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Grand Bazaar launches renovation project

ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News | 11/26/2009 12:00:00 AM |

Istanbul's Grand Bazaar, one of the largest and oldest covered markets in the world, is to see a thorough renovation with an estimated budget of $150 million in the coming two years.

Istanbul’s Grand Bazaar, one of the largest and oldest covered markets in the world, is set to see a thorough renovation with an estimated budget of $150 million in the coming two years.

During the renovation, some older parts of the bazaar currently closed to the public will be opened. The project, which spans 75,000 square meters of the bazaar, also includes restoration of parts of the complex and, for example, reorganizing its electrical wiring and air conditioning. Istanbul's Grand Bazaar was built in 1461 and has more than 3,600 shops.

Grand Bazaar Tradesmen Association President Hasan Fırat said the goals of the renovation are to protect the original features of the complex and attract more local visitors. At present, local visitors make up some 30 percent of all visitors to the Grand Bazaar.

The renovation will be done preserving the original features of the market and no change in the current variety of shops is expected. "We are trying to attract more local visitors and in order to do so, launched a television series, ‘The Covered Market,’ which is taking place here. We are also preparing a documentary on the Grand Bazaar with assistance from the Culture Ministry.

“The documentary will be sent as an entry to a competition in Europe. In March next year, we will also participate in the ITB Berlin tourism fair in Germany," Fırat told reporters on Monday. Due to the television series, the turnover of the Grand Bazaar has recently experienced a hike of 30 percent, he said. "But at present, most local visitors come to shop here only when they want to buy something special. Transportation around here is a major problem that needs to be addressed urgently," he said.

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