Istanbul’s 559-year-old iconic Grand Bazaar will open its doors to visitors on June 1 after a two-month hiatus due to the coronavirus outbreak.
According to reports, there will be strict measures for entrances of shop owners and visitors. The bazaar, which is normally open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., will work between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. All workers and visitors will be obliged to wear masks and observe social distancing rules and their fever will be measured before they enter.
There are approximately 25,000 people working in 4,000 shops in the bazaar. It was closed on March 24 as part of measures to curb the spread of COVID-19. However, some workshops have continued their activities inside it with strict precautions.
The construction of the Grand Bazaar began in 1455, two years after the Ottoman conquest of Istanbul by Sultan Mehmed II, to facilitate growing commerce in the port city.
The bazaar has 60 covered streets, each bearing the name of sellers of a particular good, such as Altuncular (gold dealers), Basmacılar (printed fabric sellers), Fesçiler ("fez" sellers) and İplikçiler (yarn sellers). The Grand Bazaar is surmounted by brick roofs and domes and has 22 gates and 29 inns. It has experienced more than 20 fires and several earthquakes between Nov. 20, 1651 and Nov. 26, 1954, and took its current form through the restoration following the earthquake of 1894.