Mayor vows renovation for historic Grand Bazaar

Mayor vows renovation for historic Grand Bazaar

ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News
Mayor vows renovation for historic Grand Bazaar Istanbul’s Fatih Municipality is working on a vast restoration project for the Grand Bazaar, one of the landmarks of the city and host to around 3,600 workplaces, Mayor Mustafa Demir has said.

Demir also said in an interview with the Hürriyet Daily News yesterday that the city walls within the district, which became an issue after the murder of Sarai Sierra, a 33-year-old American woman, needed vast renovation.

“All the stores in the Grand Bazaar are pieces of history that should be protected,” he said.

A special code was developed to determine the new management structure of the bazaar and some two-thirds of the renewal project has been approved by the Council of Monuments, he said. “Once the whole plan is approved we will begin the restoration work.”

A previous restoration project planned for Istanbul’s 550-year-old iconic bazaar had created a controversy between shopkeepers and the local municipality over the project’s costs.

City walls project rejected

Commenting on the city walls, Demir said a vast portion of the Byzantine structure was used only one day a year, May 29, the anniversary of the Ottoman’s conquest of the city, and this posed risks as the walls remained unattended.

The part of the walls around Topkapı Palace is within his municipality’s area of responsibility, but earlier plans to clean up the surroundings were not approved by the metropolitan municipality or the council, Demir said.

“We submitted a project to clean and repair the walls and open them to public use with green areas and social facilities to both the metropolitan municipality and the Monuments Council, but received a negative result 10 days ago.”

The part used for the ceremony on May 29 has been restored already, but it is not used all year, he noted. “It lacks security. However, it may serve as a place with green area cafes and social facilities.”

The body of Sierra, who was on vacation in Turkey, was found by the city walls, causing criticism about the security conditions in the area.

There are around 10,000 historical buildings in Fatih, and restoration projects have been prepared for 4,500 of them, the mayor said.