Black Smith Istanbul
Fungus Dome
The Hole Grail
Istanbul Portraits People 2013
Tunnel han Istanbul
Gold Han Istanbul Grand Bazaar
Shoe Maker Grand Bazaar
Carpet Strings Bazaar
Making a Carpet
String Ball
Looking Inside Istanbul
Green And Rost
Welding
Istanbul

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June 10, 2013 at 10:57 am
3 comments »
  • June 11, 2013 at 1:25 pmMaria

    Spinning gold – my favorite pics but all of them are incredible and I find it difficult to leave this page.


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