Sahaflar Bazaar (known as second-hand bookshops) is a bookstore that opened in Grand Bazaar, which was built after the conquest of Istanbul. Today, the bazaar, which is one of the symbolic structures of the Beyazıt region, has a very long history. So, what is the history of the Sahaflar Bazaar, or second-hand book bazaar as it is commonly known?
The first bookstores in Istanbul were in Fatih Mosque outbuildings, Eyüp and Hagia Sophia. It was moved there with the construction of the Grand Bazaar. Today, carpets and rugs are sold in the Grand Bazaar, where books were sold. From 1458 to 1894, the shops in the Grand Bazaar were later moved to their current location. Evliya Çelebi highlighted that there were 50 bookstores in the Grand Bazaar at the time and that there were 300 employees. In the past, the bazaar, where book auctions were held every Tuesday and Friday, was a popular destination for book lovers. Other professional groups were around the sahaf, such as calligraphers, bookbinders, ink, and pen sellers. In the 1700s, France, curious about the books in the Ottoman Empire, sent Antonie Galland, who translated the Tales of a Thousand and One Nights into French, to the Sahaflar Bazaar. Antoine Galland told about his experiences in Istanbul when he returned to France and presented a miniature to the king of France. The bazaar has been in various fires from time to time. Especially in the fire in 1950, many manuscripts were destroyed.
Today, you can still find second-hand and manuscript books in bookstores whose faces vary considerably. You can also find foreign language books, religious books, and current books. Sahaflar Bazaar, which is within walking distance of Grand Sirkeci, is one of the points you should visit in Istanbul. If you have a plan to visit the Grand Bazaar, you can also see the Sahaflar Bazaar.