Restoration of İstanbul's famous historic Grand Bazaar (Kapalı Çarşı) will begin in the early months of 2013 and cost the municipality TL 200 million, the Fatih district mayor has said.
Speaking at a press conference on Wednesday, Fatih Municipality Mayor Mustafa Demir said they plan to restore 3,600 shops in the Grand Bazaar, 38 old shops and 66 streets around the bazaar.
“First, a new board of managers [of the Grand Bazaar] will be established. Then the restoration project will proceed step by step. The project will cover an area of 110,868 square meters,” he said.
The restoration of the Grand Bazaar was planned some time ago but with the minor accident that occurred during the shooting of the new James Bond film, the planning of the project has accelerated, Demir said.
During the shooting of a scene for the movie “Skyfall” in İstanbul last month, a stuntman lost control of his motorcycle and smashed into the window of a 330-year-old shop in the 15th-century Grand Bazaar. Following the accident, the movie drew criticism for the lack of measures in place to protect the historical bazaar.
However, Demir said the Grand Bazaar has had several problems for a very long time. “We criticized James Bond [movie set workers] a great deal, but they were very sensitive to the historical form and structure [of the bazaar] while working. However, we caused greater damage to the Grand Bazaar than the movie set workers by not taking good care of it. The bazaar has had problems with its air-conditioning system, infrastructure system and its roof for a long time. In addition, there have been problems with the administration.”
Following the press conference, Demir went to inspect the roof of the Grand Bazaar with members of the press. “It seems as though a huge truck went over the roof, ruining most of its formation. Formerly, the roof consisted of separate small domes. But after the 1980 military coup, it was entirely tiled. We will either protect what is there at present, or we will return it to its very original form. The Council of Monuments will be the one to make the final decision about this.”
The Grand Bazaar is one of the largest and oldest covered markets in the world, with more than 58 covered streets and thousands of shops.